For the first time since 2008, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced an increase in the maximum Aid and Attendance, an enhanced pension benefit for eligible veterans. These new figures for 2012 are:
$20,447 per year ($1,074 per month) for a qualified veteran
$24,239 per year ($2,020 per month) for a qualified veteran who is married
$13,138 per year ($1,095 per month) for an eligible surviving spouse of a qualified veteran
$31,578 per year ($2,631 per month) if both eligible spouses are qualified veterans
VA Aid and Attendance enhanced pension benefits are intended to provide a monthly stipend to meet care needs of veterans or their surviving spouses. The veteran or spouse must be in need of assistance with activities such as: dressing or undressing; hygiene; frequent need of adjustment of special prosthetic or orthopedic appliances which due to the claimant’s disability, he or she cannot adjust on own; feeding; inability to attend to wants of nature; or as a result of a mental or physical impairment, the veteran or his spouse requires daily assistance to protect the claimant from harm.
The claimant need not meet all conditions above or need 24-hour care. The threshold is that the veteran or spouse needs regular and ongoing assistance from someone else.
To apply for the enhanced pension benefit, the veteran must have served on active duty for at least 90 days, at least one day of which occurred during a period designated as wartime (see below). The veteran must have received an honorable discharge. Single surviving spouse of such veterans are also eligible to apply.
Periods of Wartime Service:
World War II – December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era – August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975; for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964, then February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
Gulf War – August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.