By Larry Dandridge
The Vets Disability Pension benefit is payable to Vets, who meet eligibility requirements, who served in the Mexican Border War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, or Gulf War. The Vets’ Pension program provides monthly payments to wartime Vets who are:
Honorably discharged and meet family income and net worth limits, and meet certain active duty and length of service requirements, and
At least 65 years of age or have a permanent total disability or are a long-term care patient due to disability, or are getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. meet certain age or disability requirements, and who have income and net worth within certain limits.
Find out if you’re eligible for the Vets Pension benefit by reading the information at https://www.va.gov/pension/ and by talking with your County or other Veterans Service Officer (VSO). You will need the following information to apply for Veterans Pension: Social Security Number or VA file number, military history and DD214 (or other separation papers), your financial information and the financial information of your dependents, work history, direct deposit information, and medical information.
Instructions for how to apply for Vets Pension are at https://www.va.gov/pension/how-to-apply/ and at https://www.va.gov/pension/527EZ/introduction. The filing process is complicated and it is recommended you ask your VSO to help. If you’d like to submit an intent to file to set the earliest possible date that you can start getting Pension benefits, you’ll need to complete an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension, and/or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), VA Form 21-0966. You can download a copy of VA Form 21-0966 at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-0966-ARE.pdf. View current VA pension rates for Veterans, including VA Aid and Attendance rates at https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/.
Aid and Attendance
A&A and Housebound Benefits are two separate benefits that provide monthly payments added to the amount of a monthly VA Pension for qualified Vets and survivors. See Aid and Attendance at https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/ . To be eligible for A&A payments, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:
You require help performing activities of daily living, which may include bathing, eating, and dressing.
You are bedridden and disability requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.
You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes or a decrease in visual field to 5 degrees or less.
You can apply for A&A either online, by working with an accredited Veterans Service Officer (VSO), writing the Pension Management Center that serves your state, or in-person at your VA Regional Office. You will need these documents to apply:
DD 214 or other official separation documents.
A completed Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance, VA Form 21-2680. Find the form at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-2680-ARE.pdf.
Other evidence, like a doctor’s report, that shows you need A&A or Housebound care.
Details about what you normally do during the day and how you get to places.
Details that help show what kind of illness, injury, or mental or physical disability affects your ability to do things, like take a bath, on your own.
If you’re in a nursing home, you’ll also need to fill out a Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance, VA Form 21-0779. Find the form at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-0779-ARE.pdf
You may be eligible for Housebound Benefit if you get a VA Pension and you spend most of your time in your home because of permanent disability. However, you cannot get A&A benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.
To find out more about Disability Pension, A&A, or Housebound benefits, call 800-698-2411 or go online to https://www.va.gov/pension//eligibility and https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/ and talk to a VSO. It is always wise to have your county VSO or another VSO help you file claims.
Larry Dandridge is a patient at the RHJ VA Medical Center; an Army ex-Enlisted Infantryman, Ex-Warrant Officer Combat Pilot, and retired Lt. Colonel; a past Veterans Service Officer; a volunteer Patient Adviser at the RHJ VA Medical Center; the Fisher House Charleston volunteer Good Will Ambassador; the volunteer VP for Veteran Affairs for the Coastal Carolina Association of the US Army (AUSA) Chapter; the Author of the award winning BLADES OF THUNDER (Book One); the CEO of TVV Publishing LLC; a past Aerospace Company Regional Manager; the Founder of CLC Hospice LLC; a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt; a Motivational Speaker; a past University Business, Aeronautics, Military Science, and Writing Instructor; and a contributing writer for the Lowcountry Weekly & Island News. You can reach Larry at LDandridge@earthlink.net.