What is the Aid and Attendance Benefit?
The Aid and Attendance Benefit, also known as the Pension Benefit or Veteran’s Benefit, is a tax-free monthly pension to assist wartime veterans and their surviving spouses who require the assistance of another person with aspects of daily living and who meet certain financial criteria.
The benefit comes in as cash so it can be spent on home care, assisted living, home health, other out of pocket medical expenses but it can also be spent on cigarettes and groceries. It does not have to be spent on any specific thing. The deal with the VA benefit is in order to get the benefit, they must spend part of their income on medical expenses.
Veterans must have served at least one day during a period of war, at least 90 days in total and they were other than dishonorably discharged. It doesn’t matter if veterans were stationed in Knoxville, Tennessee with the U.S. Coast Guard and never set foot on a boat. Veterans did NOT have to go overseas, enter combat or be wounded in order to receive this benefit.
Date Ranges for War Periods
World War I – April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918
If the veteran served the United States military in Russia, the period is April 6, 1917 through April 1, 1920.
Military service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is recognized as World War I service IF the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service from April 5, 1917 through November 12, 1918.
World War II – December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946
World War II service is also recognized from December 23, 1946 through July 26, 1947 IF the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946.
Korean conflict – June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955
Vietnam era – February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975
These date ranges only consider if the veteran served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. In all other circumstances, the period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975.
Persian Gulf War – August 2, 1990, through Present
The date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law but hasn’t been declared yet.
So to be the surviving spouse of a veteran, she had to have been married to someone who met those veteran criteria. She have to have been married to him at the time of his death. If she wasn’t married to him at the time of his death because she got divorced, then she’s considered an ex-wife, not a surviving spouse and not eligible for this benefit.
The maximum award adjusts every year due to inflation. This award does go up with Social Security. For 2015, here are the current amounts: