Aid and Attendance Benefit from the VA

This blog post in the New Old Age section of the New York Times focuses on a veterans’ benefit called Aid and Attendance.  You can read general info on the A&A benefit on the VA website here:

According to this blog post, the A&A benefit “is worth as much as $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.”  But, it can take up to 18 months to receive word from the VA as to whether someone is approved for the benefit!

There are two resources mentioned in this article:

#1, a nonprofit group.

#2  veterans service officers.  The author notes:  “V.A. policy… prohibits veterans from paying a lawyer or other consultant to help with the complicated and confusing paperwork — even if the help comes from other veterans or individuals accredited by the V.A. Consequently, many veterans depend on veterans service officers, the well-intentioned volunteers and employees of nongovernmental organizations trying to help veterans navigate the V.A. bureaucracy.  But insufficient training regarding A&A is common among these officers.”

The blog post mentions some ins-and-outs of applying:

* “Even if A&A has been approved for both members of a couple, for example, the V.A. cancels the entire pension benefit when the veteran dies. To reclaim it, the surviving widow or widower has to start over, filling out forms and sending the same documents the V.A. already has.”

* “If a veteran or spouse dies before receiving the benefit, the family gets a condolence letter saying, ‘Your case is now closed.’ That letter may arrive within days of the death. … If relatives can prove that the application would have been approved, they qualify to be reimbursed for any expenses for care since the time of applying for the benefit.”(The form can be found here: Application for Accrued Amounts Due a Deceased Beneficiary –

Here’s a link to the May 2013 post:

The ‘Long and Unacceptable’ Wait for a Veterans’ Benefit
The New York Times
By Susan Seliger
May 15, 2013, 6:00 am

And here’s a link to the September 2012 post in the NYT about the A&A benefit:

A Little-Known Benefit for Aging Veterans
The New York Times
By Susan Seliger
September 19, 2012 6:42 am

Sounds like a great benefit for those who can persevere through the application process!