There is not a program called "AID & ATTENDANCE".(A&A)
A&A is a rating. It is like being 150% disabled. But you would never hear someone say I want the 150%!
Va does three different things.
1. VA HEALTH CARE. This includes the Va hospitals, satilite offices and RXs.
2. COMPENSATION - this is for Service-related disability. being hard of hearing because the vet stood next to a tank as an infantyman is an example. COMPENSATION is a monthly dollar award from 10% to 100%. If a vet is at 100% and needs hands on help, then the award can be increased with a rating of HOMEBOUND (think 125%) or A&A (think 150%). A vet on COMPENSATION is entitled to being 1st on the list for VA HOMES. Also, nursing homes across the country have contracts with the VA to take 100% COMPENSATION vets. THe cost of custodial nursing home is covered for the 100% COMPENSATION vet. COMPENSATION pays a higher dollar amount than PENSION. If a Vet is recieving some COMPENSATION award, he should see if it can be inceased. A lot of vets never thing to be re-evaluated.
A vet can only recieve one disablity program. If the vet is at 50% or higher on COMPENSATION, he should look at a higher rating. But if he has a low 10-30% COMPENSATION RATING, He will probably get more money taking the PENSION w/rating.
3. PENSION is for NON-SERVICE Related disability. (bad name for a program, most vets don't think they served long enough to get a 'pension'). Before the age of 65, pension is similar to social security disability, it is hard to get and pays very little. And only pays if you have no other income. HOWEVER, a vet who is 65 or over, is considered by the VA to be 100% disabled, regardless of his health. With that said, BASIC PENSION is very low and 95% of all vets earn too much Social Security to trigger a monthly award for basic Pension. But like COMPENSATION, the Vet can get a 'rating' of HOMEBOUND or AID & ATTENDANCE. The HOMEBOUND rating(which no one seems to mention) is triggered if the Vet can not (should not) drive. Once a vet has a 'rating' on his BASIC PENSION, then he is allowed to deduct the medical & Care expenses. By reducing his gross income to below the Maximuum Award he then is elegible to recieve a Monthly Award. A&A is awarded if the vet needs permanent hands on CARE. The Va will tell you, if you call, that you can't get 'AID & ATTENDANCE' unless you are recieving a PENSION. ANd they are correct. But what they fail to mention is that on the application,526 or 534, you are applying for BASIC PENSION 2 pages before applyng for a 'rating'. In other words it is simultaneous. You are approved for PENSION w/rating.
If a vet is married, all income is concidered and expenses for both are concidered.
The max award for HOMEBOUND is: (2010) $1139/monthly single vet $1427/ vet with dependent(spouse)
The max award for AID & ATTENDANCE is: (2010) $1644/monthly single vet $1944/ vet with dependent(spouse)
If a Vet is over 65 and his spouse needs the CARE, he can apply and recieve upto $1200/ monthly
The same rating are available for a widowed spouse up to $1057. (she can't be remarried)
YOu will hear 'experts' say, 'the VA will PAY for your XXXXXXX'. This is an incorrect statement. The VA does not pay for anything. YOU HAVE TO PAY first and reduce your countable income to at least below the AWARD amount to recieve $1.
Example: Married VET combined gross income of $3000. Assited Living costs $4000. the total Assisted living cost is a medical expense and is subtracted from the Gross income. The net income is $000.00. THe monthly PENSION w/ A&A rating would be $1944 monthly. In the application the vet has to show that he spent the $4000.
in the same example but with $4500 of monthly income, there would be $500 of net income. (we can deduct premiums etc but for this example i am not) When the vet proved that he spent the $4000, he would be eligible for a monthly PENSION w/A&A rating of $1444. THe VA sends enough to get him upto the max award.
These are VERY simplistic examples but show how the award is calculated. Remember the VET can recieve the PENSION w/rating at home, at independent living, living with an Adult child or Assisted living. An adult child can be a paid caregiver. But the award IS NOT paid at a nursing home. When a vet on PENSION is in custodial care at a nursing home, the VA sends just $90. THe VA expects you to private pay of apply for Medicaid.
Finally, since the PENSION is actually a disability payment, it is not taxable. It is also not counted as income when qualifiying for Community-based Medicaid Programs. To my knowledge the only time disability awards are counted is in Section 8 housing.