In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses VA pension benefits and how military service-connected disability benefits are different from Aid and Attendance care benefits.
How VA Service-Connected Disability Benefits Are Different From Aid and Attendance
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law in O’Fallon, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri serving clients throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area and this is your Elder Law Minute.
Most of the discussions I’ve had on these videos about VA benefits have related to pension benefits, most particularly improved pension with Aid and Attendance because that’s the highest level of those benefits. I want to distinguish those today from something called service-connected disability. A couple of big distinctions there.
First, for the pension benefits, the only services of wartime service requirement, there is no requirement of having been injured or contracting some illness or disease connected to your service. That is the requirement for service-connected disability. But if you have a service-connected disability, the big advantage of looking at it, rather than the pension benefits to help pay for medical and other expenses, is that there are no sort of financial requirements for eligibility. In fact, you don’t even need to have any amount of ongoing medical or care expenses, you’re getting those benefits based on the fact that you have a service-connected disability. For that, you get what’s known as a disability rating, somewhere between 10 percent and 100 percent. The higher the rating, the higher the monthly benefit amount.
One question that sometimes arises is whether somebody can draw both service-connected disability benefits and Aid and Attendance benefits. The answer to that question is essentially no, what you get is whichever in your case would be the higher of the two benefits. Now, if somebody is on service-connected disability and they’re actually in a nursing home, there is a small supplemental benefit that would apply in that case.
So, I hope this helps in your understanding of the difference between two independently important and valuable benefits available to veterans and widowed spouses of veterans. Thanks so much.
For more on Veteran’s Benefits, visit these articles:
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Pitfalls to Avoid
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Look-Back and Penalties
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Asset Allowance
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: VA Benefits vs. Medicaid
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