In addition to VA disability compensation, several other forms of increased compensation may be available to you or your spouse. One specific type of increased compensation is known as “Aid & Attendance” and may be paid as an increase to a veteran’s disability compensation or as an increase to a surviving spouse’s dependency & indemnity compensation, pension, or death compensation. This type of compensation may also be paid to a veteran if the veteran’s spouse requires aid & attendance.
These benefits can be used to help pay for in-home care of a veteran or their spouse or for care in an assisted-living facility or nursing home. If assisted-living or nursing home care is required for the veteran, VA Community Living Centers may be another option.
Aid & attendance is defined as a person is “helpless or being so nearly helpless as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person.” Regulations set forth three instances in which a claimant can show a need for aid & attendance:
Regulations give several examples of facts that may be considered to determine a need, including but not limited to:
Generally, these are conditions that would often cause a person to be bedridden. However, voluntary or even doctor-ordered bed rest will not be enough to qualify for aid & attendance. The above criteria are examined on a more-permanent basis.
If you are a veteran, your disability compensation may be increased if you’re in need of aid & attendance, or if you are housebound. These are two separate and independent means of receiving increased compensation. Each category will be explained in greater detail below.
Additionally, if your spouse requires aid & attendance and you are a veteran receiving disability compensation, your compensation may be increased to assist in obtaining aid & attendance for your spouse. Please note that increased compensation is only available if the veteran’s spouse meets the aid & attendance criteria. No increased compensation will be authorized for housebound spouses.
If you are the surviving spouse of a veteran and are receiving dependency & indemnity compensation, or you are receiving a pension, you may qualify for increased compensation if you require aid & attendance or are housebound.
If you are a surviving spouse and are receiving death compensation, you may qualify for increased compensation only if you are in need of aid & attendance.
Surviving parents who receive dependency & indemnity compensation may qualify for increased compensation only if that parent requires aid & attendance.
Housebound status is defined as being “permanently housebound” such that a veteran or spouse “is substantially confined to his or her dwelling and the immediate premises or, if institutionalized, to the ward or clinical area…” Additionally, the claimant must also show that the disabilities and resulting confinement will last throughout the claimant’s lifetime. Please note: veteran claimants must have a single disability rated 100 percent disabling to claim housebound status (Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) claims do not meet this criteria).
For veteran claimants, housebound status may also be granted if the veteran, in addition to the required single 100% rated disability, has additional disabilities rate-able at 60 percent or more that are “separate and distinct from the permanent disability rated as 100 percent disabling” and involve different body parts or systems.
Increased compensation for aid & attendance can be a tricky situation to prove to the VA. In addition to the requirements above, there are also asset and income thresholds that may be imposed. If you are unsure whether you might qualify, our experienced veteran’s disability attorneys can provide you with the guidance you need.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.