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Veterans Aid & Benefits Protecting Your Loved Ones

Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits

Fairfax Elder Law Attorneys

Are you looking for an attorney to navigate you through Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits? Many wartime veterans and spouses or surviving spouses of veterans are unaware of the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA, also called the Veterans Administration) Aid and Attendance benefit.

The A&A benefit can provide much-needed assistance when a veteran or a veteran’s spouse needs nursing home, assisted living or in-home care. Our knowledgeable attorneys can advise you about the availability of these benefits.

Maximum benefit rates for Aid and Attendance in 2018 are:

  • Single Veteran $1,830 per month ($21,962 per year)
  • Married Veteran $2,169 per month ($26,036 per year)
  • Surviving Spouse $1,176 per month ($14,113 per year)
  • Veteran Married to a Veteran $2,903 per month ($34,837 per year)

Wartime Service Requirement

To qualify for the benefit, a veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty including at least one day during a period of war and have received a discharge that was not dishonorable. Periods of war include specific dates for World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. The veteran need not have served in the war zone to qualify.

Need for Daily Assistance

In addition to military service, the veteran or spouse must be in need of assistance on a regular basis, as certified by a physician. This requirement is met if the claimant is:

  • Blind
  • Living in a nursing home, assisted living facility or other residence in order to receive care
  • Needs assistance with at least two activities of daily living
  • Has a physical or mental incapacity that requires assistance to protect the individual from hazards encountered in his or her daily environment.

Income & Asset Requirements

The VA assesses income and asset information to determine eligibility. Recurring medical costs, such as home health, assisted living and nursing home care are deducted from the veteran’s or spouse’s income.

The net worth of the veteran, and spouse if married, must be less than $123,600 in 2018. Net worth includes the income of the veteran and spouse, less qualified unreimbursed medical expenses, plus countable assets. The home (primary residence) is not counted, even if neither the veteran or spouse live in it.

New Requirements - As of October 18, 2018, the VA does penalize veterans or surviving spouses who give away assets to qualify for the Aid and Attendance program. The lookback period for A&A is three years, but not before October 18, 2018. Reducing assets through purchase of an annuity, which is permitted by the Medicaid program, causes a penalty period for VA programs.

Virginia Veterans with Disabilities/Property Owners

Certain veterans with disabilities and their surviving spouses are now exempt from local real estate taxes on their principal residence. On April 6, the Virginia General Assembly approved and Governor McDonnell signed into law an authorizing statute for the exemption. This legislation implements the amendment approved by Virginia voters in November 2010.

Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify for the exemption; veterans who qualify are those who have a VA rating of 100% service connected permanent and total disability. The application is a one-time process and does not need to be submitted annually, unless there is a change in circumstances, such as a change in principal residence. This exemption is not based on the applicant's income or assets. However, certain documentation must be submitted in order to qualify.

The exemption is effective beginning on and after January 1, 2011. Taxes assessed for years prior to this date are not eligible for exemption.

  • For more information, contact the Fairfax County Department of Tax Administration (DTA) by e-mail at dtadav@fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-222-8234, (TTY 703-222-7594).
  • To obtain required disability documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), complete VA Form 21-4138 available with statement online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta. Click on the link, Disabled Veterans Real Estate Exemption. You can either fax the form to 540-597-1792; or mail it to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, 210 Franklin Rd., SW, Roanoke, VA 24011, or go to www.vba.va.gov/ro/roanoke/rlc.

By law, disability documentation must come from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It is not sufficient to submit a medical certification from your private physician. After receiving the required VA documentation, download the Fairfax County Disabled Veteran Exemption Application available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta and submit the application and documentation to DTA at the address on the application.

Seek Professional Advice

At Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy, PLC, our attorneys can help you plan for this valuable benefit. We will consider the impact of your planning on potential Medicaid benefits to be sure you are well-protected.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for an informative consultation. Can't travel? We'll come to you.