Aid & Attendance
In addition to disability benefits or pension benefits that a veteran may be receiving, a veteran may also be entitled to additional benefits to assist with home care through either special monthly compensation (SMC), which is related to service-connected disability compensation, or special monthly pension (SMP), which is related to monthly pension benefits.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC): Aid and Attendance Benefits
Veterans may receive special monthly compensation, in addition to disability benefits, for service-connected disabilities that involve 1) the anatomical loss or loss of use of a body part or, 2) visual or hearing impairment. Aid and attendance benefits through special monthly compensation may also be available to veterans who suffer from service-connected mental conditions.
Aid and attendance benefits in conjunction with special monthly compensation provide additional compensation if the veteran is in need of aid and attendance on a regular basis. Aid and attendance can be provided to the veteran by a spouse, relative, or even a friend. There is no requirement that the veteran hire outside help to receive aid and attendance benefits.
Requirements for Service-Connected Aid and Attendance
The VA will consider whether the veteran can perform the following actions without outside assistance when determining whether a veteran is entitled to special monthly compensation for aid and attendance:
The VA will also consider the veteran’s disability rating and other medical evidence in determining entitlement.
Applying for Aid and Attendance Benefits through Special Monthly Compensation
Procedure requires VA employees to consider whether a veteran is entitled to special monthly compensation whenever the veteran’s medical evidence shows potential entitlement.
After the veteran has indicated their desire to be considered for SMC, the VA will review the veteran’s competent medical evidence to determine if the veteran is qualified for aid and attendance benefits.
Special Monthly Pension (SMP): Aid and Attendance Benefits
As part of improved pension benefits, the Veterans Administration offers aid and attendance for veterans and surviving spouses who need the assistance of another person or are housebound.
According to the VA, as of March 2014, approximately 310,000 veterans were receiving a pension along with more than 3 million receiving disability compensation. This additional type of compensation can help disabled or elderly veterans get the care they need.
A veteran may qualify for aid and attendance benefits through special monthly pension if they have 1) established entitlement to pension, and 2) they have a need for the regular aid and attendance of another person. Want more information? Find out if you are eligible for veterans pension benefits.
Requirements for Pension-Related Aid and Attendance
Aid and attendance is not a new benefit, it has been available for decades in addition to a monthly pension. Furthermore, the benefits are available to a veteran or a veteran's surviving spouse who now requires assistance from another person regularly.
Eligibility requirements for pension-related aid and attendance benefits include:
- The veteran requires the aid of another person to perform day to day tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, adjusting prosthetic devices or protection from falls and other dangers in the home.
- The individual is bedridden due to a disability.
- The veteran resides in a nursing home due to a mental or physical disability.
- Your eyesight is limited in both eyes to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity.
- You meet the VA’s financial requirements; assets must be less than the VA’s limit.
Additionally, you may be entitled to these benefits if you are housebound due to a permanent disability.
Applying for Aid and Attendance Benefits through Special Monthly Pension
Veterans aid and attendance is not available to veterans and their spouse at the same time. If you believe you may be entitled to these benefits you will need to write to the VA regional office where you originally filed for pension benefits.
A veteran does not need to complete or file a specific VA form to receive aid and attendance benefits. To seek these benefits you will need to provide evidence such as a report detailing your impairment including how the disease or condition impairs coordination, the applicant’s ability to dress or undress, feed oneself, attend to sanitary needs and so on.