Improved Pension Benefits for Wartime Veterans

Have you heard of VA’s Improved Pension benefits, sometimes called Aid and Attendance? Over the years, we have found that many eligible veterans and their families do not know how much this benefit can assist them, and its existence comes as a happy surprise. It is critical that you work with attorneys who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs, like Simon Stapleton and Ari Sommer. Both Simon and Ari would be happy to spend some time discussing your potential benefits with you. As with Medicaid, it is essential that you have skilled legal counsel who has been through this arduous government process numerous times.

General Qualifications for Non-Service Connected Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance – Veteran, Widowed Spouse, and Dependent or Disabled Child (any may be a claimant)

  • Veteran must have served at least ninety days active duty with one day of the ninety during a qualified war period (ninety days must generally be consecutive, with some exceptions).
  • Veteran must have had another than “Dishonorable” Discharge.
  • Claimant’s physician must declare him/her as in need of assistance from another individual, which may include services offered by an assisted living facility.
  • Claimant should have limited household assets; excluding primary home, car, and personal belongings. If assets are jointly owned by other than the spouse, only the claimant’s share is generally countable. In the case of a married veteran, both his/her assets are countable. There is no longer a current asset cap, per se. The VA now considers the claimant’s life expectancy in determining how much a claimant can have. In the case of assets over $50k, it may be best to consult an Elder Law Attorney. One should never transfer assets without the proper legal/professional advice.
  • Claimant’s household out-of-pocket yearly medical expenses must exceed or come close to his/her total yearly household gross income (total yearly cost of assisted living is typically considered a Medical expense).
  • Widowed spouse must have been married to the Veteran for at least one year OR have had children by the Veteran if married less than one year and never remarried (with possibly one very rare exception).
  • Widowed spouse must have been living with the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death, unless the separation was due to medical or military reasons (exceptions exist).
  • Minor or disabled adult children may qualify for limited benefits on their own.

2015 Maximum Pension Rates for Aid and Attendance:

  • Single Veteran:  $1,788.00 Per Month or $21,466.00 Per Year
  • Married Veteran:  $2,120.00 Per Month or $25,488.00 Per Year
  • Widowed Spouse:  $1,149.00 Per Month or $13,794.00 Per Year
  • Veteran Married to Veteran:  $2,837.00 Per Month or $34,050.00 Per Year

Once awarded aid and attendance or housebound status, a Veteran may obtain free medications, medical equipment, incontinence supplies, glasses, and hearing aids from the VA Hospital/Clinic via U.S. Mail. A separate application must be made through the Health Care System.


  • World War II – December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947 is considered World War II service.
  • Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955.
  • Vietnam Era – February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975 for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during this period. In all other cases, August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975.

Note: Each VA claim is unique and the above criteria is generic in nature and may not be applicable to each claimant. There are never any guarantees that any claim or specific benefit amount will be awarded.

Contact Us right away to attend a free workshop where we will discuss details of these important benefits!

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Stapleton Elder Law is your Virginia resource for Asset Protection, Medicaid Pre-planning, Elder Law, Long-Term Care Planning, Paying for Nursing Home Cost Planning, Estate Planning, Business Owners and Business Succession Planning, Charitable Planning, Estate Tax Planning, Special Needs Planning, Veterans Benefits and Aid & Attendance. Stapleton Elder Law serves clients in Charlottesville, Virginia and the Surrounding Areas, including Winchester, Richmond, Staunton and more.
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