Waco va aid lawyers

At The Zimmerman Law Firm, we greatly respect what our military veterans have done for us.

Many men and women in Central Texas have served our country. Whether they served at Fort Cavazos or anywhere else around the world, it is our duty to return that service to our veterans nationwide.

As veterans age, they may require long-term care services to maintain their health and well-being. However, these services can be expensive and difficult to afford, particularly for those with limited income and resources.

Fortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers programs called Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits that provide financial assistance to eligible veterans and their spouses who need help with activities of daily living.

These tax-free benefits can be used to pay for nursing care, assisted living services, and in-home caregivers, allowing veterans to receive the care they need without causing undue financial hardship.

You or your spouse might be eligible for these programs if you served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day served during a wartime period.

Below, you can read more about the details of VA Aid and Attendance benefits. If you have any questions, please contact our VA lawyers in Waco online or call (254) 252-3590.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, you or your spouse must have qualifying military service and meet certain medical and financial requirements.

Military Service Requirements

First, you or your spouse must have served at least 90 days on active duty (24 months if after September 7, 1980), with at least one day served during a wartime period.

Under current law, the VA recognizes the following wartime periods:

  • Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters),
  • World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918),
  • World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946),
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955),
  • Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period, otherwise August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975), and
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation).

In addition, the veteran must have been granted either an honorable discharge or one that’s classified as other than dishonorable.

Medical Requirements

Second, you must require the assistance of another person (which may include a family member or neighbor) with at least two activities of daily living or be confined to your home due to a disability.

Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are basic tasks that people must be able to perform to live independently, including maintaining personal hygiene and overall well-being.

The concept is commonly used in healthcare to assess the functional status of individuals, especially older adults or those with disabilities. It also determines eligibility for certain benefits, such as VA Aid and Attendance benefits.

Examples include:

  • Bathing—the ability to clean and groom oneself, such as brushing one’s teeth, taking a shower or bath, washing one’s hair, and drying off without assistance;
  • Dressing—the ability to select appropriate clothing for the weather, put on socks and shoes, and fasten buttons or zippers;
  • Eating—the ability to feed oneself by cutting food, bringing it to the mouth, chewing it, and swallowing it without assistance;
  • Transferring or mobility—the ability to move from one position to another without assistance, such as from a bed to a chair or a wheelchair;
  • Toileting—the ability to use the toilet and perform associated personal hygiene tasks; and
  • Continence—the ability to control bowel and bladder function.

Struggling to perform an ADL without assistance or special equipment indicates a limitation in that activity.

VA Medical Requirements for Veteran Disability Benefits

To qualify for VA disability benefits, veterans must meet criteria set by the VA.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current condition—you must have a current physical or mental condition affecting your body or mind; and
  • Service history—you must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

For service connection, one of these conditions must apply to your situation:

  • In-service disability claim—you became ill or injured while serving in the military, and this condition is related to your service;
  • Pre-service disability claim—you had an illness or injury before joining the military, and your service aggravated this condition; or
  • Post-service disability claim—after leaving the military, you became disabled due to your active-duty service.

The VA evaluates your medical records, service history, and any additional evidence to establish if your condition is service-connected. A healthcare provider must diagnose your disability, and you need to provide documentation showing how it impacts your daily life.

Disabilities are assessed on a scale from 0% to 100% in increments of 10, indicating the severity of the condition. This rating determines your compensation level. The more severe your condition is, the higher your disability rating, typically leading to greater benefits.

The VA also considers how your disability affects your ability to perform ADLs and may provide additional aid for those with significant impairments. 

Financial Requirements

Finally, your annual income plus your countable assets must be less than the net worth thresholds set annually by the VA.

Non-countable resources include your residential homestead (up to two acres), your vehicle, and your household furnishings and personal effects.

Additionally, in order to get the full benefit amount, your cost of care must exceed your monthly income (less certain deductions).

How to Apply

To apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, veterans or their surviving spouses must complete and submit an application to the VA.

The application requires detailed information about the veteran’s military service, medical history, income, and assets, as well as documentation to support the application.

If you are considering applying for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, you should consider submitting an intent to file in advance to give yourself more time to gather all the necessary documentation and evidence to support your application.

Submitting an intent to file does not require you to file a complete application for benefits immediately. Instead, it provides you with up to one year to submit a complete application while also establishing an effective date for your benefits.

This means that if you submit an intent to file and later submit a complete application within the one-year timeframe, the VA can potentially pay retroactive benefits from the date you submitted the intent to file.

The processing time for an application for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the complexity of the application, the volume of applications being processed, and the specific VA regional office processing the application.

In general, the VA aims to process applications within 125 days, which is around four months, from the date of receipt of a complete application.

It is important to note that some applications may take longer to process if additional documentation or information is needed or if there are any complications or delays in processing the application.

An experienced VA lawyer can guide you through the process, assess your eligibility and compensation, and file a claim with the VA. 

Contact a VA-Accredited Elder Law Attorney Today 

If you believe that you or your spouse may be eligible for this program, contact our VA-accredited lawyers today.

We can help you determine whether VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits are right for you, navigate the application process and ensure that you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.

Contact us online or call (254) 252-3590 to get started today. We serve clients in McLennan County, surrounding counties, and throughout the US.

Where You Can Find Our Waco, TX Office

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits FAQ

What Is VA Aid and Attendance?

VA Aid and Attendance is a benefit program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provides financial assistance to veterans and their spouses who require the Aid and Attendance of another person to perform daily activities or are housebound.

Who Is Eligible for VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits?

Eligibility for VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit is based on several factors, including a veteran’s service record, disability status, income, and assets. Generally, to be eligible, a veteran must have served on active duty for at least 90 days, with at least one day of service during a period of wartime.

What Documents Are Needed for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound Pension Benefits Application?

The documents needed for a VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound Pension Benefits application include discharge papers (DD214), income and asset information, medical records, and a completed application form. Additional documentation may be required depending on the individual circumstances.