The U.S. Veterans Administration has a program called Veterans Aid and Attendance, or A&A, that provides a pension benefit for qualified military veterans who are housebound or require another person’s assistance for their care. Access to this benefit can be confusing and complicated for those who have never applied before.

The Veteran’s A&A pension benefit is in addition to the regular VA pension, which is why additional rules apply. If you are a veteran in need of assistance, or if you are a family member of such a veteran, here are three tips to help you better understand this benefit.

1. Know eligibility conditions

There are several eligibility conditions for the Veteran’s A&A program. While applicants do not have to meet all the conditions, they must meet at least one. One of these requirements is that the person who will receive the benefit must be in need of assistance in performing daily personal care tasks such as bathing, feeding, dressing and the like. Another is that the applicant is bedridden, or in a nursing home. The first step is to determine eligibility.

2. Confirm eligibility requirements

In addition to meeting one of the conditions stated above, veterans who wish to access the A&A benefit must also meet specific program requirements. These requirements include specifics regarding the length of service during a wartime period, as well as asset and income restrictions. Without meeting the requirements, a veteran may not successfully access the additional pension. 

3. Collect documentation and evidence

As part of the application process, the veteran must provide evidence that demonstrates proof of meeting the conditions and requirements. This can include documents such as a report from the veteran’s physician, as well as financial information. It is important to gather all the necessary evidence prior to submitting an application. Lack of this documentation can lead to a denial.