The Veteran Enhance Pension Benefit is a needs based program paid to a veteran, an
unremarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran. Pension Payments over the base pension
for medical assistance are often referred to as Aid and Attendance.
How do I know if I'm eligible?
may be eligible if:
The veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
veteran served at least 90 days of active military service 1 day of which was during a war time period. If he or she
entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for
which called or ordered to active duty. (There are exceptions to this rule.) AND
You are the surviving
spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran, AND
Your countable income is below a yearly limit set by law (The
yearly limit on income is set by Congress).
As you can see, there are a number of criteria that may affect your eligibility
to pension benefits. If you are unsure if you meet all criteria, we encourage you to go ahead and file an application,
particularly if your countable income appears to be near the maximum. VA will determine if you are eligible and notify
If you do not initially qualify, you may reapply if you have un-reimbursed medical expenses during
the twelve month period after VA receives your claim that bring your countable income below the yearly income limit.
(These are expense you have paid for medical services or products for which you will not be reimbursed by Medicare or private
Are there age requirements, or restrictions?An unremarried spouse can be any age.
A child must
be: under 18, or
in school and under 23, or
was incapable of self support before the age of 18
What is " income" for pension eligibility?
This includes income received from
most sources by the veteran, surviving spouse and any eligible children. It includes earnings, disability and
retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business.
There is a presumption that
all of a child's income is available to or for the surviving spouse. VA may grant an exception in hardship cases.
Certain expenses like medical expenses may be excluded from your annual income to lower the total
Net worth means the net value of the assets
of the surviving spouse and his or her children. It includes such assets as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual
funds and any property other than the surviving spouse's residence and a reasonable lot area. There is no set
limit on how much net worth a surviving spouse and his or her children can have, but net worth cannot be excessive.
The decision as to whether a claimant's net worth is excessive depends on the facts of each individual case. All
net worth should be reported and VA will determine if a claimant's assets are sufficiently large that the claimant could live
off these assets for a reasonable period of time. VA's needs-based programs are not intended to protect substantial
assets or build up an estate for the benefit of heirs.
Are there any exclusions to income or deductions that may be
made to reduce countable income?
Yes, there are exclusions. The following are examples of the types of exclusions or
deductibles to countable income:
- Final expenses of the veteran's last illness and burial paid by the surviving spouse or eligible
- Public assistance such as Supplemental Security
Income is not considered income.
- Many other specific sources
of income are not considered income, however all income should be reported. VA will exclude any income
that the law allows.
- A portion of un-reimbursed medical
expenses paid by the claimant after VA receives your pension claim may be deducted.
- Certain other expenses, such as a surviving spouse's education expenses, and in some cases, a portion
of the educational expenses of a child over 18 are deductible.
How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound:
You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA
regional office having jurisdiction of the claim. That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If
the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office. We recommend
that your actually file the application with one of the three VA Service Pension Maintenance Centers listed below that serve
- You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating
the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.
- The report should be in
sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss
of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary
needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
- In addition, it is necessary
to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the individual gets around,
where the individual goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day.
the Application to the appropriate Pension Maintenance Center
Milwaukee Pension Maintenance Center
5400 West National Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53214
Processes claims for the following states:
AL, AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, OH, TN, WI
St. Paul Pension Maintenance CenterVeterans Administration
1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling
St. Paul, MN 55111-4050
Processes claims for the following states:
AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IA, ID, KS, MN, MT, ND, NE, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY
Philadelphia Pension Maintenance Center
5000 Wissahickon Avenue
Processes claims for the following
CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, MA, MD,
ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV
It is recomend that applications be sent
via Federal Express or UPS/USPS return receipt requested to be assured that application was submitted, received and establishes
the date of the application. Approval of applications may take a year or more but pension benefits are paid retro-actively
from date of the application establishing the date the application was submitted is important.