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It's estimated that fewer than 5 percent of veterans know about this VA pension benefit

The federal government provides your veterans pension based on your needs as a wartime veteran with a disability. However, the standard VA pension benefits may not actually cover your needs.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you may qualify for a higher monthly pension rate if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

If you need assistance with day-to-day activities

Veterans or their surviving spouses may be eligible for Aid and Attendance, which provides extra income for those who need someone else to help them with basic life activities such as: 

  • Going to the bathroom
  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Adjusting prosthetics
  • Preventing injury accidents

You may also qualify for A&A if you have damaged vision so that when corrected, your visual acuity in both eyes is at or less than 5/200, or if the concentric contraction of your visual field is no more than five degrees.

A&A can help cover the costs of living in a nursing home if you are there because you are mentally or physically incapacitated, or it may provide more income for your care if you are confined to your bed because of your disability.

If you cannot leave your house

Having a disability that keeps you confined to your house could increase the amount of assistance you need in order to live your life, so the VA has set up an extra payment amount for veterans who are housebound. The VA considers you to be housebound if the reason you cannot leave your home is that your condition has made you 100 percent disabled. If you are permanently housebound, or if you have a second disability that is at least 60 percent disabling, you may be eligible for this increased payment.

The process for applying for A&A and Housebound pension rates includes filing a form requesting an examination of your circumstances. The VA examiner will gather evidence, including:

  • How well you move about
  • What you are able to do during your typical day
  • Where you go

You will need to ask your doctor for an official report that validates your need or your bedridden or housebound condition. Because fulfilling the requirements for these additional types of government assistance can be complex, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney.

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