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Special veterans benefits

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By Donald Mustard

The veteran currently receiving VA service-connected disability compensation or the veteran and eligibility family members in receipt of benefits under the Improved Pension Program may also be entitled to benefits provided in two other programs. The receipt of service-connected disability compensation or pension benefits however, does not automatically entitle the veteran to receive benefits from these two special programs. In most cases the veteran must submit a claim for benefits under either of these programs. These two programs; Aid and Attendance and Housebound each have strict eligibility requirements which must be met before VA will approve the additional benefit.

AID AND ATTENDANCE

Need for aid and attendance will be considered to exist when the veteran is so nearly helpless that he cannot care for himself such as dress or undress, keep clean and presentable, feed himself, attend to the wants of nature, frequent need to adjust special prosthetic or orthopedic appliances or protect himself from hazards and dangers incident to daily environment.

It is not required that the need be constant but only that the services of another person to care for the veteran be needed regularly. Total blindness or being bedridden meets the requirements for regular aid and attendance.

ALL CONDITIONS MUST BE SERVICE CONNECTED

When a veteran is in need of a higher level of care, the absence of which would require hospitalization, nursing home, residential or other institutional care the VA will provide a higher level of monthly aid and attendance allowance.

For this purpose the term “need of a higher level of care” shall be considered to be the need of personal health care services provided on a daily basis in the veteran’s home by one who is licensed to provide such services or who provides such services under the regular supervision of a licensed health care professional.

The VA will determine the existence of the need for such care.

HOUSEBOUND

The service connected housebound benefit is payable to a veteran, who has a single service connected disability regularly evaluated at regular scheduler evaluation, and has additional service connected disability or combination of disabilities independently rated at 60 percent or more; or in addition to his single service connected disability regularly evaluated to 100 percent, the veteran is in fact permanently housebound from service connected causes veteran may be found to be permanently housebound if as a result of his single 10 percent disability, by itself for in combination with other service connected disabilities, he will remain confined for the foreseeable future to his dwelling and immediate premises or, if institutionalized, the ward or clinical areas.

The rates for a veteran determined by VA to be eligible for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits will be established by VA based on the severity of the service connected disability (ties) and the number of dependents.

Home Health Care Employees: Please keep the above in mind when you visit veterans in their homes.

Next month this column will address the new compensation and pension rates to be effective December 1, 2008 and reflected in the January 2009 payment, if the new rates are available in time for publication.

For more information contact VA at (800) 827-1000 or the Service Officer for DAV Chapter 8 and VFW Post 8184 at (434) -316-0229 for assistance. The office, located in the Marine Corps League Bldg at 2337 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA is open for walk-ins on Tuesday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and on Thursday by appointment.

Source for this article, Department of Veterans Affairs booklet titled “Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents”, 2008 edition.