VA Aid and Attendance: Is It Wrong To Qualify For This Government Benefit?

VA Aid and Attendance:  Is It Wrong To Qualify For This Government Benefit?

aid & attendanceThere are some who claim that if you are a war time veteran you should not take steps to qualify for the VA Special Pension that is known as “Aid & Attendance” because this is supposedly wrong to do so.

Here’s the argument: Only those veterans who have very limited income and assets should get this benefit.

If you do anything to qualify for it, then you are “gaming the system” or taking unfair advantage of the laws.

Here are several quick thoughts about this aid & attendance issue.

First, when I do my taxes I start off with my gross income.

So do the people who say the argument described above.

Then I, and they, take out our deductions to reduce our income.

So we take off money for dependents, charitable contributions, or medical expenses.

For interest expense on our home.


This reduces the income that is actually taxed.

Do you know anyone who refuses to do this “So I can pay more in taxes than I am legally obligated to pay”?

I don’t either.

I bet that even the people who say you should not try and qualify (legally) for VA Aid and Attendance take their legally allowed deductions.

So we have established that it is ok to operate within the law to maximize our benefits.

The same is true of the Pension/Aid and Attendance.

The VA allows you to deduct the vast majority of your un-reimbursed (out of pocket) medical expenses from your income.

They just don’t tell you this very often.

Here’s an example:

You have income of $1500 a month and your wife has income of $1000 a month.

The VA says you combine those to reach a household income of $2500 a month.

But if you are living in an assisted living facility that costs $30000 a month and your wife has un-reimbursed medical expenses of $700 a month, then you can deduct (ignoring a small amount that is disallowed) $3700 a month.

So the VA says you have an “IVAP” — which is Income for VA Purposes — of negative $1200 ($2500 minus $3700).

This means you qualify for your full married benefit of over $2000 a month.

Second, and equally important, when is it wrong to accept government benefits?

Do the people who think veterans should not receive these benefits insist on paying for public education of their kids or grand kids?

Or insist on paying extra for the roads, police, fire department, etc?

Do they turn down their Social Security check?

Do they refuse to accept their government pension or do they refuse to accept the benefit of an IRA growing tax free?

I doubt it.

How about you?

We know the truth.

They take these benefits because they “earned” them.

Fair enough.

I think they should get them.

But you earned the “Aid & Attendance” benefits by being a war time veteran who qualifies for the benefit.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter.

Find out if you qualify now for this amazing benefit.

If you do, then great! Apply for it and get it!

If you don’t qualify now, find out what you need to do to qualify.

It may be you have no need of it — that’s wonderful.

But if you do need it, and you need to legally make some changes in your finances or assets to qualify, then look into your options and see if it makes sense to qualify for this benefit that you earned.

If you have questions about this benefit for you or a loved one in Alabama, contact us or call us at 205-879-2447 and we will be glad to chat with you about your options.


  1. David Hill says:

    Is the VA income for the family or the veteeran. My wife also receives Social Security

    • John Watts says:


      If you are the veteran and you receive the VA benefits, they are not income to your wife. You may get more money because you have a dependent (spouses are considered dependents normally) but it is not income to your spouse.

      Certainly, there can be exceptions, etc so check with a lawyer in your state but that’s the general rule.

      Thanks and best wishes

      John Watts

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