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July 8, 2024

What Can VA Aid and Attendance Money be Used For?

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For many veterans, an advanced age or a debilitating disability caused by their service makes it so they need a lot of help with daily activities. Or they may need to live in a care facility, such as a state Veteran’s Home or nursing home. 

Are those veterans stuck footing what can be a monstrous assisted living bill? 

Nope! Not if you qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance program. This program gives you extra money each month to help cover the expenses that come with the level of care you require. 

But what can VA Aid and Attendance money be used for? Let’s take a look!


  • Aid and Attendance money can be used to cover various assisted living expenses. 
  • How much you can get for Aid and Attendance depends on whether you receive it through Special Monthly Pension or Special Monthly Compensation and factors like need, income, and assets. 
  • Eligibility is based on your daily care needs, your disability, your net worth, and your military service. 
  • There are three ways to apply for VA Aid and Attendance. 


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What Can VA Aid and Attendance Money be Used For? 

You can use the money you receive through the VA’s Aid and Attendance program can be used for things such as: 

  1. In-home care. Aid and attendance can be used to pay for a full-time in-home nurse or other care provider, even if that care provider is a family member. 
  2. Assisted living expenses. Even if it’s not full-time care, if you require regular assistance with daily activities like feeding, bathing, or household chores, aid and attendance can help cover the bill. 
  3. Nursing home care. If you’re a patient in a nursing home, your monthly stipend can be used to help pay for your treatment. 
  4. Co-pays. You can use your monthly stipend to pay for copays related to medical expenses and prescription drugs. 
  5. Senior living community expenses. If you live in a senior living community, you can use your stipend to help pay for your room and board. 

How Much is the Aid and Attendance Benefit?

Aid and Attendance is most often considered a VA pension benefit. If you qualify for Aid and Attendance and receive a VA pension, you’ll typically receive an additional amount on top of your monthly pension payments to help pay for assisted living services. This is known as Special Monthly Pension (SMP). 

But this isn’t always the case. You can also receive VA Aid and Attendance benefits through Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

The amount you could receive each month for Aid and Attendance varies drastically between SMP and SMC, and factors like need, income, and assets also affect the final amount. 


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VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility

You could be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance benefits if at least one of the following is true: 

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing 
  • You have to stay in bed all day or for a large portion of the day —because of illness 
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability. 
  • Your eyesight is limited to 5/200 or less in both eyes, even with glasses. Or you suffer from concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less. 

Net Worth Limit

You must also be below the net worth limit if you plan to receive aid and attendance through your VA pension. The current net worth limit is $155,356

This limit doesn’t apply to aid and attendance received through Special Monthly Compensation. 

Service Requirements

If you’re receiving a VA pension benefit, service requirements for aid and attendance include: 

  • You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, AND 
  • You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, OR 
  • You started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, OR 
  • You were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months 

Visit the VA’s website to see what qualifies as a wartime period

For Special Monthly compensation, the service requirements are the same as VA disability compensation because you can’t get SMC without having a VA rating: 

  1. Have served at least 90 days on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training 
  2. Not have received an Other Than Honorable, Bad Conduct, or Dishonorable discharge 

NOTE: You’ll need to submit your DD-214 with your VA claim to show that you have qualifying service. 

VA Aid and Attendance Application Process (VA Form 21-2680)

You can apply for VA Aid and Attendance in three ways:  

  1. Fill out VA Form 21-2680 and mail it to your state’s Pension Management Center (PMC). You can strengthen your application by including the following evidence: 
  2. Doctor’s reports that show you need assisted living 
  3. Details about what you normally do during the day and how you get to places 
  4. Details that help show what kind of illness, injury, or mental or physical disability affects your ability to do things, like take a bath, on your own 
  5. If you’re already living in a nursing home, fill out VA Form 21-0779 and mail it to: Department of Veterans Affairs, Evidence Intake Center, P.O. Box 4444, Janesville, WI, 53547- 4444 
  6. You can also apply in person at a regional VA office. Bring any relevant medical information and evidence showing you need assisted living (see above). 

📺VA Aid and Attendance Video📺 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can a surviving spouse get VA Aid and Attendance?

Yes, surviving spouses can also receive VA Aid and Attendance benefits if they qualify for a survivor’s pension and meet the other requirements

Qualified survivors have separate Aid and Attendance rates. You can find instructions for calculating how much spouses and survivors get for VA assisted living in our post How Much Will the VA Pay for Assisted Living? 

Can VA Aid and Attendance money be used for prescription drugs?

Yes, Aid and Attendance money can be used to cover co-pays for prescription drugs and other medical expenses. 

Is the VA Aid and Attendance benefit paid directly to the veteran?

Yes, VA Aid and Attendance is paid directly to the veteran, spouse, or survivor. It cannot be paid to a care provider or facility. 

Can I get 100% disability compensation and VA Aid and Attendance?

Yes, even if you have a 100% VA disability rating, you can still apply for and receive Aid and Attendance through Special Monthly Pension and Special Monthly Compensation. 

What assets count toward the Aid and Attendance net worth limit?

Assets include the fair market value of all the real and personal property you own, minus the amount of any mortgages you may have. “Real property” means any land and buildings you may own. Your personal property assets may include things like: 

  • Investments (like stocks and bonds) 
  • Antique furniture 
  • Boats 

What is the income limit for VA aid and attendance?

Income limits only apply to Aid and Attendance received through Special Monthly Pension. 

Your income limit depends on whether you have a spouse and any dependents, and it’s used to determine your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR), which in turn is used to calculate your SMP payment. 


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Phot of Clay Hutson

Clay Huston

Clay Huston is a former U.S. Army Reserves Blackhawk Pilot and officer. Clay enlisted in the Army in 2013 and was commissioned as a 2LT in 2017 after earning a business degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.

Since separating from the military, Clay has pursued a career as a writer. He also runs the nonprofit, which fundraises for Children’s Homes in Mexico.

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