Dear Toni,

I have read your column with great interest for years knowing that one day this time would come.  My mother is almost 88 years old and in dire need of help at home with everyday routines, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, shopping and meal preparation.  My siblings and I have made every effort to be available to help our mother as much as possible.  We know that it is her wish is to remain living in her house.

`           Our mother is a survivor spouse of a veteran and from what I have read in your column is eligible for financial help through the VA.  How do we begin this process for our mother?  Can you give us contact information and an idea of how this works?  Perhaps we can resolve this if we are able to bring in outside help for mom?  We are most grateful for any advice you can offer…Worried in Katy

Dear Worried in Katy:

Many elderly need some help at home with everyday routines generally involving functional mobility and personal care, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, and meal preparation.

The VA has a wonderful program known as Aid and Attendance benefits and is explained completely on the VA website at

With the Aid and Attendant benefit a veteran, veteran’s spouse or surviving spouse of a veteran that is in need of additional care or are housebound may qualify for assistance. The 2015 pensions available from the VA are:

  • For a Veteran-$1,788 per month
  • For a Surviving spouse-$1,149 per month
  • For a Married Vet -$2,120 per month
  • For 2 Vets that are married to each other – $2,837 per month.

There is over 20 billion dollars of Aid and Attendance pension money available to Vets and to qualify a Vet must have…

  • Been discharged from a branch of the United States Armed Forces under conditions that were not dishonorable.
  • Served at least 1 day (does not have to be in combat) during war time and 90 days of continuous military service.

Some of the documents that you need to apply for the benefits are:

  • Veterans DD214
  • VA Form 21-22 if Veteran’s Service Organization is filing or 21-22a if individual is acting the claimant’s representative. You may need 21-22a if you are filing for your mother.
  • VA Form 21-4142: Authorization and Consent to Release Information
  • VDVA Form 10: Letter from the Claimant’s attending physician
  • VA Form 21-2680: Physician Statement or VA Form 21-0779 Nursing Home Statement
  • VA Form 21-8416: Medical Expenses incurred

Other documents which you will need are:

  • Marriage or Death Certificate (Surviving Spouses only)
  • Asset information (Bank statements)
  • Verification of income
  • Proof of Medical Premiums
  • Voided check for Aid and Attendance Direct Deposit

With you needing the additional help for your mother and your Dad being a Veteran that has served during “War” time, then you should not have trouble applying. If your Dad was a Veteran, but did not serve during “War” time, then you will not qualify for the benefits.

** My husband, Jim who is a Marine knows how the VA operates and said to contact your local VFW post and ask for their service officer. He can help apply for the Veteran or Veteran’s spouse’s benefits. Also you can Google for the Veteran Service Office in your specific county. Email me if you need any guidance.

Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at  Email questions or to schedule a “Confused about Medicare Workshop” to or call 832/519-8664.

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