Aid and Attendance
A variety of important benefits and services are available to veterans and to their families, survivors and next-of-kin from the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies.
While the National Archives does not provide these benefits, we can help you obtain the copies of Military Service Records or other proof of service which you'll need to prove eligibility.
The Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an assisting living facility also qualifies.
To qualify for A&A it needs to be established by your physician that you require daily assistance by others to dress, undress, bathing, cooking, eating, taking on or off of prosthetics, leave home etc. You DO NOT have to require assistance with all of these. There simply needs to be adequate medical evidence that you cannot function completely on your own.
The A&A Pension can provide up to $1,732 per month to a veteran, $1,113 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,054 per month to a couple*.
A Veteran filing with a Sick Spouse is eligible for up to $1,360 per month*. Many families overlook the A&A Pension as it pertains to veterans who are still independent, but have an ill spouse. Keep in mind that in this situation, if the spouse's medical expenses completely depletes their combined monthly income, the Veteran can file as a Veteran with a sick spouse.
Eligibility must be proven by filing the proper Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation. (Form 21-534 surviving spouse) (Form 21-526 Veteran.) This application will require a copy of DD-214 (see below for more information) or separation papers, Medical Evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket Medical Expenses.
A DD-214 is issued to military members upon separation from active service. DD-214s were issued to separated service members beginning in the 1950's. The term "DD-214" is often used generically to mean "separation papers" or "discharge papers", no matter what form number was used to document active duty military service. If the VA has a copy of a DD-214, it is usually because the veteran attached a copy (or sometimes, the original) to his or her application for disability or education benefits. If you've lost your original DD-214 or a copy and you are receiving (or applied for in the past) disability or education benefits from the VA, they may have a copy (or the original, if you gave it to them) on file. At the very least, if you are currently receiving benefits (or did in the past), they should be able to provide a Statement of Service, which can be used instead of a "DD-214".
Before January 1, 1950, several similar forms were used by the military services upon discharge, including the WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD, and the NAVCG 553 as discharge papers. All of these are acceptable to the VA for making application.