Written By: Camryn Keeble

VA Aid & Attendance Benefits

VA Aid & Attendance is an additional financial assistance option provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to eligible veterans or their surviving spouses who may need assistance performing certain daily activities. Veterans or their spouses receiving other VA benefits may also be eligible for Aid & Attendance.


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What Is VA Aid & Attendance?

The VA’s Aid & Attendance benefit provides financial assistance to someone who requires the assistance of another person to perform daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. This benefit does not require the recipient to use the funds to pay for care, as it can be provided by a spouse, relative or friend.

Aid & Attendance is payable to veterans who are receiving VA Disability Compensation for a service-connected disability, as well as to veterans who are eligible for VA Pension. It is also available to surviving dependents receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) or Survivor’s Pension. The amount of Aid & Attendance is calculated differently for each situation.

Aid & Attendance for Veterans Receiving VA Disability Compensation

Aid & attendance can be paid to veterans who have a single disability rated at 100% and who require the aid of another person to perform at least two activities of daily living due to their service-connected mesothelioma or lung cancer. This additional benefit is paid through the VA’s Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) schedule L or SMC-L. 

SMC-L pays a veteran an additional $884.89 per month, in addition to their 100% disability pay.  If the veteran’s spouse is also in need of Aid & Attendance, then the veteran can receive an additional $185.20 per month. 

For example, a married veteran with service-connected pleural mesothelioma who qualifies for Aid & Attendance would receive their disability pay at the 100% married rate of $3,823.89 plus $884.84 for aid & attendance, for a total of $4,708.78 per month.

Eligibility for Aid & Attendance is based on the veteran requiring the assistance of another person to perform at least two activities of daily living. 

Activities of daily living include:

  • The ability of the claimant to feed themselves
  • The ability of the claimant to bathe themselves
  • The ability of the claimant to dress or undress themselves
  • The ability of the claimant to address the wants of nature (using the bathroom)
  • The ability of the claimant to adjust any special prosthetic or orthopedic appliances
  • The ability of the claimant to protect themselves from hazards or dangers incident to their daily environment
  • The claimant is bedridden (confined to bed). 


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By: Retired LCDR Carl Jewett, VA Claims Agent

Aid & Attendance for Veterans Receiving VA Pension

Veterans who are eligible for VA Pension can receive additional monthly compensation in the form of Aid & Attendance. It can also serve to qualify those veterans whose income is too high to receive regular pension.

This is because of the way that pension payments are calculated. These calculations start the Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR).  There are many different MAPRs. Regardless of which MAPR is applicable in the veteran’s situation, the payment amount a veteran receives is determined by subtracting the veteran’s income from the applicable MAPR. If the veteran has no income, then the amount they would receive would be the MAPR value. Hence, the term Maximum Allowable Pension Rate, which is the maximum a veteran can receive.

However, the MAPR is a variable depending on how many dependents a veteran has, if they are married to another veteran, and whether the veteran needs Aid & Attendance. For instance, the basic MAPR, as of Dec 2022 is $16,037 for veterans with no dependents, while the MAPR for a veteran in need of Aid & Attendance is $26,752. 

If a single veteran ineligible for Aid & Attendance has an income that is less than the basic MAPR, they will receive the difference between the MAPR and their income. 

Example 1: A single veteran ineligible for Aid & Attendance who makes $12,000 per year would receive:

  • MAPR = $16,037
  • Income = $12,000
  • Pension = $4,037 per year or $336.42 per month

Example 2: A single veteran eligible for Aid & Attendance who makes $12,000 per year would receive:

  • MAPR = $26,752
  • Income = $12,000
  • Pension = $14,752 per year or $1229.33 per month

Therefore, a veteran whose income is above the basic MAPR but below the MAPR for veterans in need of Aid & Attendance will only receive Pension income if they require Aid & Attendance. 

Example 3: A single veteran who does not need Aid & Attendance makes $20,000 a year. He files for Pension but is denied for his income being above the basic MAPR of $16,037. A year later, that veteran’s health condition changed such that he now qualifies for Aid & Attendance, but his income is unchanged. The veteran files for Pension again, along with an application for Aid & Attendance.

This time the veteran’s pension claim is approved because the applicable MAPR is higher than his annual income:

  • MAPR = $26,752
  • Income = $20,000
  • Pension = $6,752 per year or $562.67 per month

A list of all MAPRs can be found here: https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/

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Aid & Attendance for Surviving Dependents Receiving DIC

Dependents eligible for Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC) can also qualify for additional compensation when they need Aid & Attendance. Dependents include a surviving spouse, dependent children and dependent parents.

Example: A surviving spouse is eligible for DIC because the veteran died from a service-connected disability. The basic eligibility amount for DIC is $1,562.73 per month. However, if the surviving spouse qualifies for Aid & Attendance, they will receive an extra $387.15 per month, for a total of $1,949.88 per month.

Aid & Attendance for Surviving Dependents Eligible for Survivor Pension

Survivor’s Pension is calculated using the same procedure explained above for Veterans Pension. However, the MAPRs are different. For instance, the MAPR for a surviving spouse with no dependents ineligible for Aid & Attendance is $10,757 per year. However, if that same surviving spouse qualifies for Aid & Attendance, the MAPR jumps to $17,192. 

Annual income includes any money paid in a year from a job, retirement plan or annuity. It includes:

  • Salary
  • Hourly pay
  • Overtime
  • Commissions
  • Bonuses
  • Tips

Frequently Asked Questions About VA Aid & Attendance

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Is Aid & Attendance Available for Veterans Drawing Disability Compensation or Surviving Dependents Drawing DIC?

Yes, Aid & Attendance is available for veterans drawing disability compensation or surviving dependents drawing DIC. Because Aid & Attendance for these cases is contained in the Special Monthly Compensation section of the VA manual, most searches for it on the VA’s website only return results about Aid & Attendance (A&A) for Pension and Survivors Pension. The Special Monthly Compensation section of the VA manual is very complicated and very hard to understand. Finding information about it for recipients of disability compensation or DIC can be very difficult. 

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Is Aid & Attendance a “Stand-Alone” Benefit from the VA?

Aid & Attendance is not a stand-alone benefit from the VA. Many veterans and surviving spouses believe they are receiving Aid & Attendance as a single benefit from the VA. In reality, they are actually receiving VA Pension or Survivors Pension. They are also paid a higher amount because they require Aid & Attendance. In many cases, their income is too high to qualify for pension. They only qualify because they require Aid & Attendance, which has a higher MAPR. Because many Veteran Service Officers and Elder Care attorneys refer to pension using the Aid & Attendance MAPR as simply “Aid & Attendance,” many veterans and surviving spouses don’t realize they are actually receiving a pension benefit.

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Is Aid & Attendance Only Payable to Veterans and Surviving Spouses When They Are Paying a Healthcare Professional to Provide Assistance?

Aid & Attendance is paid based on the need, not whether the assistance is provided by a paid healthcare professional. Therefore, Aid & Attendance can be paid when the assistance needed is provided free of charge by a spouse, relative or friend.

Sources & Author

    1. VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance. Veterans Affairs Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/ Accessed: 03/23/2023
    2. Compensation: Special Monthly Compensation. Retrieved from: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/types-compensation.asp Accessed: 3/23/2023
    3. 2023 VA special monthly compensation rates. Retrieved from: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/special-monthly-compensation-rates/ Accessed: 3/24/2023
    4. VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) Benefit Eligibility. Retrieved from: https://www.veteranaid.org/aid-and-attendance-eligibility.php Accessed: 3/24/2023
    5. What are Aid and Attendance Allowances with VA Compensation? Retrieved from: https://www.veteransaidbenefit.org/what-are-aid-and-attendance-allowances-with-va-compensation.htm#:~:text=Aid%20and%20Attendance%20or%20Housebound%20SMC%20for%20Veterans%20who%20are,under%20a%20single%20disability%20rating. Accessed: 2/24/2023
    6. 38 CFR § 3.350 – Special monthly compensation ratings. Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.350. Accessed: 3/24/2023.
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About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates informative content to educate mesothelioma patients and their loved ones on news, treatments and more. She also works diligently to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and the effects of mesothelioma.