VA Benefits Planning

The law provides for various VA Benefits including disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) and Special Monthly Compensation. The VA’s website provides more information on each of these benefits. This is a summary of benefits available to veterans that help pay for long-term care.

Disability Compensation

is paid to a Veteran whose disabilities are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service. Disability Compensation may also be paid for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

is a tax free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Service members who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training or survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. Disability and Indemnity Compensation for parents is an income-based benefit

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as “aid and attendance” and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
The aid & attendance or SMC increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you or your spouse meets one of the following conditions:

  • You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment. As a general rule, the VA requires that you need assistance with at least two of these activities of daily life or need care and supervision due to severe cognitive impairment.
  • You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
  • Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less

In addition, the Veteran must have:

  • served at least 90 days of service;
  • one day of service was during a period of war;
  • was other than dishonorably discharged;
  • needs medical assistance with two activities of daily living and/or needs supervision to protect yourself (such as a person with dementia), and
  • have medical expenses that are more than monthly income.
    In order to receive this benefit, the Veteran’s income, must be less than his “medical expenses”. Medical expenses may include hired caregivers at home or care provided in assisted living.

Burial Benefits
Burial benefits are available to veterans whether they are cremated or not. There are special requirements to be buried in a National Cemetery. State VA Cemeteries are run by each State. In order to find out more, refer to The VA’s website for information on Cemetery Administration.