Does the amount a person receive from Veteran’s Aid & Attendance pension benefit count as income for Medicaid?
While in most cases, one’s VA Aid & Attendance (A&A) monetary benefit does not count as income for Medicaid eligibility purposes, this is not always the case. The is because the way a state views one’s A&A monthly payment varies based on the state in which one resides.
The Aid & Attendance benefit is a monthly cash benefit for veterans and surviving spouses who require assistance with their activities of daily living and receive the basic veterans pension or the basic survivors pension. (To see eligibility requirements for the basic pension and A&A, click here). Since A&A is considered an “add on” benefit to the basic pension, the monthly cash benefit can be broken down into two parts; one for the basic pension and one for A&A. While some states will disregard the basic pension plus A&A in its entirety from Medicaid’s income limit, other states will count the basic pension portion towards Medicaid’s income limit and disregard the A&A portion.
As an example, let’s say a veteran with no dependents receives the maximum A&A pension amount, which is approximately $1,912 / month. If that same veteran were not eligible for A&A and only received the maximum amount for the basic pension, he / she would receive approximately $1,146 / month. Therefore, in this example in which the veteran receives both the basic pension and A&A, the basic pension portion of the cash benefit is approximately $1,146 / month and the A&A portion is approximately $766 / month. In the states that count the basic pension benefit towards Medicaid’s income limit, the approximate $1,146 / month would count towards Medicaid’s income limit. The approximate $766 / month for the A&A portion of the benefit amount would not count towards Medicaid’s income limit.
Please note; single veterans (and surviving spouses) who receive the A&A pension and reside in a Medicaid-funded nursing home will have their A&A benefit reduced to $90 / month, of which they can keep. In addition, the individual will still receive his / her personal needs allowance from Medicaid. Medicaid beneficiaries who reside in nursing home facilities must pay all of their income to Medicaid to go towards their cost of nursing home care except for a monthly personal needs allowance and a monthly spousal monthly maintenance needs allowance, if applicable. To be clear, if a veteran is married or has a dependent child, his / her A&A benefit amount will not be reduced. Furthermore, benefits will not be reduced if the individual resides in a VA state veterans home.
Calculating one’s income for Medicaid qualification purposes can be confusing, particularly when it comes to considering one’s VA pension benefits. In order to find out how Medicaid calculates VA A&A pension income in a specific state, one is highly encouraged to contact a professional Medicaid planner.