I helped my parents get VA Aid and Attendance, and now I'm petrified to think that it might cause my mom to lose the Survivor Benefit Plan. Any advice?

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My dad was paid up in SBP years ago. Mom expects 50% of his military retirement upon his death. Did we mess that up by getting VA A&A for him with a small amount for her!??

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
Hi Lee, I’m not sure how benefits within the VA affect each other, but for most government programs, A&A is not considered income. Generally, A&A won’t affect a person’s eligibility for need-based programs, for example. What I would think is more likely is that if your mom were to receive the SBP, then the VA would reevaluate her eligibility for A&A and either adjust the A&A benefit amount or discontinue it. Did you or your parents talk to anyone at the VA at all? There should be someone who can help you. If you don’t have someone already, your local VA can connect you with veteran volunteers who are knowledgeable about the VA bureaucracy and can hopefully guide you without you having to discuss everything directly with the VA. (Ours was through the American Legion; he was more consistent and knowledgeable than most of the people we spoke to at the VA itself.)

Good luck! I hope someone with direct experience with the SBP can answer your question.
Thank you. Yes there is 1 VA person who helped us alot. Since he hadn't mentioned the possibility of affecting the spouses SBP (from the deceased member's Service retirement pension ), i assumed he either doesn't know or it is not true. I saw something about "widow's tax" on SBP, and it's terrible, very limited compared to 50%. So I'll try the American Legion if nobody here can advise as to whether Widow's Tax is associated with VA&A. I should have mentioned the name "Widow's Tax. "
Hi Lee, I hadn't heard of the Widow's Tax. That is so crazy and so wrong! Why would they do that? When I googled it, there was an article saying legislation had been proposed last February to eliminate that penalty, but nothing has happened with it yet.

Hopefully someone else with more knowledge about this will answer. I hope you get some good news about it. (In the articles I read, it looked like the conflicts were between people receiving both the DIC benefit and SBP, no mention of A&A.)
Be aware that if Mom ever needs Medicaid, she can't have A&A too.
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Incredible, what you said about Medicaid because in some states, one has to apply for Veterans A&A before Medicaid. VAA not so generous to spouse as to servicemember. Thanks. This should all be easier. Standardized and documented online like Turbo Tax-type questionnaire and options, to compare outcomes. Thanks much
In our state (MI) the A&A didn't prevent us from getting Medicaid. It was just that we had to inform the VA when he applied for Medicaid, and once he was approved (for nursing home care), then the VA reduced his benefit to about $90 a month. I think it really varies from state to state, and depends on whether you need Medicaid for long term care or for community services.

You are so right about being able to compare and the VA needing to make things clearer and more manageable. I don't know how the older vets and spouses manage this system if they don't have younger family helping them.
Thank you.

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