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Last year my mom got VA death pension benefits. She recently fell and had partial hip replacement. I want her to go to assisted living and she wants to go home. I’m an only child, she is 94 but that is another story. Anyway would you know if she would still get death pension and Aid and Attendance or only Aid and Attendance for assisted living? These prices are ranging between 2,800 to 4,000 per month. The 2 I looked at seem very nice to me and are close to where I live. She has some other health issues and I just think she needs to have health professionals around her. Thoughts? Thank you in advance!

Thrifty elders often respond well to the idea that care services can be covered by a government benefit or pension.

Health and safety are first priority in your mind, while your mother may be most focused on finances and making the most of available benefits payments.

Understanding the differences between the VA death pension vs. Aid and Attendance will make you better able to explain the financial facts.

Consider the specifics of your mother's case in the context of:
1) Service-Connected Compensation vs.
2) a non-service connected VA Pension.

A surviving spouse can qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) if the veteran's death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. This IS service-connected compensation, and asset limits and transfer penalties DO NOT apply. Here is the summary of DIC compensation, which can include an extra allowance if the surviving spouse is entitled to Aid & Attendance:
https://benefits.va.gov/Compensation/current_rates_dic.asp#BM01

Aid & Attendance is a NON-service connected VA pension which IS subject to asset and transfer rules.

Here is the VA's summary of maximum Aid & Attendance payments:
https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/current_rates_survivor_pen.asp
Here is an example of how the VA looks at the unreimbursed medical expenses of a surviving spouse to determine the amount of the Aid & Attendance pension:
https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/spousepencalc.asp

Talk with a Veteran Agent or Elder Law Attorney near you and determine whether room and board at the assisted living can be considered a medical expense in your mother's case.

Compare the amount she receives now in service-connected compensation with the maximum Aid & Attendance pension amount that would be allowed based on her income and total unreimbursed medical expenses.

If the Aid & Attendance pension would produce greater reimbursement, you have a financial talking point to help your mother chose the safer living environment.
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Reply to John L. Roberts
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also, CHAMPS is a military health program for spouses, etc and I believe pays for nursing home(not assisted living)….my mom qualified for it and has it in case as a secondary insurance ie she has medicare primary....mom didn't qualify for DIC since the 100% disabled category had to be more than 10 years and didn't qualify for the pension since her income was higher....the AID and ATTENDANCE was always a source of confusion when I was trying to get it for dad......it was nevre really clear what the limits or eligibility were...
….https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/dependents/champva/champva_eligibility.asp
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Reply to Mhillwt
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If she can get A&A it will not pay for an AL. A surviving spouse gets maybe 1200 at the most. Not sure if she would qualify since she receives a pension thru the VA. She may have to give up one to get the other. You need to contact your local VA office to see how this will work.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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cosmicgirl61 Jul 12, 2019
Thank you JoAnn29. She is currently getting about $1,200. A gentleman from the American Legion helped with paperwork last year. I could have sworn he said to let him know if circumstances change. I have an e-mail out to him just haven’t heard back yet.
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My dad was the veteran & received Aid & Attendance benefits from the VA. Once he passed away, mother continued getting reduced survivor benefits of $1209 which she DOES use for Assisted Living. If a person needs help with ADLs, then Aid & Attendance is used, such as Assisted Living situations. I've been using the VA benefits to pay for her AL and now Memory Care facilities since 2015. I have no idea about receiving both pension AND AA benefits, though. I used a State Veteran's Service Officer located at the Dept of Military & Veterans Affairs office here in Denver in order to apply for Dad's benefits originally, and then to get mother's benefits extended after he passed.
Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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You will need to talk with a VA caseworker. There may be a condition that your Mother does not qualify for both benefits or must give up on one or the other.
Not every AL accepts VA payment. You will need to speak with the caseworker about the list of accepted AL homes.
There may also be a requirement that your Mom may fall under the requirement her doctor must be VA too.

Good luck. Get your ducks all in a row because you'll be dealing with the Government and you don't always get the same answer twice.
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Reply to dkentz72
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I was under the impression when I applied for Moms A&A that it would be deposited into her bank acct. I would have then paid the AL. They would not have been involved.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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worriedinCali Jul 12, 2019
My FILs went straight to the nursing home, not his bank account. But the other strange thing is, he got to keep his social security. If he was supposed to give it to the nursing home, he didn’t.....
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