Aid and Attendance
The Need for Aid and Attendance
Note: There are two different things that the VA refers to as “Aid and Attendance.” Please note that the A&A discussed here is only for veterans with service-connected disabilities. The VA also gives Aid and Attendance to veterans who receive pensions. That A&A is similar, but does have significant differences than the one described here.
A veteran qualifies for Aid and Attendance if they require the help of another person every day to perform the following tasks:
- Dressing and undressing
- Bathing and grooming
- Using the restroom
- Adjusting prosthetic or orthopedic appliances frequently. A veteran only qualifies for this if they are unable to adjust an appliance that most people could adjust on their own.
Another person does not need to be with the veteran at all times for them to qualify. They just have to be unable to perform the majority of the above activities without help every day.
A veteran can also qualify if:
- Their disability, physical or mental, requires that another person regularly care for them to keep them from harming themselves or others, intentionally or accidentally.
- They are bedridden. This means that their condition is severe enough that it requires them to always be in bed. They do not qualify if they choose to remain in bed or if a physician prescribes a period of bed rest. It is also not enough for the veteran to just have to be in bed. To qualify for this special monthly compensation, they must also need the regular aid and attendance of another person.
Special Monthly Compensation for Aid and Attendance
There are two different Special Monthly Compensation categories that compensate for Aid and Attendance: Category L and Category R.
Category L compensates for all cases that meet the above requirements for A&A.
Category R requires a number of additional circumstances in order for the veteran to qualify.
To qualify for Category R, a veteran must meet the above requirements for A&A and one of the following:
- qualify under Category O
- qualify under Categories N ½ and K together
In order to receive any type of Aid and Attendance, whether SMC-L or SMC-R, a veteran must submit VA Form 21-2680 that has been completed by their physician to show proof of the need for Aid and Attendance.
What is Aid and Attendance?
Aid and Attendance is a type of Special Monthly Compensation given by the VA to veterans who need daily assistance from another person because of their service-connected conditions.
Am I eligible for Aid and Attendance?
To qualify for A&A, you must require the daily assistance of another person to help you perform the tasks of daily living.
How do I apply for A&A?
To apply, you must submit VA Form 21-2680 that has been completed by your physician, showing proof of your need for assistance.
Do I qualify for A&A if I need supervision because of my mental disorder?
Yes. If you need regular supervision to keep you from harming yourself or another person, you qualify.
Is A&A permanent?
No. If you are hospitalized or your conditions improve enough that you no longer need daily assistance, you will no longer qualify.
How long does it take to receive my A&A benefits?
You will receive your first payment within 1-2 months after your claim has been determined.
How much money will I receive for my Aid and Attendance?
It depends on which Special Monthly Compensation category you qualify for. Once you know your category, you can find the current rates on our Special Monthly Compensation Rates Table page.
Why does my doctor need to complete the form?
The VA must have proof that your need for assistance is specifically because of your service-connected conditions. To this end, your physician's testimony is essential.