One of the most important VA benefits for long-term care is Aid and Attendance. Aid and Attendance helps cover the cost of many different types of long-term care, including home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living and skilled nursing facility care.

About Long-term Care

There are basic activities that a person must be able to do each day to take care of themselves. These tasks are known as activities of daily living (ADLs). They include bathing, dressing, mobility, toileting and eating. When someone can no longer perform these activities due to chronic health conditions, cognitive impairments, or other disabilities, they will need long-term care. This type of care is non-medical. Long-term care can also include medical care in addition to help with ADLs.

Activities of Daily Living

There are five types of daily living activities: dressing, bathing, eating, toileting and transferring. When a person is unable to perform these activities, they can no longer take care of themselves and need long-term care.

Dressing – the ability to dress yourself, including buttoning, zippering, tying shoes.

Bathing – washing the body, getting in and out of a tub or shower, adjusting the shower head, changing water temperature.

Eating – the person can eat food on their own. People who need help with eating my need to be fed, or have the food cut up or pureed so it can be eaten. Someone may also need reminders to eat or eat healthy. It does not include cooking or meal preparation.

Toileting – getting to the toilet, cleaning up after using the toilet and getting up from the toilet.

Mobility (transferring) – the ability to move from one place to another, including getting up and down stairs, in and out of a bed or chair, or in and out of a vehicle.

Home Care

Long-term care at home is generally provided by family members, friends, or professional home caregiver. The person providing the care does not have to be licensed or certified.

Home health aides are a different type of home caregiver. They are specially trained to provide assistance with personal care and medical care such as administering medication and checking a person’s temperature and pulse.

In some situations, a person living at home will need skilled medical care, including different types of therapies, treatment, and on-going testing.   Skilled care is provided by registered nurse (RN), or licensed practical nurses (LPN), as well as licensed vocational nurses (LVN).

Adult Day Care

Another type of long-term care is adult day – community centers for seniors and adults with disabilities. Adult day care centers typically specialize in particular conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. The centers provide meals, activities, and programs for individuals who still live at home. Other services provided by adult day care centers include some types of medical care, medication management, physical therapy, and education.

Board & Care Homes

Board and care homes are also known as residential care homes and adult foster care homes. The services they provide are similar to an assisted living facility. The main difference is that board and care homes have a smaller number of residents. The services at a board and care home include meal preparation, help with activities of daily living, and medication management. Board and care homes are generally licensed and regulated by state agencies.

Assisted Living Facility

Many seniors who need help with daily living activities will transition from home to an assisted living facility.  Living spaces at an assisted living facility include single and shared rooms, or even small one and two-bedroom apartments.

In addition to ADL help, assisted living facilities proved meals, medication management, laundry, transportation, social activities and, in some places, basic medical services.  Staff provide 24 hour a day supervision.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities provide help to persons who need both ADL assistance and medical care. They are staffed with licensed health care professionals including RNs, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, licensed physical therapists, and a medical doctor who oversees the care.

In addition to ADL assistance, residence at a skilled nursing facility get help with medications, intravenous injections, catheters and feeding tubes. Pharmaceutical, laboratory and radiology services are also available at skilled nursing facility.

Aid and Attendance

The Aid and Attendance benefit can help a veteran or spouse pay for long-term care. The benefit is a reimbursement for care and does not need to be paid back.  It is also tax-free. Here are the monthly benefit amounts:

Surviving Spouse$1,318 Monthly ($15,816 Annually)
Single Veteran$2,050 Monthly ($24,610 Annually)
Married Veteran$2,431 Monthly ($29,175 Annually)
Two Vets Married$3,261 Monthly ($39,036 Annually)

To qualify for the benefit, the veteran must have served during an eligible period of war and received an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge.  The wartime periods are:

World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.

Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955

Vietnam era: The period beginning on February 28, 1961, to August 4, 1964, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam or on a ship off the coast of Vietnam. From August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975 for veterans who served anywhere in the world.

Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.

The spouse of a veteran must have been married to the veteran at the time of their passing and not remarried.

Other requirements including needing help with some of the activities of daily living. The veteran or spouse must also meet the VA’s financial criteria.

If you or a loved one are looking for information on VA benefits for long-term care, please contact one of our Benefit Consultants at 877-427-8065 today to find out more about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, or click here.

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