Are you a senior veteran or spouse who needs help with personal care? Veterans Administration elder care benefits include a special type of pension called Aid and Attendance, which can cover the cost of home care, board and care, or an assisted living/skilled nursing facility.
VA Elder Care Services
There are millions of American military veterans who are 65 years of age or older. Many experience health and financial issues that impact the quality of their life.
The VA provides senior veterans with different types of benefits, such as health care, disability compensation and pensions.
VA Health Care
Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system receive regular medical checkups with doctors and specialists. You can also get prescriptions, medical equipment. and prosthetics. Hospital-based services include emergency care, radiology surgery and physical therapy.
The VA Healthcare system is owned and operated by the Veterans Administration. This program is separate from the U.S. Department of Defense military health care system.
The Veterans Administration provides a tax-free monthly monetary benefit to veterans who were injured or got sick while serving in the military (also referred to as a service-connected injury or illness).
The VA also provides compensation for mental health conditions like PTSD. To qualify, the veteran must have served on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training and have a current illness or injury that affects their body or mind. The sickness or injury must have occurred:
- while serving in the military, or
- the veteran had the illness or injury before serving in the military and serving made it worse
- the illness or injury didn’t appear until after the service period.
With some illnesses like hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes, if the disease appeared within a year after service, the veteran may also be eligible for benefits.
A pension is a monthly monetary benefit paid to veterans and spouses who are low income or need long-term care. To qualify for a pension the veteran must be 65 years of age or older, with service during a war era.
A VA Basic Pension is a monthly monetary benefit paid for low-income veterans. A surviving spouse may also be eligible for this benefit.
Aid and Attendance
Veterans and spouses who need who need assistance with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and mobility, may qualify for a special long-term care benefit called Aid and Attendance.
To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, the veteran must have served 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war. The war dates established by Congress are:
World War II – December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era – February 28, 1961 to August 4, 1964 for veterans who served in Vietnam (boots on the ground) or on a ship of the coast of Vietnam. Also, August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in Vietnam, on a ship off the coast of Vietnam, or anyplace else in the world.
Gulf War –Beginning August 2, 1990 to a date that will eventually be set by law or presidential proclamation.
The veteran must also have received an honorable discharge or anything other than dishonorable discharge. An honorable discharge means the veteran was released from military duty after having satisfactorily completed their obligations.
A veteran or surviving spouse may still be able to qualify for Aid and Attendance if the veteran received a general discharge, other than honorable discharge or, in some situations, a bad conduct discharge. However, veterans who were dishonorably discharged from the military are not eligible for this benefit.
To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, the veteran must be at least 65 years of age or older; or have a total and permanent disability; or is a patient in long-term care nursing home due to his or her disability; or is getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
A surviving spouse can be any age.
There are no marital requirements for the veteran. However, a spouse applying for Aid and Attendance must have been married to the veteran for at least 1 year and married at the time of his or her passing, and never remarried.
Need of Care Requirements
Another eligibility requirement is needing help with two out of the five types of daily living activities. These tasks include:
- Dressing – assistance with buttoning, zippering, tying shoes, putting clothes on or taking them off, reminders to change clothes, help picking out cloths or reaching into the closet to get clothes.
- Bathing – any help with bathing, such as adjusting the water temperature or shower head, handing someone a tall, stand-by assistance as needed or even reminders to bath.
- Eating – feeding someone (transferring food from plate to mouth) or reminding someone to eat or eat healthy
- Toileting – help with incontinence or getting in/out of the bathroom or on/off the toilet
- Mobility – help moving from place to place, such as up and down stairs, in/out of a bed or chair, or in and out of a vehicle.
Medication management, transportation, housekeeping and meal preparation are not recognized by the VA as Activities of Daily Living.
Income and Assets
The VA also has very specific Aid and Attendance requirements regarding income and assets. To find out more about VA Aid and Attendance financial criteria, contact one of our Benefit Consultants today at 877-427-8065.
There are different benefit amounts for veterans and spouses depending on their marital status.
- Single Veteran – eligible for up to $1,936 per month
- Married Veteran – up to $2,295 per month
- Two Married Veterans – a maximum of $3,071 per month
- Surviving Spouse – up to $1,244 per month
If you would like to find out more about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, please give us a call today at 877-427-8065 or click here.