Senior veterans and their spouses can get a special Veterans Administration benefit called Aid and Attendance to help cover caregiving expenses at home or in a long-term care facility. It is a tax-free, reimbursement for personal care. The maximum Aid and Attendance amount for a single veteran is $1,936 per month. Married veterans can receive as much as $2,295 per month. The benefit is even higher for two married veterans.
The surviving spouse of a veteran can also receive Aid and Attendance if the spouse was married to the veteran when he or she passed. The benefit maximum for a surviving spouse is $1,244 per month.
With Aid and Attendance, aging veterans and spouses with increasing care needs can stay at home longer before transitioning to a care facility. Home care can be provided by a family member, friend or professional caregiver. The person providing the care does not need to be licensed.
After a claim is approved, the Aid and Attendance benefit is paid monthly for the lifetime of the claimant and does not need to be paid back.
Home Care and Daily Living Activities
Veterans or spouses who need help with some of the activities of daily living can often receive this care in the comfort of their own home.
Daily living activities are basic, non-medical personal tasks, such as dressing, bathing, eating, toileting and transferring (moving from one place to another).
Help with dressing includes assistance picking out clothes, getting clothes out of a dresser or closet, putting clothes on or taking them off, buttoning and zippering.
Bathing assistance can include help adjusting the shower head or water temperature, getting in or out of a tub or shower, washing and/or drying.
Someone who needs help with transferring will often need assistance moving to or from bed, chair, wheelchair or standing position, going up and down stairs, or getting in or out of a vehicle.
Help with eating – transferring the food from plate to mouth or cutting it up into small pieces – is another type of personal care.
A veteran or spouse may also need assistance with toileting – getting to the bathroom and help on or off the toilet.
To qualify for the benefit, the veteran or spouse must need help with at least two out of these five types of personal tasks, including stand-by assistance.
Transportation, meal preparation, laundry housekeeping, errands and medication management are not part of this essential group of personal care activities.
Home Care Agencies vs. Private Caregivers
Because the Aid and Attendance benefit is a reimbursement for care, the veteran or spouse must find and pay for their own caregiver.
These days, the average cost of care is around $25 an hour. Home care agencies typically charge more than independent caregivers.
Home care agencies will typically screen applicants applying for work as a caregiver. They will also provide additional training as needed. needed. Some home care agencies are state licensed. The agency will also handle payroll, taxes and other employment -related issues.
Here are some tips when hiring a caregiver through an agency:
- Arrange to meet the caregiver before starting the service.
- When you interview the caregiver, make sure he or she meets all of your needs.
- Find out if the caregiver is bonded and insured.
- Ask if there are a minimum number of hours per shift.
- Find out about backup if the caregiver can’t show up for work.
- Find out if you can call the agency at any time.
Other Aid and Attendance Requirements
In addition to needing help with personal care, the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during an eligible war-time period.
These are the war-time dates established by Congress for World War II, Korean Conflict and Vietnam veterans:
World War II – December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict / Korean War – June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era / Vietnam Veteran – February 28, 1961 to August 4, 1964 for veterans who served in Vietnam or on a ship of the coast of Vietnam. August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 for veterans who served anywhere in the world.
Another requirement is that the veteran received an honorable, or anything other than dishonorable discharge.
The veteran must also be at least 65 years of age to qualify for this benefit. A Surviving spouse can be any age.
Additional rules for a surviving spouse including having been married to the veteran for at least a year and married to the veteran at the time of his or her passing and never remarried.
The VA also has strict income and asset criteria. This is one of the most confusing aspects of Aid and Attendance benefit requirements. If you or a loved one need help with personal care, and the veteran served during an eligible wartime period, call us today to find out more about the VA’s Aid and Attendance financial requirements.
Are you a disabled veteran?
If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability, you may be eligible for additional Aid and Attendance depending on your service-connected disability rating and payment amount. In most cases, the VA will pay the higher of the two benefit amounts. The VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit is one of the best ways to help pay for home care but navigating the system can be difficult. Give us a call now at 877-427-8065 or click here to find out more about the benefit and how to help cover the cost of long-term care.