Veterans Home Care Program

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Aging former US service members can remain at home longer with the help of a special veterans home care program. This program, called Aid and Attendance, provides financial assistance to cover the cost of a caregiver.

To qualify for this special program, the veteran must need help with at least two daily living tasks:

  1. Bathing – help with any aspect of bathing or showering
  2. ; also grooming, oral care and nail care.
  3. Dressing – assistance with putting clothes on, taking them off; buttoning, zippering, help picking out clothing.
  4. Eating – cutting up food or feeding.
  5. Toileting – help on or off the toilet. Also includes assistance with incontinence.
  6. Mobility/transferring – help standing from a sitting position, getting in and out of bed walking from one spot to another. Help getting up and down stairs or in/out of a vehicle.

There are also military service requirements. The veteran must have:

  • Entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active military duty, with at least 1 day during an eligible period of war, or
  • Entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period the person was called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least 1 day during an eligible wartime period, or
  • Been an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981 and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months.
  • Received an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge.

According to Congress, these eligible wartime periods include:

  • World War II – December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946
  • Korean conflict – June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War era – November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period (boots on the ground). August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served outside of the Republic of Vietnam.
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

More about aging in place

When an aging adult wants to continue living at home instead of moving to a care facility, it is called “aging in place.” 

Staying at home longer can have many benefits. The environment is often healthier, safer and more comfortable with less stress. Living at home also makes it easier to stay connected to family and friends. Seniors who live at home also feel more independent.

About home caregivers

The Aid and Attendance benefit allows you to hire your own home caregiver. The caregiver can be a family member (except the spouse), friend or professional caregiver. The caregiving does not need to be certified or licensed and does not have to live with the veteran.

Types of home caregivers include:

  • Personal assistant (sitter). A family member (except the spouse), neighbor or friend who provides companionship, help with daily living activities and other assistance as needed.
  • Home health aides from agencies, who provide assistance with daily living tasks. Depending on the agency, they can also help with meal preparation, providing transportation, running errands, and light household chores. Home health aides are usually supervised by a licensed medical professional. These days, the rate of pay for a home health aide ranges from $30 to $40 an hour.
  • Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNA) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). These are professionals who provide medical care like taking vital signs, wound care, cleaning catheters and monitoring infections. Some licensed professionals provide certain types of medical treatment.

How to hire a caregiver

Finding the right caregiver to meet your specific needs is important. Here are some ways to find qualified in-home care:

  1. Senior centers
  2. Churches
  3. Area Agency on Aging
  4. Craig’s List
  5. Referrals from family members and friends
  6. Referrals from doctors and other health care professionals
  7. Licensed caregiver agencies

Here are some things to consider when hiring a caregiver:

Services: Assess your needs. Create a list of all the services you would like your caregiver to provide such meal preparation, transportation, errands, medication management, housecleaning, companionship and help with daily living activities.

Background check: Screen candidates. Find out as much as you can about the caregiver’s background, including employment history. Check any references. Confirm training and any credentials. Check credit reports and obtain DMV records.

Create a Caregiver Service Agreement: Having a written agreement with your caregiver is important. It should include the start date, the services being provided, the work schedule, vacation days and cost of care, and expectations.  Other things that can be added include how payments are handled and a cancellation policy. Make sure two copies of the agreement are signed, one for the caregiver and the other for the employer.

If you are working with an agency, find out how long they have been in business. Check with the Better Business Bureau, Yelp and other review sites for any complaints. Make sure the agency will be responsible for bonds, taxes and insurance. Also find out about the replacement policy if your caregiver gets sick or quits.

If you hire someone on your own, your state may require specific legal documentation for tax purposes.

Get more information on the Aid and Attendance Benefit To find out more about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, contact a Benefit Consultant today at 877-427-8065 or click here.  You will get expert advice on how the benefit and claim process works, along with more detailed information on benefit requirements and qualifications.

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