World War II began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. It was a global war fought on four continents: Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.
The U.S. entered the war following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Approximately 16 million Americans served during the war, with an average duration of service of 33 months.
In 2016, the number of living World War II veterans was 620,000 (US Department of Veterans Affairs). Most World War II veterans are now in their 90s.
World War II Vets and Long-Term Care
According to the US Census Bureau, almost all people age 90 and older have at least one physical limitation that affects their ability to live independently, such as:
- Running errands – visiting a doctor’s office or shopping (68%)
- Walking or climbing stairs (66%)
- Dressing or bathing (43%)
- Hearing (43%)
- Seeing (26%)
The percentage of seniors age 90 to 94 with disabilities is 13% higher than individuals aged 85 to 89. Many people in their 90s still live alone or in a home with family members or other individuals. Approximately 20% of 90 to 94 year olds reside in a care facility.
World War II Veterans Home Care
Aging in place is a common goal for most seniors. World War II veterans with chronic illnesses, physical difficulties and cognitive impairments who want to remain at home will often need home care. Types of home care include assistance with daily living activities (bathing, dressing, feeding, toileting and transferring), as well as household chores, meal preparation and errands. When medical care is needed (home health care), it is usually provided by licensed health care professionals such as registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN) or licensed vocational nurses (LVN).
Adult day care center programs and services can also help aging veterans remain in their community for a longer period of time. Adult day care provides a safe and supervised environment for individuals who need medical and non-medical support. An adult day care center is also a place where seniors can go to socialize and participate in recreational activities.
World War II Veterans and Assisted Living
Another option for World War II veterans who need care is an assisted living facility (ALF). An ALF is a type of residential community for seniors who can no longer live at home. ALFs offer a protected environment with 24/7 supervision and help with daily living activities. Residents live in a single or shared unit, and can participate in various social and recreational programs. Some ALFs have memory care units for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Similar services are available at a board and care home. Most board and care homes have less than 20 residents. In addition to home-like living accommodations, a board and care home provides meals, housekeeping, laundry, medication management, social activities and help with personal care.
Skilled Nursing Care for World War II Veterans
World War II veterans with serious illnesses or complex health conditions can get long-term medical care at a skilled nursing facility (SNF). The staff at a skilled nursing facility includes licensed medical professionals as well as personal care aids. SNFs are usually state certified and must adhere to various regulations regarding resident care and facility management.
Residents at a skilled nursing facility live in private or shared rooms. Along with medical assistance, SNFs offer around-the-clock supervision, as well as meals, social and recreational activities, and help with personal care.
VA World War II Benefits
World War II veterans who need long-term care and are enrolled in the VA health care system may qualify for a home health aide, adult day health care or admission to a skilled nursing home. Eligibility for these types of services is usually based on the veteran’s service-connected disability status.
A service-connected disability is a disability that resulted from (or is related to) active military service. Veterans with service-connected disabilities have a 0% to 100% disability rating depending on how the disability impacts their daily life.
Other requirements for VA health care benefits include having a clinical need for the service. VA medical benefits do not cover room and board in an assisted living facility or board and care home.
In addition to health benefits, the VA provides pensions to low-income veterans who are age 65 or older, totally and permanently disabled, or living in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, or receiving social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
To qualify for a VA pension, WWII veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during the WWII eligible wartime period which, under current law, is December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946. Eligibility requirements also include a honorable discharge or other than dishonorable discharge.
Members of special World War II groups who have met the active duty requirements may qualify for a VA pension as well, such as (partial list):
- Merchant Marines (December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945)
- US Coast Guard
- Women Air Force Service Pilots
- Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps
- Wake Island defenders of Guam
- Guam Combat Patrol
- Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during WWII
- US merchant seamen who served on block ships in support of Operation Mulberry in the WWII invasion of Normandy
- US civilian employees of American Airlines who served overseas in contract with the Air Trans port Command between 12/14/41 and 8/14/45
- Civilian employees of Pacific naval air bases who actively participated in the defense of Wake Island during WWII
- Recipients of the Medal of Honor
- Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence
- Civilian crewmen of certain US Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels between 12/7/41 and 8/15/45
- Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) who served between 12/7/41 and 8/14/45
- US civilian flight crew and aviation ground support of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. who served overseas between 12/14/41 and 8/14/45
- Honorably discharged members of the Alaska Territorial Guard
Aid & Attendance Pension for World War II Veterans
World War II veterans, their spouses and surviving spouses who need the help of another individual to perform daily living activities like bathing, dressing and transferring may also qualify for an enhanced pension called Aid & Attendance.
The Aid & Attendance pension is a tax-free reimbursement for home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities that pays up to $2,846 per month. It is a lifetime benefit that helps cover the cost of long-term care.
To find out more about the Aid & Attendance benefit for World War II veterans, call us today at 877-427-8065 and ask to speak to a benefit consultant.