Veterans’ benefits, as they apply to assisted living and long-term care, are a largely misunderstood benefit. You may qualify to receive support if you are a U.S. veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran. Here is some information to help answer any questions you have about Veteran’s Benefits.
WHAT ARE VETERANS BENEFITS?
Veteran’s benefits are also commonly known as Aid and Attendance. Aid and Attendance may be available to veterans upon retirement as part of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ (VA) disability pension, or to the surviving spouse of a veteran as part of the VA’s death pension. Aid and Attendance refers to the fact that for this particular pension benefit, the claimant must demonstrate a regular need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver or the need to live in a protected environment because of physical or mental impairment. This benefit is most commonly available to residents in an assisted living community, a skilled nursing community or recipients of home health care.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR VETERANS BENEFITS?
The VA considers offering Pension benefits to Veterans (or Surviving Spouses of Veterans) if the Veteran:
- Received discharge from service under any condition other than dishonorable AND
- Served at least 90 days of active military service, one day of which was during a war-time period AND
- (Or Surviving Spouse) is age 65 or older, OR, is permanently and totally disabled AND
- Total countable family income is below an annual limit set by law (most medical or care expenses including Nursing Home, Assisted Living and Home Care will reduce net countable income if you qualify medically).
HOW MUCH DO VETERANS BENEFITS PAY FOR?
For 2009, the maximum annual benefit for those qualifying for the Aid & Attendance level of pension is:
- Surviving Spouse of a Veteran:$12,681
- Veteran with no Spouse or dependent children:$19,736
- A married Veteran where the Veteran requires care:$23,396
- If the Veteran is healthy, but their Spouse requires care, then the Veteran qualifies for a regular pension only:$15,493
Net worth is also a factor in determining eligibility, however, there is no specific dollar amount designated as excessive (some assets are exempt from the net worth determination).
HOW DO I FIND AN ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY?
Call your local Care Advisor at (866) 510-9738 if you would like to learn more about assisted living communities and how to pay for your family member’s senior living expenses. Your Care Advisor will also be able to help you find an assisted living community or senior care community in your area that will meet your level of care needs and your monthly budget, all at no cost to you!