Veterans Benefit Can Pay for Assisted Living

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Paying for senior care and senior living arrangements can be a concern for anyone nearing retirement age or living on a retirement income. But veterans may be pleasantly surprised to learn about a little-known benefit that can help pay for assisted living, a nursing home stay or even in-home care.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit (A&A). The benefit, which is quite hefty, may cover some or all of assisted living or nursing home costs. A veteran and spouse is entitled to up to $2,019 monthly, while the widow of a veteran can get up to $1,094.

In addition to paying for nursing home or assisted living costs, the benefit can be used to pay for in-home caregivers, even if a family member, such as a son or daughter, is caring for the disabled veteran or their spouse. The only people not qualified to get paid through the benefit are spouses.

“I’m a Veteran; Do I Qualify?”
This benefit may sound too good to be true, but the only catch is that many VA employees don’t know about it in order to tell qualifying veterans.

To qualify, you must already qualify for the basic VA pension, and you must classify as “totally disa-bled,” by the VA guidelines. However, as soon as a veteran turns 65, the VA classifies that person as “totally disabled.” Essentially, if you are 65 or over, and are already collecting the basic pension, you are also eligible for these additional funds.

The other stipulations? You must have clocked at least one day out of 90 (the minimum days of service required) during a time of war. And, of course, you must require caregiving, either in-home or in an assisted living or nursing home facility, for activities of daily living (known in the industry as ADL.)

What Could You Do With More Than $2,000 a Month?
For many veterans, learning about this benefit could tip the scales if they are on the fence about mov-ing to an assisted living community or a nursing home. If a veteran is under the age of 65, it might in-fluence their decision to enter a Continuing Care Retirement Community with both independent and assisted living options. If, at any point after that person turns 65, they need assisted living, this benefit can cover those expenses.

It can also be used for respite care if a veteran’s spouse needs a temporary break from caregiving. It can be used to bring a part-time or full-time professional caregiver into the home. Or it can be used to help out a son, daughter or other relative who is caring for an aging parent. It may help cover travel costs, or bridge the gap in income if a relative must quit their job or reduce their work hours to care for a parent who needs assisted with ADLs. In essence, this substantial sum of money can make caring for an aging relative financially easier.

How Do I Sign Up?
Although media coverage is helping get the word out about the A&A benefit, there’s still a good chance the representatives at your local Department of Veteran Affairs may not have heard of it. To learn more, go to VeteranAid.org, a Web site and a 501(c)(3) charity, which was set up to educate aging veterans about this helpful benefit.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 662-0435 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.