More than one-third of Americans over 65 are either wartime veterans or are married to one. Many veteran families may not realize the benefits available to them to help offset the cost of senior care.
Less than 10 percent of those who qualify apply for Veterans Aid & Attendance use the benefit, which can be used to help pay for in-home care, board and care, assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities. This is because many veterans either are not informed or do not understand the benefits available to them.
It’s actually easier to qualify than you think. Many people easily qualify even without the slightest suspicion that they would. We are here to clear up the common misconceptions of veterans benefits for assisted living to ensure that every veteran has the opportunity to the benefits they have earned.
What are Veterans Benefits for Senior Living?
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit helps qualifying Veterans or their surviving spouses pay for in-home care or some form of assisted living/memory care in a retirement community. The program is referred to as Aid and Attendance and sometimes called “VA assisted living benefit” or “veterans eldercare benefit”. Thousands of families receive veterans benefits for assisted living from this pension program to help pay for quality care that they could not afford otherwise. If you qualify for Aid and Attendance, you will receive an additional monthly payment above the normal pension amount.
Who is Eligible for Veterans Benefits?
Any veteran, spouse, or family member of a veteran should explore Aid and Attendance. Veterans benefits for assisted living are needs-based and in order to be eligible, the veteran must meet the following criteria:
- Serve a minimum of 90 days in the service, and serve one day during wartime. This doesn’t mean you had to be on the frontlines, overseas, or in battle. Only that one day was during wartime which includes:
- World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
- Gulf War: January 16, 1991 – February 28, 1991
- Have less than $10,000 in assets. It is important to note that there are VA compliant investments that the VA doesn’t take into consideration, including the value of your home and vehicles. Also, there is no look-back period, which means that moving money before applying is an option to meet this requirement.
- Your “countable” family income has to be less than your medical expenditures at the new assisted living community. For most people, this is an easy criterion to meet if you’re retired and your income is low.
- In need of at least two activities of daily living to be taken care of at the community, such as bathing assistance, transferring, dressing, continence management or medication management. This means that if you’re completely independent, it might be more difficult to qualify for benefits.
Spouses of veterans or surviving spouses can also be eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits if they meet the following criteria:
- In need of at least two activities of daily living to be taken care of at the community.
- The claimant is bedridden, legally blind, or in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity.
In the case of a spouse, there must be no divorce or remarriage in order to qualify for benefits.
Veterans Benefit Amounts
The amount awarded depends on the income of the applicant and the costs of care. The maximum monthly rates are as follows: