The Benefit of Veterans Programs
12 million American veterans over 65 that served during a time of a foreign war. This makes them eligible for care assistance. My 87 year old fater in law receives over $600 per month and that goes a long way in defraying the total cost of his care.
It is highly possible that your loved one may meet the eligibility for veteran administration programs as well. It is a "needs based program" that looks at a person’s assets and income to determine eligibility. It is a very viable option for seniors whose family is supporting them financially but would welcome financial assistance. In our case, we were able to get the paperwork done within a few months. Had I not been in the business of caring for seniors, I probably would have never known about the programs.
Types of Benefit Programs for Veterans
There are two programs offered - Aid & Attendance and Homebound - which have care need,, military service, and financial requirements that demonstrate need. These two programs are actually additional benefits to a VA pension and have their own set of eligibility criteria. To qualify, the individual had to serve at least 90 days of active duty, with one of those days being during active wartime. The recipient must then also fit one of the following criteria:
Be age 65 or older with limited or no income
Be totally and permanently disabled
Be a patient in a nursing home
Be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance
Be receiving Supplemental Security Income
Aid & Attendance Program
According to the VA your loved one (or their spouse) must have served during a time of foreign war and have the following needs:
Your loved one requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting his or herself from the hazards of your daily environment
They are bedridden, in that their disability or disabilities requires that they remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
They are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
Their eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
This applies when your parent is substantially confined to their immediate premises because of a permanent disability.
How to Get Started
The process is paperwork intensive but considering the value, it's well worth exploring. There are companies that charge you for filing the paperwork (in our case they wanted $1,000 up front), but it's not that difficult. You have to pull together most of the supporting paperwork anyway.
The simplest way to get the ball rolling is to call the VA’s Pension phone number listed below and begin the conversation. You should be able to get a sense of the financial requirements such as income level and assets to see if you are in the ballpark. The best thing is that benefits start based upon one’s eligibility date based upon the paperwork submitted. You may have to wait several months before you get final approval but they will send you an initial check with previous month’s benefits back to the date of eligibility. If you need additional outside assistance it is available for free from any one of the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) such as the American Legion, American Red Cross, etc. which are listed here.
VA Pension Phone Number 1-800-827-1000