I am so thankful for veterans who serve in our military. I am grateful to all the spouses, family and friends of those who serve: these folks make sacrifices too. As our veterans age, many are unaware that they are entitled to benefits that can help pay for Home Care.
The Department of Veterans Affairs benefit called the Aid and Attendance Housebound Improved Pension benefit can cover the cost of caregivers in the home. This benefit is not insignificant: up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.
Right now millions of veterans qualify for caregiver service benefits but are unaware that this financial assistance is available to them. Home Care services that are awarded include assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, mobility, meals, medication reminders and other homemaker assistance. Additionally, Home Care services to help veterans, their spouses, or surviving spouses who have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's are also included.
What Are The Service Requirements?
Veterans who are at least 65 years old who served during war time (not necessarily in combat) and only have to have clocked at least one day of the 90-day minimum military service during a time of war. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans.
A doctor recommendation that includes a signed and completed VA form that lists the diagnosis along with the details on assistance required at home.
The dates that the VA considers wartime are:
World War II12/7/1941 through 12/31/1946
Korean Conflict6/27/1950 through 1/31/1955
Vietnam War8/5/1964 through 5/7/1975
*those that served in Vietnam "in the country" as early as 2/28/1961 may also qualify.
Gulf War8/2/1990 date to be determined by U.S. government
Applying can be confusing and laborious. If you search the Veterans Affairs web site for Aid and Attendance, the first page states that you are not eligible for this benefit unless you already qualify for a basic Veterans Affairs pension for which you have to be "totally disabled." Most people don't know that when wartime veterans turn 65, the VA automatically classifies them as "totally disabled,"
Three Tiers of VA Benefits & Pensions
Basic Pension: The basic pension is designed to function as cash assistance for low income veterans and their dependents. Applicants may be healthy but must have a very low income.
Housebound Benefit: Housebound assistance with a caregiver assisting with activities of daily living must be needed on a "regular basis."
Aid & Attendance: Home Care assistance with a caregiver assisting with activities of daily living must be required on a "daily basis."
Assistance from the VA is granted to people who seem to genuinely need these benefits. The benefits are determined base on the applicant's income, assets, and needs. Applicants whose countable incomes are over the maximum thresholds, including their homes, may still qualify, depending on their age and the amount of monthly allowable medical benefits. It can't hurt to apply as decisions are largely made on a case-by-case basis.
You may be approached or find information that certain financial advisors or other professionals can "guarantee" approval for this pension. No matter how tempting, do not pay for assistance. the department forbids anyone to charge to help veterans fill out these challenging forms. The VA may disqualify certain applicants if they have paid a professional for assistance in applying for the program.
Keep in mind it can take a long time for the application process to be completed. In some cases it can take several months for the VA to approve someone for the Aid and Attendance Benefit. The sooner you apply the sooner it will be approved.
How Do I Apply?
To determine eligibility call the VA's Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222-VETS, or go to www.veteranaid.org
Serving in the military comes with its own set of challenges and sometimes those that served us so honorably and made sacrifices for us, feel abandoned and ignored. There are more than 67,000 homeless veterans in America. If you know someone who served our country and needs Home Care assistance, encourage them to contact a Veterans Benefits Office to see if they qualify for the Aid & Attendance benefits.
If you are finding it difficult to juggle it all - work, family, errands and other demands that often leave you over taxed. Where do you turn when a loved ones needs are more than you can manage on your own? What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution? We understand, in fact, we have been there.
Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality care, Easy Living Services. Offering flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, companionship, personal care and attention to your loved one at home. Call us at 770-442-8664.
For more information on caregiver assistance at home go to our website at: www.easylivingservices.com go to our blog on How Can Home Care Help?