Senior budgets are part of the challenge of aging. For veterans, there’s good news from a recent article from U.S. News & World Report, “Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living,” that says some senior living companies are working to help veterans obtain benefits that can help with their costs.
Note that the VA won’t pay for a veteran’s rent in an assisted living facility. However, VA benefits may pay for some of the extra services required, like nursing assistance, help with bathing and toileting, and possibly meals.
There are a variety of benefits that may help, based on a veteran’s specific service history and eligibility. The most commonly used benefits are the Aid & Attendance Pension. Another common benefit is the Survivor’s Pension for spouses of a deceased veteran with wartime service.
The VA’s Aid & Attendance and Housebound program is part of the pension benefits paid to veterans and survivors. The VA says these benefits are paid, in addition to a monthly pension. A veteran must satisfy one of the potential conditions, including:
- Requiring the aid of another person to perform personal functions, like bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, or staying safe from hazards;
- Being disabled and bedridden, above what would be thought of as recovery from a course of treatment, such as surgery;
- Being a patient in a nursing home due to physical or mental incapacity; and
- Having very poor eyesight (5/200 corrected visual acuity or less in both eyes) or a field of vision limited to five degrees or less.
Veterans may qualify for these benefits, which are added to the standard monthly pension, when he or she is “substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability,” the VA says. Eligibility for the program is based on a case by case basis and involves a review by the VA.
Like any other government benefit, it’s important to start the application process early, rather than waiting until a crisis hits and benefits are critical. The goal is to maximize the use of the money saved, so that the individual can afford high-quality care for as long as possible, and the hope is that the VA benefits will help to do that. An experienced estate planning or elder law attorney who routinely works with veterans and their families will be an important resource.
Reference: U.S. News & World Report (August 12, 2019) “Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living”