Many people overlook this possible way to pay for elder care. Not only does the veteran possibly qualify, so does the spouse. Below is some information but the quickest way to find out if your loved one qualifies if to get the DD-214 (discharge paper) of the veteran and call your local Veteran’s Service Officer. He/she is usually located in the county seat.
Below is some information I have taken from the internet to help you.
Veterans who are at least 65 years-old and who served during war time (though not necessarily in actual combat) may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) that can be used to help pay for care. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans are also often eligible. Veteran’s benefits can make all the difference for families who struggling to pay for care.
*Veterans who are under 65 but rated 100% disabled can also qualify for the VA Pension described in the article.
When you had to serve:
The foremost eligibility requirement is the service requirement. The veteran must have served at least 1 day during wartime. The dates that the VA considers wartime are below:
World War II:12/7/1941 through 12/31/1946
Korean Conflict:6/27/1950 through 1/31/1955
Vietnam War: 8/5/1964 through 5/7/1975, although veterans who served in Vietnam itself (“in country”) as early as 2/28/1961 may also qualify.
Gulf War: 8/2/1990 to date to be determined by U.S. government
These dates can be found on your DD-214
Three different types of help:
There are three tiers of VA benefits for older wartime veterans and their dependents. Basic Pension can be considered the first tier, Housebound the second tier, and Aid and Attendance the third tier. Award amounts increase as the tier increases, and the tiers are based on the needs of the applicant:
- Basic Pension: Basic Pension is designed to function as cash assistance for low income veterans and their dependents, so applicants may be healthy, but must have a very low income.
- Housebound Benefit: For the second tier, Housebound, assistance with day to day activities must be needed “regular basis.”
- Aid and Attendance: Assistance must be required on a “daily basis.”
Depending on the veteran’s care needs and financial status, Aid and Attendance can provide $2,000 or more towards the cost of assisted living or other types of senior care. Even surviving spouses of wartime veterans may qualify for related benefits. Considering the relatively high cost of senior care, the benefit can be a godsend for families and seniors who would have had great difficulty affording senior care otherwise.
Assistance from the VA is “means tested,” which means that only people who seem to genuinely need these benefits will receive an award. It also means that benefits are determined based on the applicant’s income, assets, and needs.
Applicants whose countable incomes are over maximum thresholds, including their homes, may still qualify, depending on their age and the amount of their monthly allowable medical benefit. In situations that are borderline, it can’t hurt to apply, as decisions are largely made on a case-by-case basis:
I found this very confusing but my veteran’s service officer was very helpful.
Where to go to apply:
To apply for VA health care or determine eligibility, contact a Veterans Benefits Office or VA health care facility (find the nearest location at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).