Veterans Day is observed on November 11. There are currently over 21 million veterans living in the United States, and many of them are unaware of the senior living benefits that are available to them through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Here are a few things that all veterans should know about senior living benefits.
Available VA Benefits
Veterans must be enrolled in VA health care before they can receive benefits. VA benefits are available to veterans and their dependents. Veterans who need in-home care can obtain an Aid and Attendance pension of up to $25,000, depending on how many dependents the veteran has and on their annual income.
Other types of long-term care benefits are also available for veterans through the VA. These types of benefits can be used to pay for in-home care or to cover the cost of an assisted living community. Veterans can use these benefits to help pay for help with daily tasks or for help managing an illness. The amount given to each veteran depends on the individual’s needs and circumstances.
Qualifying for VA Benefits
VA benefits are based on income and eligibility. All seniors (people over the age of 65) who have served in the military for at least one day during the time of war qualify for VA benefits. Veterans must also be labeled as “totally disabled” in order to receive VA benefits. All wartime veterans over the age of 65 are automatically labeled “totally disabled”, thus making them eligible for VA benefits.
The Application Process
Before seniors can receive VA benefits, the form VA Form 21-2680 needs to be filled out and a physician’s report is also needed. A good first step to take in the application process is to find someone who can help you through the application process, which can be confusing at times. Contact your local VA office and find a helpful person or consult the National Care Planning Council for advice on the process. They have excellent resources to help senior veterans find out more information on getting their VA benefits.
Using Medicaid to Help Pay for Care
Senior veterans may be eligible for both Medicaid and VA benefits, making it even easier to pay for long-term care and other senior living needs. In order to receive Medicaid long-term care benefits, the veteran must be living in an assisted living community, in a nursing home, or they must have a medical or physical need for in-home care. Income restrictions for Medicaid are extremely strict. They vary by state, by a veteran’s marital status, and by how many dependents a veteran has. Your financial records over the last five years will be looked at before you can qualify. If a veteran’s spouse does not plan on entering into assisted living or getting in-home care at the same time as the veteran, the spouse should be aware that, if the veteran passes away, a large portion of the assets that they kept may end up being transferred to the state in order to help pay back the cost of the veteran’s care.
To apply for Medicaid benefits, contact your local Medicaid office. You can also speak with a Medicaid planning expert or visit your local VA office and ask for more information and help with the process.