The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers some funding programs that can help offset the cost of some types of long-term care.
U.S. News & World Report’s recent article, “Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living,” explains that many senior living companies try to help many veterans maximize their long-term care benefits, which in some cases can significantly reduce the cost of senior living.
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 long-term benefits that may help, based on a vet’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 long-term care benefits are paid, in addition to monthly pension. A vet 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.
Vets may qualify for these long-term care 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.
It’s important to begin the application process early, rather than waiting for a crisis to occur. Ask an experienced estate planning or elder law attorney to help you and to discuss your long-term care options.
Reference: U.S. News & World Report (August 12, 2019) “Veteran Benefits for Assisted Living”