Honoring Our Aging Veterans – Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit

Veterans and Veteran’s Widows May Qualify for this Little-Known Benefit to Help Pay the Cost of Assisted Living or In-Home Health Care.

For many veterans the rising cost of assisted living or home health care can be staggering, causing their life savings to be diminished paying for health care as they age.  There is a Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit that can help you get the care you need without using up your retirement savings.

VA benefits provide for a range of long-term services including residential care, adult day health care, geriatric evaluation, as well as respite care.  Nursing home benefits may be provided if specific qualifications are met. The following long-term care services are available to all enrolled Veterans.

Geriatric Evaluation

A comprehensive assessment of a veteran’s ability to care for him/herself, physical health, and environment, which leads to a specific plan of care

Adult Day Health Care

The adult day health care program provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a therapeutic day care program, providing medical and rehabilitation services to disabled veterans in a combined setting.

Respite Care

Provides supportive care to veterans on a short-term basis giving the caregiver a planned period of relief from the physical and emotional demands associated with providing care. Respite care can be provided in the home or other non-institutional settings

Home Care

Skilled home care is provided by VA and contract agencies to veterans that are homebound with chronic diseases and includes nursing, physical/occupational therapy and social services.

Hospice/Palliative Care

This program offers services to veterans in the late stages of the chronic disease process.  Services also include respite care as well as bereavement counseling to family members.  There are no co-pays for hospice care provided in any setting.

Financial Assessment for Long-Term Care Services

For Veterans who are not automatically exempt from making co-pays for long-term care services, a separate financial assessment (VA Form 10-10EC, Application for Extended Care Services) must be completed to determine whether they qualify for cost-free services or to what extent they are required to make long-term care co-pays. Unlike co-pays for other VA health care services, which are based on fixed charges for all, long-term care, co-pay charges are individually adjusted based on each veteran’s financial status.

How do you qualify for the benefit?

In order to qualify for this benefit, the veteran would have had to serve at least 90 days of active duty. One of those days needs to be during a recognized period of war. The veteran or the surviving spouse (or married couple) would have to have less than $80,000 in assets. This excludes a primary residence and a vehicle. The veteran or surviving spouse must spend the financial assistance on out-of-pocket medical expenses. The veteran or surviving spouse would need assistance with their activities of daily living.

2015 Basic / Housebound / Aid and Attendance Income Limits

Veteran Family Status Basic Pension
Income Limit
Housebound

Income Limit

Aid & Attendance

Income Limit

Veteran with no dependents $12,868 $15,725 $21,446
Veteran with a spouse or child* $16,851 $19,710 $25,448
Surviving spouse / death pension $8,630* $10,548 $13,794

*Add $2,198 for each additional child

The social work department at your nearest VA medical facility can provide specific information about services or other assistance available through VA and your local community.  Visit http://www.va.gov/ for more information.

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About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked in the geriatric healthcare field for over 25 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes" (http://www.AlongComesGrandpa.com). As a Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and enthusiasm to assist corporations in finding solutions to work/life balance challenges and pro-actively educate and empower their employees.
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4 Responses to Honoring Our Aging Veterans – Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit

  1. Sheila Miller says:

    This Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit is definitely great news for veterans who have braved their retirement years without that much savings and with needs that will require special care and attention. This is a great back up plan for people who failed to plan for their retirement and ended up staying with their families and asking them to provide care for them or worse, to pay for long term care. This is only applicable for veterans and I’m pretty sure there are still a lot of Americans who are in dire need of financial help these days. So as not to make the same mistake and to free your family from the responsibility of shouldering your long term care expenses in the future, better start planning for your retirement life early.

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