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.
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.
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
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.
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
|Aid & Attendance
|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.