Is there anything out there to help pay for senior home care for veterans?
Yes! Not many people know about this but there is a benefit out there for veterans and their surviving spouses that can help pay for certain types of home care, including senior care – it’s called the Aid and Attendance Benefit.
A doctor needs to establish that the person cannot completely function on their own when it comes to one or more of the following: eating, dressing and undressing, bathing or toileting. Veterans (or spouses) who are blind or reside in assisted living facilities or nursing home who are mentally or physically incapacitated may qualify as well.
Of course, there are certain qualifications that must be met and I have the basic ones listed below:
- The War-Time veteran must have had 90 days of activity duty with 1 day beginning or ending during a period of War. See www.veteranaid.org for the periods of war that have been qualified by Congress. A surviving spouse (marriage must have ended due to death of veteran) may also apply.
- The financial qualification is for the applicant to have assets less than $80,000 (excluding home and vehicles).
So what’s the paperwork like to submit for the Aid and Attendance Benefit? There’s a lot but if you work through it piece by piece, it’s certainly worth it. Veterans can receive up to $1732 per month, surviving spouses can receive up to $1113 per month and a couple can receive up to $2054. Wouldn’t you say the pain is worth the gain to get this funded for some needed senior home care?
Here’s a list of the documents or information that you will need to start the process:
- Veterans Application for Pension or Compensation (Form 21-534 for surviving spouses or Form 21-526 for the Veteran)
- Discharge/separation papers (DD-214) (if you don’t have this, don’t despair as they can be obtained by completing Standard Form 180)
- Copy of marriage certificate and all marital information
- Copy of death certificate (surviving spouses only)
- Copy of Social Security Award Letter (this is the letter that Social Security sends to you at the beginning of the year that tells you what you’ll receive monthly for the following year)
- Net worth info including bank accounts, stocks and bonds, trusts , annuities and CDs
- Documents showing income from pension, retirement and interest income
- Documented insurance premiums, medications, medical bills and any other medical bills not reimbursed by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid
- A statement from the doctor indicating the current diagnosis, prognosis, medical status, the capacity of the Veteran (or spouse) to care for one’s self, name, and address
- Employment history for those under 65 years of age
- In order for direct deposit to occur of the benefit, bank info and a voided check should be included
- List of doctors and hospitals visited in past year
Once your application is received it can take 4-6 months for a determination letter to arrive. The good news is that the benefit is retroactive to when you originally filed for the benefit. If the applicant is over 70 years old, you can request that the application process be expedited. Be sure to include a cover letter requesting this.
It is also advised that you send the package “Return Receipt” so when the VA says they didn’t receive the package, you have the proof that they did. Most important bit of advice is to MAKE A COPY OF YOUR COMPLETE APPLICATION. You certainly don’t want to recreate the whole application and its contents again!