Long-term care for all older adults can be costly, whether the care program is facilitated within a retirement community or at their own place of residence. When it comes to military veterans, the need for care can be much greater than that of nonveterans as a result of military-related injuries. If you are looking for different ways to finance your cost of senior living, you or your spouse may be eligible for veteran benefits if you served in the U.S. military. Find out more about the associated costs that can be covered by veteran benefits.
Understanding VA Benefits
The 2015 – 2019 American Community Survey shows that there were more than 18.2 million American veterans aged 65 years old and above who are residing in the United States. These men and women served in conflicts across the globe that included World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the Persian Gulf War. As they age, the VA offers services and benefits that tackle various issues linked to old age. Honorably discharged veterans who served in active military, Navy, or air service for two continuous years may be eligible for general VA benefits which can be used to offset a variety of healthcare services like rehabilitative services. For an aging veteran to qualify for veteran benefits, they need to be receiving a pension from the VA.
VA Benefits to Finance Long-Term Care
- Medicare: Medicare only pays for short-term care at nursing homes for older individuals who require rehabilitative services or skilled nursing services after an injury or illness that needs hospital admission. It does not cover the cost of home care or senior care costs at senior living communities.
- Aid and Attendance Benefits: Neither Medicare nor Medicaid covers the cost of assisted living. If you are an aging veteran who is eligible for aid and attendance benefits, they can provide significant financial help. Up to 25% of American veterans qualify for both these benefits for nursing homes and assisted living Veterans’ surviving spouses may also qualify for these funds. This VA benefit is tax-free and it offers monthly payments that are added to the monthly VA pension amount. The funds can be used to finance the cost of care at the veteran’s place of residence, an assisted living community, or a nursing home. To qualify, a veteran needs to be over the age of 65 years and is receiving a VA pension. The veteran must also meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Must be bedridden or spend most of their day in bed due to a sickness
- Require assistance with their activities of daily living like eating, dressing, toileting, grooming, or bathing
- Have significantly limited eyesight even with contact lenses or glasses
- Live in a nursing home setting due to loss of physical or mental functions as a result of a disability
- Housebound Allowance: A veteran may qualify for Housebound Allowance benefits if they get a VA pension and spend most of their time indoors due to a permanent disability. However, Housebound Allowance cannot be disbursed simultaneously with Aid and Attendance benefits.