Veterans Assisted Living Benefits
When you serve your country, you deserve the nation’s gratitude in return. One of the ways the U.S. government shows that gratitude is by providing veterans and their spouses with pension benefits. When you consider that the budget for pension benefits in 2017 exceeds $6 billion, that’s a significant reward for service.
Unfortunately, much of this money goes uncollected every year. Veteran Aid and Attendance assisted living benefits, in particular, could make life so much easier for veterans and their surviving spouses by helping defray the cost of senior living. But many simply don’t know they qualify.
According to 2014 data from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), of the country’s nearly 22 million veterans, fewer than 122,000 veterans and 124,000 surviving spouses receive Aid and Attendance. Combined, that’s less than 1.2 percent.
Who qualifies for VA Aid and Attendance benefits for assisted living?
Qualifying to receive Aid and Attendance benefits depends on three simple criteria. Veterans and surviving spouses of veterans who qualify must:
1. Have been honorably discharged after serving a minimum of 90 days of consecutive active duty, including at least one day in a wartime period.
2. Posses assets amounting to no more than $80,000. Since this amount is calculated by deducting all recurring medical expenses from total income, applicants with widely varying income levels may qualify.
3. Can show a doctor's letter stating their medical diagnosis and assistance requirements.
How much can veterans receive for senior living every month?
For a pair of married veterans, their monthly Aid and Attendance benefits check could be worth up to $2,847 (using the current 2016 maximum amounts). Married veterans with a non-veteran spouse could receive up to $2,120 per month; a single veteran, up to $1,788 per month; and a surviving spouse, up to $1,149 per month.
What if one’s need for assisted living isn’t related to military service? That’s one of the best parts of Aid and Attendance benefits: care and medical expenses don’t need to be service related.
Preparing your VA Aid and Attendance Application
Even when someone meets all the qualification requirements, the Aid and Attendance application must still be completed properly. Any mistakes made at this stage could prevent him or her from receiving benefits in a timely manner.
While you might expect a phone call to the VA office would provide callers with accurate assistance, sadly it is often the opposite. According to the department’s own data, people who call them are more likely than not to receive incorrect information.
To ensure their applications are prepared properly, veterans and surviving spouses are advised to visit the VA in person, use the local county veteran services, or seek assistance from private companies such as the American Veterans Care Connection (AVCC), which charges no fee for guiding people through the process.
Aid and Attendance benefits can be the pivotal factor that enables a veteran or spouse to afford moving into a senior living community. So whether you’re a medical professional, caregiver, family member, or concerned community member, find out whether the seniors you know are veterans or surviving spouses, then help them get the benefits they deserve.
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