How does Military Service Help Older Adults?

When a senior loved one needs assisted living, families often wonder how much it will cost and how they will pay for it. While assisted living is a cost-effective senior housing option designed to help older adults live their best life, it is sometimes one a veteran or their surviving spouse might struggle to finance. 

The good news is that there is an option designed to help veterans and their surviving spouses pay for senior care expenses like assisted living. It is called the Aid & Attendance Benefit. 

Senior Care Benefit for Veterans

These veterans’ benefits are separate from the veteran’s retirement benefits. They are designed to help older adults bridge the gap in financing senior care. There are, however, some qualifying conditions that must be met. And, unfortunately, many families find the process to be more than a little confusing

We created this overview to help you better understand the Aid & Attendance Benefit for senior care.

Who is Eligible for the Aid & Attendance Benefit? 

There are a variety of factors the Veteran’s Administration (VA) takes in to consideration as they determine if a veteran and their spouse are eligible for financial assistance, and how much they are entitled to receive. 

Here’s what you should know:

  • Acknowledged period of war: The first condition is that the veteran must have served at least ninety days of active military service, and one day of that service must have been during an acknowledged period of war. The Veteran’s Administration considers the following to be acknowledged periods of war:
    • World War I: April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918
    • World War II: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
    • Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
    • Vietnam era: February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
    • Gulf War: August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation

 

  • Qualifying criteria: In addition to serving during a period of war, the veteran must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Age 65 or older, OR
    • Totally and permanently disabled, OR
    • A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
    • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
    • Receiving Supplemental Security Income
  • Assets–If a veteran meets the two conditions outlined above, they move on to be evaluated for financial need. The VA will look at the family’s income and net worth. These guidelines are reviewed and established by Congress each year.  Currently, in order to qualify financially for the veteran’s Aid and Attendance pension benefit, a veteran or surviving spouse (or the both of them) need to have assets less than roughly $80,000 to their name(s).

Veterans’ Senior Care Benefits

If the VA determines a veteran and their spouse are eligible for financial assistance, the benefit can be quite significant. 

Currently, veterans and their spouses can receive as much as:

Two Married Veterans $2903/month
Veteran with a Spouse $2169/month
Single Veteran $1830/month
Surviving Spouse $1176/month

 

Contact your county veterans administration for more information.

 

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