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How to Pay for Senior Care with Veterans Benefits


Alissa Sauer

According to the 2012 U.S. Census, there are over 12.4 million veterans over the age of 65. Many of these veterans are entitled to specific benefits only for veterans of the United States Armed Forces which can be used for paying for senior care services. The benefits apply to veterans who served during a specific time and cover a specific set of services.

Learn more about claiming Veterans benefits and using them to pay for senior care.

Who is Eligible for Veterans Benefits?

There are two Veterans Affairs (VA) programs that provide additional financial support for elderly seniors already receiving a VA pension. According to the government website, a Veterans Pension is tax-free and paid to low-income wartime veterans who are also:

  • Over the age of 65 OR
  • Totally and permanently disabled OR
  • Living in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing services OR
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  • Receiving Supplemental Security Income

Congress sets guidelines for low-income rates annually. For veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, the service member must have completed at least 24 months of active duty service. If the time of service is less than 24 months, the veteran must have completed his or her entire tour of duty.

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Aid & Attendance

For veterans already receiving the Veterans Pension, there is an increased monthly pension amount called Aid & Attendance, paid to a veteran or their surviving spouse if the veteran:

  • Requires the assistance of another person to perform activities of daily living or needs protection from the dangers of his or her daily environment OR
  • Is bedridden OR
  • Is a patient in a nursing home because of physical or mental incapacity OR
  • Has corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes

To apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit, veterans or surviving spouses should send a written statement to his or her regional Veterans Benefits office. The statement should include a report from a medical provider that outlines the veteran’s (or surviving spouse’s) need for benefits, including what activities the veteran or his or her spouse can accomplish in a day and why that person’s condition makes it hard or impossible to provide self-care.

Using VA Benefits for Long-Term Care Services

While home and community-based care services are part of the VA Medical Benefits Package for all enrolled veterans, the VA will not pay for room and board in a residential community setting like an assisted living community. Each type of community has different eligibility requirements for claiming benefits and veterans may receive VA services while living in an assisted living community.

Home and community-based services include:

  • A geriatric evaluation that assesses senior care needs
  • An individualized care plan
  • Adult day health care
  • Respite care
  • Skilled home health care services

To claim these services veterans must have a clinical need for them and the service must be available in their geographic location.

Our communities are skilled in working with veterans benefits to pay for care services and work closely with veterans to get each one their earned benefits. Contact one of our communities today to get started on the process. We are here to help!

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