The VA has many long term care benefits available for aging veterans, some that you may not even know about. Some of these benefits even extend to surviving spouses. However, many of these benefits are not used due to lack of knowledge of their existence. Follow these tips to see what you or your loved one might qualify for through the VA:
Unlike other government agencies, the VA does not advertise or notify eligibility of benefits if you have not applied. Make sure that you are applying for benefits and contacting the VA if you need help. It is a simple tip, but it could be the difference between you receiving the benefits or going without.
While scoping out benefits and applying, be sure to check all three VA branches for what they offer. This includes the Veterans Benefits Administration, the Veterans Health Administration, and the National Cemetery Administration. For example, a veteran might require in-home healthcare. By checking the three branches, they might find that in-home care is covered by both the VBA and the VHA at the same time, leading to better coverage. It is important to note that inquiries should be made to each branch directly, as social workers for one branch might not know all that another branch has to offer.
Aging Veterans often receive disability compensation payments. While these payments are very helpful, sometimes Veterans need more help at home and the cost can add up. When this situation arises, Veterans can apply for Special Monthly Compensation through the VA. They can also apply for Aid and Attendance if they need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, moving around, meal preparation, and other day to day activities. These benefits are not widely advertised, so it is important to keep these in mind and inquire about them when needed.
It is also important to note that wartime Veterans aged 65 years and older are eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension even if they do not have a service-connected disability. They must have served at least 90 days of active duty with one day during active wartime. These services pay up to $2,050 for a single Veteran and $2,431 for a married Veteran.
While survivors of Veterans are not eligible for care at VHA medical facilities, they can be eligible for other benefits through the VA. Veterans’ widows are eligible to receive the Aid and Attendance Pension, assuming they were married to the late Veteran for at least one year and married at the time of death. This benefit pays up to $1,318 per month and can help cover costs of living and custodial care.
Prior to filling out a VBA claim, Veterans should consider filing a short intent to file form. This can get the ball rolling on claims and lead to a sooner start date for your benefits. Veterans should also get assistance while filing a claim unless they have the expertise to file on their own.
These five tips should help Veterans have a better understanding of what benefits they may be eligible for and how to receive them. Again, we would like to thank all Veterans and their families for their bravery in serving our country.