Bergen County mother and daughter share a valuable tip for veterans and their widows in November’s Northwest Bergen Lifestyle Magazine: call 211 for help.
The tip is about how to find in-home care aides with no out-of-pocket costs. The cost of the home care aide can be covered by a little-known VA benefit. Care can include help with daily activities such as light housekeeping, meal planning, laundry and personal care such as bathing and dressing. The benefit is known as “Aid and Attendance.”
Care in My Own Home
As a widow of a wartime veteran, Mildred O’Brien of Oakland, New Jersey qualified. She and her family gathered of all the paperwork and completed the VA claims filing process with free help from Veterans Home Care.
“I am so grateful for this program,” says Mildred. “It’s allowed me to receive the care that I need right in my own home, and my aide has become a good friend, too!”
Call 211 to Find Help
The process started with a 211 call. Luckily, Mildred’s daughter Joann Bowell, who worked in social services, knew about this free service offered by the United Way. People can call 211 when looking for programs and resources in their area. Typically, 211 calls are about meeting basic needs like housing, food and healthcare. In 2000, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established 211 as the 3-digit number for information and referrals to social services and other assistance.
Joann’s 211 call led her to New Jersey’s senior services. She was then referred to the Veterans Home Care’s VetAssist Program. “When my father’s health was failing, we applied for the VetAssist Program, but at that time, he didn’t meet the VA’s financial need requirements for Aid and Attendance. My father’s care exhausted their savings, so by the time Mom needed assistance after my father’s death, I knew VetAssist would be able to help her.”
WWII’s Sole Survivor Policy & Bill O’Brien
“My dad, Bill, always talked about his service. His older brother served in the Air Force was shot down and killed. Dad wanted to quit high school and enlist, but his parents made him wait until he graduated and was 18. He was not allowed to fight in combat because he was the sole surviving son. Instead, he served stateside as an Army psychiatric medic. He stayed on after the war working in a military psychiatric hospital in New York State.”
Connecting to Beth O’Connor at VetAssist
New Jersey resident and Veteran’s Home Care Regional Manager Beth O’Connor works with families to help them coordinate an effective plan of care using this little-known VA benefit. Joann says that the information and assistance provided by Beth and her team were invaluable during a time of difficult choices and major decisions.
“Beth O’Connor was lovely and very helpful and expedited things very quickly. In fact, on the day Beth was helping my mom with her application, my mom fell sick and had trouble breathing. Beth was there for her and helped to ensure mom got the care she needed,” says Joann.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for the Veterans Home Care’s VetAssist Program, you must be eligible for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Aid and Attendance benefit and choose to use your VA funds primarily for an in-home care aide or an adult daycare center.
Check your eligibility at https://veteranshomecare.com/check-your-eligibility-for-the-vetassist-program/
It’s important to know that veterans must have served at least 1 day during wartime, but combat duty, overseas service or a service-connected disability is NOT required. Surviving spouses are eligible if they were married to a qualifying veteran for at least one year and at the time of the veteran’s death. A physician must verify the need for care based on an underlying medical condition. Other restrictions apply to meet VA guidelines.
Veterans Home Care is a United Way 211 Call Provider
Veterans Home Care, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, serves 48 states and is listed as a provider in the United Way’s online resource directory.
VetAssist Home Care Providers
Veterans Home Care has a network of more than 4,000 home care agencies and adult daycare facilities in their VetAssist provider network who deliver non-medical care. Mildred O’Brien’s home care aide is from Amazing Grace Home Care in Montclair, New Jersey. They serve Essex, Hudson and Northwest Bergen counties with hands-on care.
Learn More About Veterans Home Care
The article entitled, Veterans Home Care—Helping Veterans and Their Families, written by Kris Pepper and Carly Perini with photos by Sarah Flannery also appeared in City Lifestyle New York. To find out if you or your family member is eligible, call 888-314-60875, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact VHC online at www.veteranhomecare.com.