For veterans who rely on government assistance for any type of medical care, they might know about the problems that can be involved with getting the help that they need. However, when it comes to veterans home care and the VA Aid and Assistance Benefit, there is word out that there are incredibly long delays in getting these benefits awarded.
The Aid and Attendance benefit is a pension that is available to certain military veterans and their spouses that would provide extra money to help pay for in home care. This level of care could be a few days a week for a home care aid to full time in-home care. The benefit can be worth as much as just over $2,000 per month for the military veteran, or up to about $1,100 for the widow of a veteran.
In order to qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension, the veteran would have had to serve at least 90 days active duty, with one day at least during a time of war. There are other provisions that need to be met in order to qualify, but for those that do qualify, they are finding that the time it takes to hear back from the VA is long. For some, their loved one passes away before they even hear back about the Aid and Attendance benefit.
In the New York Times article, “The ‘Long and Unacceptable’ Wait for a Veterans’ Benefit,” Susan Seliger writes:
“In 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, 38,076 veterans and 38,685 spouses were granted the A&A benefit, up 82 percent from 2007. Generally, it takes 8 to 18 months to hear back from the V.A. after applying, according to Debbie Burak, who founded VeteranAid.org, a nonprofit group that helps veterans wade through the application process and appeals.”
According to this article, the VA would not comment on the reason for the long delays in receiving Aid and Attendance benefits, but have noted that staffing issues are at the heart of the problem. Based on certain information, the Aid and Attendance benefit is not their first priority, nor is it something that many VA personnel have a great deal of experience working on.
VA rules can also complicate the matter. They prohibit veterans from paying a lawyer or any other consultant to help with the mountain of paperwork involved. The best advice for veterans who seek the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit is to be persistent and persevere. When veterans home care is important, time isn’t usually on your side.
For more information and to learn about the Veterans Home Care Assistance Program, contact Veteran’s Home Care at (888) 314-6075.