Long-term care help for veterans and surviving spouses
Long-term care may be necessary for people as they age, not only to keep them safe, but to help them to maintain a quality of life. When long-term care is needed, the Aid and Attendance benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs may help pay for it.
The greatest barrier to get long-term care is cost. Many older adults do not have much income, maybe little more than a pension, and at the end of the month this basically covers their rent, food, and other basic living expenses. There’s no way they could possibly afford long-term care.
Medicare does not cover long-term care.
People are often confused and believe that Medicare covers long term care such as in-home care and nursing home care. Medicare pays for limited stays, up to a 100 days at a time, in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home) for rehabilitation purposes. So while Medicare may cover skilled nursing home costs, it’s only for limited time to help you improve after a hospital-related medical condition that has impaired or disabled you. Medicare also pays for certain home health services such as: physical therapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy.
Medicare doesn’t pay for home care such as:
- 24-hour-a-day care at home
- Meals delivered to your home
- Homemaker services
- Personal care at home
Most look toward Medicaid to cover long term care costs, but to qualify a person must be impoverished. Financial qualifications for Medicaid vary from state to state, but typically a person’s assets cannot be more than $2,000 not including a home.
That’s where the Aid and Attendance Benefit may be a resource.
Many people don’t consider VA benefits when they plan for long-term care. The Aid and Attendance Benefit is a pension program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs available to qualifying wartime veterans or their surviving spouses that pays for assistance with daily living. It can be used for some types of long-term care such as home care.
The VA’s Pension with Aid and Attendance covers care in the home such as:
- Help with bathing
- Help with dressing
- Meal preparation
- Personal care
- Respite care
- Help with laundry
- Transferring to and from bed
- Medication reminders
This particular pension can provide the financial assistance veterans need to pay for home care services, incontinence supplies, medical alert devices and more. Once a person is entitled by the VA to receive this pension, the benefit continues for the remainder of the person’s life as long as he or she remains in compliance.
To qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance Program a veteran must have:
- Served at least 90 days active duty in one of the major branches of the United States military,
- At least one day of service falling during war as defined by Congress. (If service was during the Gulf War, a minimum of two years’ active duty is required.)
- An honorable discharge
- A non service-connected disability which requires assistance with activities of daily living
- Limited financial resources in relation to medical expenses
Many women qualify, even though they are non-veterans because they are a widow of a qualifying veteran. So if you are a surviving spouse of a wartime veteran with limited financial resources who needs assistance, you may qualify.
Our VetAssist® Program can help you apply for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit and access the home care you need. For more information and to learn about The VetAssist Program, contact Veteran’s Home Care at (888) 314-6075.