Long Term Care for Veterans
In 1930 congress established the Department of Veterans Affairs. Although not well known, the VA has programs that provide several types of long term care services.
Veterans with service connected disabilities who are receiving a VA Pension or who meet the guidelines for low income, can get medical care, home care, assisted living, nursing home care, possibly prescription drugs, and other services.
Veterans may also qualify for nursing home care in state veterans’ homes although the number of beds available is somewhat limited due to the high demand and few beds. There are also certain disability income programs, and while most people think of “compensation” for service-connected disabled veterans, there is a program called “aid and attendance” that is especially designed to help veterans or the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran, to stay at home.
Aid and attendance can pay up to $1,949 a month for a married veteran. Keep in mind that the VA does not automatically send money to help with home expenses. It sends money to help with unreimbursed medical expenses, which includes medical insurance premiums, doctor or prescription co-pays and home care services. To show that care is required, the veteran must have a licensed health care professional prescribe the services and consult on the plan of care.
One remarkable aspect is that a child can be the caregiver. It is my experience through many years of elder law, that a huge number of children are providing care to their parents to keep them at home. If done properly, a care plan with a child as part of or all of the care giving team can result in VA payments for the child’s efforts. Most children don’t want to receive payment, feeling that they are simply being good children who are helping a parent in need, but when it is explained that the child could set aside the money, and later use that money to purchase even more care, the child realizes that it is as much for the parent’s benefit as for the child’s.
When contemplating services to pay for home care, a family is well advised to seek the counsel of a qualified elder law attorney who is accredited by the VA or a veterans’ service officer, as there are income and asset requirements which must be met. All veterans have no doubt experienced government red tape, so consider this advice and get help before you file an application for aid and attendance.