As you’re thinking about your future, the cost of your care can be a heavy burden to weigh, not only on you but also on your family. But, as questions like, “Can we afford it?” go through your head, there’s hope.
As a veteran of the United States Armed Forces, you may be eligible for a stipend from Veterans Affairs to help offset the costs associated with long term care, which is helpful to know before contacting a long term care provider to determine your eligibility for care.
Am I eligible for the stipend benefit?
To help pay for the care you need, as a U.S. military veteran you can apply to receive a daily stipend from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, for long term care, extended care, short term stays and rehabilitation care from a VA-supported state veterans home. This stipend can help reduce your daily care expenses and help ease your mind when it comes to paying for the high-quality care you deserve. There are certain eligibility criteria involving service, level of care or assistance needed, income, insurance and other factors.
Currently, the benefit a Maine veteran can receive with this stipend is $109.73 a day for long term care or $47.36 a day for residential care. These rates, which are set in October each year by the VA, can vary from year to year*. The stipend goes toward the cost of your care.
So what does that mean for you? For example, let’s say the cost of your daily care is $348. As a veteran, you could receive $107.16 as a stipend. So in turn, your daily care cost would be $240.84, which could then be paid from MaineCare, through long term care insurance, through private payments, through Medicare or private insurance.
Don’t forget to consider your eligibility benefits when looking for long term care services, as gaining veteran health care benefits from Veterans Affairs is separate from gaining eligibility for services at Maine Veterans’ Homes.
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we are an independent, nonprofit organization separate from the VA. This is a daily VA stipend available to qualifying residents.
What are some ways to pay for my care?
- The stay is paid by the veteran independently.
- The veteran pays a portion independently, which is then supplemented by a stipend from the VA or by MaineCare, a state assistance program.
- The veteran is in the 70 percent disability bracket and fully covered by the VA.
But what if I still can’t afford care?
If you find yourself unable to afford care after receiving the VA stipend or by privately paying, you may be eligible for MaineCare. MaineCare, which is Maine’s state assistance program, provides veterans with medical payment assistance depending on the level of care needed and resources available. To find out if you’re eligible for MaineCare, you can contact your local Department of Health and Human Services office or apply online.
Another alternative is the VA’s Aid & Attendance program, which assists with funding for care in a state veterans’ home. You have to be eligible for a pension to receive this benefit; however, if you’re not eligible for a basic pension because of your income, you may be eligible for a pension at these rates. Your long term care provider can refer you to the VA for more information about this program.
If you are in the 70 percent or higher service-connected disability brackets, the VA will fully cover your care through a contract with VA-supported state veterans homes. If you don’t know if you qualify for fully funded care, you must first file a claim with the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services to determine your disability bracket rank.
Based on a disease or injury resulting from active military service, the bracket measures the degree of your disability ranging from 10 percent to 100 percent, which can enable you to receive a tax-free, monetary benefit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as physical conditions, are classified as disabilities eligible for compensation. The VA’s website also includes a chart which lists the most recent compensation rates.
If you haven’t filed a claim yet to see if you fit a service-connected disability bracket, you could be missing out on some of the benefits you’ve earned. If you’ve previously been denied benefits, that could be incorrect. Know that situations can be resolved to gain the benefits you deserve.
How do I know if I’m eligible for my chosen care provider?
If you are going to apply for long term care, double check your chosen care provider’s eligibility requirements to know if they require any military documentation, like a DD Form 214, and what form of payments they accept, such as MaineCare, long term care insurance, private payments, Medicare and private insurances.
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we can bill through Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance for services provided.
*Rates are subject to change each October 1. Any changes made after this date will be retroactive.