Assisted living is the right move, but how can I afford it? That nagging question plagues everyone making this tough decision. As a veteran of the U.S. Military, though, you gain veterans benefits specifically for assisted living.
What veterans’ benefits exist for assisted living?
One of the lesser-known but most beneficial programs is what the Veterans Administration calls Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit, or just A&A.
It can help to cover the costs for assisted living. The benefit can be up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran. And the income and asset cutoffs for this program are higher than those for the basic veteran’s pension.
Navigating the VA can be complex, at best. If you check it out, don’t panic wading through the instructions … they can be daunting.
For example, there’s a statement saying you “have to be totally disabled to be eligible.” What many veterans don’t know is that as far as the VA is concerned, you become classified as totally disabled when you turn 65 years old. That’s why a good first step should be talking with a Veteran Services Officer (VSO) to help determine what assistance is available to you.
To qualify, you do not need to have suffered a service-related injury or have served in combat, but you must have clocked in for at least one day during your minimum 90-day service during a time of war. You must also need care assistance on a daily basis.
Beware: Scams Are Everywhere
The VA specifically forbids anyone from charging veterans to help fill out forms for any of its programs. If you do a search for assistance with A&A, you will likely get several results offering FREE help. But beware, many of these may also push a high-priced financial consultation.
Assisted living communities regularly provide seminars and other related resources that can assist you and you can count on for good information. Check these first.
Learn more about the right way to obtain your military discharge paperwork.
Evaluating Eligibility for Assisted Living
Maine Veterans’ Homes recommends that veterans and their families do three things first when considering assisted living:
- Become familiar with the veteran’s military discharge paperwork (DD Form 214).
- Contact the assisted living community you’re considering to ensure the veteran’s eligibility.
- Inform the veteran’s primary care provider of the intent to move into assisted living.
There is typically some VA financial assistance available during retirement for those who have served their country, as well as for their spouses. Veterans under the age of 65 also may be eligible under specific circumstances. Spouses and surviving spouses of wartime veterans are often eligible, too.
Taking advantage of your veteran's benefits can make all the difference when it comes to paying for care.
More About Maine Veterans' Homes
Maine Veterans' Homes is an independent, nonprofit network of six homes located throughout Maine. We're independent from the VA and provide top-notch long term care, assisted living, rehabilitation and therapy, and more.
To learn more about any of our homes, request a free brochure.