If you, your spouse, or parent is a Veteran, now is the time to ensure paperwork is ready for any future long-term care that may be needed.
Many Veterans do not realize they may be eligible for additional care benefits as they age.
The Veterans Affairs’ Aid and Attendance Program can help pay a portion of the costs for qualifying Veterans. Whether they need rehabilitation and therapy after surgery, skilled nursing care during an illness, or long-term care, this benefit exists to help Veterans get the care and financial coverage they deserve.
Eligibility for Veteran long-term care is based on various factors, such as the need for treatment, personal care, assistance, service-connected status, insurance coverage, ability to pay, etc.
Applying for Veteran long term care benefits is typically two-fold: the Veteran must apply for the financial benefit through the VA and then apply for eligibility of services at a state Veteran’s home, such as Maine Veterans’ Homes.
What Paperwork is Needed for Veteran Nursing Home Care?
Start by locating or requesting a copy of your or your loved one’s military discharge paperwork (DD-214). The DD-214 is a Report of Separation that contains the information needed to verify military service for benefits.
On the DD-214, you’ll find date and place of entry into active duty, home address at the time of entry, date, and place of release from active duty, home address after separation, last duty assignment and rank, military education, job specialty, decorations and medals, total creditable service, and more.
Where Can Veterans Get a Copy of Their DD214?
The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services is the place to start if Maine was listed as the Home of Record (HOR).
If Maine is not the HOR or Maine Veterans’ Services does not have a DD-214 on file, the next step is to make a request through the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). The organization stores records of retired Veterans, Veterans who no longer have a service obligation, or those Veterans who have passed away.
Unfortunately, approximately 16-18 million Veteran records were destroyed in a 1973 fire at the NPRC in St. Louis. Records destroyed were primarily Army personnel discharged Nov. 1, 1912, to Jan. 1, 1960, and Air Force personnel discharged Sept. 25, 1947, to Jan. 1, 1964.
The needed information can be reconstructed by contacting the NPRC. This may take time, which is again why we advise Veterans and their families not to wait to get the necessary Veteran benefits paperwork in order.
Where Can Veterans Get Nursing Home Care?
No crystal ball exists to know what kind of future care or assistance you or your loved one may need.
No matter the situation, it’s always best to be prepared for any future nursing home care you or your loved one may need. Inform your family or primary care provider of the intent to use Veteran benefits at a Veteran-specialized nursing home, such as Maine Veterans’ Homes.