If you are, or your spouse or parent is, a Vietnam veteran, now is the time to ensure paperwork is in order for any future long-term care that may be needed.
With Vietnam War veterans accounting for the largest population of living veterans – approximately 45,000 in Maine alone and more than 7 million nationwide, all of them Baby Boomers -- it is likely waiting lists will grow for nursing homes that specialize in the care of veterans and offer veteran stipends.
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, many of our locations already have active waiting lists. We encourage veterans not to wait to speak with our admissions coordinators concerning eligibility, paperwork and any documentation you may need to qualify for veteran benefits now and into the future.
What Long-Term Care Benefits are Available for Veterans?
Many veterans do not realize they may be eligible for additional care benefits as they age.
Eligible veterans residing in a state veterans home, such as Maine Veterans’ Homes, may receive a stipend of $106 per day for nursing home care and $45 per day for assisted living. In addition, the Veterans Affairs’ Aid and Attendance Program can help pay a portion of the costs for qualifying veterans. Whether you 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 a variety of factors, such as need for treatment, personal care and 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 military discharge paperwork (DD Form 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 time of entry, date and place of release from active duty, home address after separation, last duty assignment and rank, military education and job specialty, decorations and medals, total creditable service and more.
Where Can Veterans Get a Copy of Their DD-214?
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 the 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). NPRC stores records of veterans who are retired, no longer having a service obligation and 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 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.
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we provide rehabilitative care, therapy services, skilled nursing care, long-term care and dementia care. We have six locations throughout Maine, with new construction and renovation projects currently in the works so we continue to meet the needs of our growing veteran population.
Take time now to get your paperwork and eligibility in line to help ensure you get the level of skilled nursing care when you need it. Even if you never need our services, it is always advisable to have paperwork complete and a plan in place.
Learn more about your benefits and our eligibility process by downloading your free copy of our eligibility and benefits guide.