United States veterans deservedly get to enjoy a few extra perks and benefits once they are done with their military service. These benefits are designed to offer gratitude to veterans for their service, and while they cannot compare to the amount of sacrifice that former military members have made for this country, they do come with some pretty powerful perks.
It is important to note that in order to qualify for these types of VA benefits, seniors must meet a number of requirements first, including:
- Must have served at least one day in the military during a time of war
- They must be considered totally disabled by a physician. This title is automatically given to wartime veterans when they reach the age of 65
- Veterans must not have an annual income of more than $23,000 and they can't have available assets of more than $80,000
- Veterans must apply to qualify through their local VA office
While most seniors are aware of some of the financial perks of being a veteran and of the VA hospitals that are in our country today, there are still many seniors who are in the dark about some of the great veteran benefits that can help seniors today.
Veteran Homes Benefits
When seniors need the assistance of a nursing home, they can turn to Veteran Homes to get the housing they need. The VA has a number of different nursing homes around the country that provide outstanding long-term care for veterans. This care is provided at a low cost for veterans so that they can get the support they need without paying a small fortune. Facilities such as the Veterans Home at Montrose in New York specialize in providing veterans with everything they need from social activities to in-room amenities, health and wellness programs and on-site health care.
There are sometimes lengthy waiting lists for these assisted living facilities, but many veterans are able to find temporary housing until a spot opens up. Vets who are interested in finding a facility near them can visit the National Association of State Veterans Homes for a list of all qualifying nursing homes.
Long Term Care
The Department of Veteran Affairs has a benefit known as the Aid and Attendance benefit that helps pay for assisted living and other long-term care options. This means even when veterans can't get into one of the special VA nursing homes, they still have options available that will cover some of their costs as they get the care that they need. This benefit can go a long way in making the cost of long-term care more affordable for veterans and their families. There is also assistance available for the spouses of veterans, if only they need long-term care.
In order to qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, veterans need to have served during wartime and qualify for different asset and income limits. Couples who need care together are typically able to receive up to $25,000 per year in assistance. Typically, veterans can expect a nursing home allowance of up to $2,019 per month, while veteran widows can expect up to $1,094.
Caregiver Support Benefits
The VA has its own support program that is designed specifically with caregivers in mind. This support program comes with a free support line and access to the VA's caregiver support coordinator. These resources are designed to help educate families on different military benefits that can help them during this time and resources that can help combat the stress of caregiving. The program also has a free online workshop and most importantly compensation for caregivers that provide care for veterans.
Caregivers who are looking out for veterans who have served since September 11,2001, been seriously physically or mentally injured and who are enrolled in VA health services can qualify for this program. Caregivers must take a quick online training course in order to qualify as a VA caregiver and from there they will receive a monthly stipend, coverage for travel expenses related to the veteran's care, access to ChampVA care, mental health services, respite care, counseling and more.
These stipends are designed to go towards the daily care of veterans who need assistance living safely and comfortably in their own home. The stipends are intended for familial and friend caregivers.
Burial and Memorial Benefits
In the tragic case that seniors pass away, there are veteran benefits that can cover the burial or cremation costs for qualifying veterans. These veterans can also be buried in a national cemetery if they prefer and receive a special memorial headstone.
Medicaid and Medicare
Just because a person is a veteran it doesn't mean that they can't use Medicaid to cover long-term care. Before applying for any type of senior assisted living, veterans should check to see what Medicaid will offer by talking with a Medicaid planning expert. VA offices will also have experts on hand to walk seniors through the process.
Veterans should always check with Medicaid and Medicare to see what things can get paid for, even if they don't necessarily qualify for all of the VA benefits that they want.
While all of the benefits provided to veterans cannot make up for the sacrifice these brave men and women have made for their country, they can help veterans with some of the expenses that come with finding senior living options. One of the most startling statistics about senior veterans in today's world is that around 69% of them are completely unaware of the benefits that are available to them. Those who have a senior veteran in their lives should make sure that they are taking the time to educate these individuals on their benefits and what they may or may not cover.
Whether they are taking additional assistance to cover an assisted living facility, or signing up for one of the VA's nursing homes, there are ways that veterans can make the move to a senior care facility and do it in a much more affordable manner.