How much does assisted living cost these days? With the price of seniors’ healthcare continuing to skyrocket, it’s more important than ever for seniors on a fixed income to seek out any means available to offset expenses. If you or your parent are a veteran 65 or older collecting a VA pension, you may be eligible for additional benefits through the Veteran’s Benefit Administration. Today we’ll take a closer look at a resource that’s often overlooked or misunderstood, known as Veterans’ Aid and Attendance.
What It Is
Sometimes referred to as Veterans’ Assisted Living Benefit, Veterans’ Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a supplemental pension payment offered to those veterans or their spouses who require the aid and attendance of another person in order to perform ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living. A&A is often overlooked for two reasons. Unlike other pension programs offered through the VA, it does not require a disability to be directly service-related. And since veterans with ailing spouses can sometimes qualify, those living independently often don’t know to ask for it.
In addition to the basic income and service requirements for a VA pension, Veterans or surviving spouses must meet the following criteria to apply for A&A:
- Inability to dress, feed, bathe, walk, transfer independently
- Inability to adjust prosthetic or orthopedic appliances independently
- Cognitive impairment that prevents independent living
- Visual impairment that can correct to 5/200 or less
- Visual, physical, or mental impairment that requires permanent bedridden status in a nursing home
Independent veterans whose spousal impairments are causing financial hardship are also eligible to apply.
How to Apply
Veterans or surviving spouses wishing to apply for A&A will need the following:
- Proof of net income and assets
- Proof of medical expenses
- Proof of active duty consisting of 90 days, with 1 day beginning or ending during wartime
- Physician’s letter certifying applicant’s inability to perform ADLs
If the applicant is living in a nursing home, you will need a letter from that residence certifying bedridden status due to blindness, physical, or cognitive impairment.
Applying for Veterans’ benefits can be cumbersome and confusing. Take advantage of the many online resources available to help, including VeteranAid.org, the Senior Benefit Service Alliance, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Because your parent served in the armed forces, the question becomes “How much does Senior Living cost you?”. The particulars are different. Download our Senior Living Guide to explore your options further.