Veterans’ Benefits

February 3, 2015

If you or a loved one are over 65 and a wartime veteran, or over 65 and the spouse of one, we encourage you to get the facts on which benefits you may be eligible for under the US Dept. of Veteran Affairs.  Some of these could include healthcare services; disability and/or pension payments; and in the case of death, burial allowances and survivor benefits. While eligibility varies from person to person, here’s some general information and some resource links to get you started:


This is a complicated topic, as eligibility requirements vary widely; generally speaking, benefits are given based on income combined with demonstrated medical need. They can include medical treatment at approved VA hospitals; services performed at assisted living communities (not the actual cost of living there; nursing home residential costs and care; as well as services administered in a home setting. Veterans’ eligibility for services provided in any long-term setting are usually decided based on medical need as well as service availability in your location, along with financial eligibility/ability to pay.

A comprehensive and thorough overview of VA healthcare services can be found here.

Disability, Pension, and Aid and Attendance:

Disability Compensation is offered to those veterans with disabilities resulting from a disease or injury brought on by or aggravated by military service. The payments are generally meant to compensate for lost wages and/or quality of life resulting from that affliction. Specifics on eligibility can be found here.

The VA’s pension program provides additional monthly benefit payments to wartime veterans and their survivors, also based on financial need, service, and disability requirements.  For more info, the VA produced a helpful video you can watch here.

If you receive a VA pension and require the help of another person for everyday personal care needs (such as bathing or dressing); or are bedridden, live in a nursing home, or even have poor eyesight; you may qualify for Aid and Attendance payments to help cover the medical services you need. And if you live at home and are housebound due to medical disability, you might also qualify for what are called Housebound Benefits. Get the facts on those programs here.

Burial Allowances and Survival Benefits:

In the unfortunate case of an eligible loved one passing away, you should also be aware of the benefits afforded to spouses and surviving family members. These benefits include help with burial costs, headstone markers and medallions, Presidential memorial certificates, and even help finding cemetery space. Survivors can also be eligible for other services such as home loans, vocational counseling, and even pension plans.  You can get all the facts on survivor benefits here.

Should you want more hands-on assistance, organizations like the American Legion are available to help; you can also pay for more comprehensive guidance through organizations like the Senior Veterans’ Service Alliance.