Dad served in the US Marines during World War II. He is proud to have served along with his brothers during the war. Because of his service, mom and dad always knew they were eligible to be buried in a National Veteran’s Cemetery at no cost. That was one of the things they had planned in advance.
I don’t think they were also aware that they would be eligible for “Veterans Aid and Attendance”. This is a benefit that is based on need as well as other eligibility criteria. Click on one of the links following this sentence to more detailed information about Aid and Attendance as I am certainly not an expert in this subject. [VA Benefits Administration:; What Are Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits: and California Advocates of Nursing Home Reform: Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Benefits and Paying for Senior Care; VA Aid and Attendance Program and Other Pension Benefits for Elderly Veterans ]
I will just summarize what I know. A US veteran who served during a war with a discharge other than dishonorable is usually eligible IF he/she meets the financial criteria. This is a need based benefit, but the veteran can have more assets than if he were applying for Medicaid.
For instance, the veteran can have assets of about $80,000 and his house doesn’t count as an asset. The veteran’s income can be about $20,000 but the cost of assisted living and other medical expenses can be subtracted from the total income to come up with this figure. Dad could be living in Assisted Living or a Nursing Home or otherwise be “Homebound” and be eligible for this program. I believe the veteran can’t be able to drive a car or he wouldn’t be considered to be homebound. Dad hasn’t driven in over 2 years now.
If the veteran is married, his spouse also qualifies for this benefit. If the wife survives the veteran, she is still eligible for this benefit, again based on income. If both are collecting, the maximum amount is not twice what one would get. The veteran would get a higher amount than his spouse would.
My father is not yet on Aid and Dependence because his assets are probably still over the limit. However, I expect he will become eligible in the next year because of the cost of his assisted living facility. Also if he were to go into a nursing home again, his assets would be depleted much faster. I plan to contact the Aid and Attendance Office again later this spring to have them update and review all of the requirements with me. For instance, the maximum income the veteran (or spouse) can have is updated regularly, perhaps annually.
I have heard that it can take quite awhile for the veteran’s application to be processed, so I want to be sure to apply at the earliest possible moment. I believe they back pay from the date he would have been eligible if the long processing time delayed the benefit. One applies locally and I would encourage any veterans or spouses of veterans to apply for this benefit. And while talking to the Veterans’ Benefit office, I would ask about any other benefits the veteran may be qualified for as well!
Knowing dad will qualify for this gives me some confidence that he won’t completely run out of money though, in fact, the Aid and Dependence stipend alone is not enough to pay for most Assisted Living facilities, let alone a nursing home. At some point, he might still have to apply for Medicaid when the money runs out.