Home Care VA Benefits for Veterans andTheir Spouses

Posted on

Oct 27, 2015

Share This
There is a little-known pension for Veterans and their spouses to help pay for care costs. The Aid and Attendance Pension has been available for over 60 years, yet the VA estimates that millions of Veterans who qualify have not applied. Veterans earned this benefit by their service to our County. It is available for up to 20 hours per week of personalized care and completely paid for by the pension.

Health costs covered by the pension are generally those not covered by Medicare. Maybe there is a need for some help around the house, with medicine reminders, meals or transportation to doctor appointments. The Aid and Attendance Pension provides from $1000 to $2000 per month to pay for these services. The pension is used for tasks that help a qualifying Veteran and their spouse live healthier or safer in their own residence.

Aid and Attendance is a reimbursement pension. In-home care must be ongoing before the Veterans Administration pays the monthly benefit. Fortunately, there is a program that may pay for the care before the pensions disbursements begin and without recourse as long as the paperwork was conscientiously and accurately submitted. Therefore, Veterans and their spouses can have no out-of-pocket expenses for care before AND after the VAs eligibility determination. They never receive nor pay a bill for their care.

The process to become qualified is laborious with a needs assessment, physicians evaluation and many forms. However, by working with an accredited Veterans Administrations agency, free guidance is provided to correctly present the application.

To be eligible for the standard pension a Veteran must be at least 65 years of age, served as active military for 90 days during an approved time of war and received an honorable discharged. The spouse will need to provide a marriage certificate. Discharge certificates (DD-214 after 1950) can be restored if they have become lost. Help with the eligibility process is at absolutely no cost or obligation. Most Veterans and their spouses needing care will qualify.

The important things for Veterans and their spouses to remember is that assistance is available to get the necessary forms completed, to help present their eligibility accurately, to pay for care before and after the pension begins and to help them live a higher quality of life. All these happen without any out-of-pocket expenses because of this unique program. More free information is available.

Thousands of Veterans and their spouses have already utilized these services to start this pension paying for care. Those not receiving this benefit ought to consider applying for the Aid and Attendance Pension. Theyve earned it!

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Dr. Mark O. Bowman. Dr. Bowman is the owner of Home Care Assistance of Utah and their office can be reached at 801.733.6100, by email atmbowman@homecareassistance.com

Other Articles You May Like

16 Veterans Benefits, Programs, and Services for Seniors

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several programs and services to help Veterans access the long-term care they need. From financial assistance programs to residential living options and services and programs that help Veterans who live at home, VA aims to support U.S. military Veterans in living comfortably and accessing the care they need. Here, we explain 16 Veterans benefits that senior Veterans can receive to maximize their quality of life, safety, and comfort whether they live at home or want to live in a long-term care facility.Financial assistance programs for VeteransVA offers various financial assistance programs to U.S. military Veterans. Some provide additional income to individuals who have significant health needs. Other programs offer loans to Veterans, and still others provide grants that allow Veterans to improve their homes without needing to repay the funds. Lets explore these financial programs designed specifically for Veterans.Aid and Attendance benefitVeterans who require assistance with daily life may qualify to receive additional income every month through the Aid and Attendance benefit. This VA benefit provides income directly to qualifying Veterans. Surviving spouses can also qualify for this benefit. The maximum monthly benefit may change each year, and VA makes this determination at the end of each calendar year for the following 12 months. Currently, benefit recipients can receive over $2,000 per month if they are eligible.To qualify, Veterans must meet requirements in military service, health needs, and income. Generally speaking, the military service criteria require that the Veteran served in active duty during an approved wartime period (though serving in an active combat zone is not required). The Veteran must require help with at least two activities of daily living, need to live in a facility to protect their safety due to a cognitive or other health issue, or have a vision impairment. The Veteran must also meet the net worth limit set by Congress.Veterans interested in applying can do so on their own through VA or work with a third party that can help them determine their eligibility and get assistance with the application.VA home loanAging in place, or living at home for as long as possible, is often the ideal situation for many people. However, doing so can require capital to purchase a home or improve its accessibility. Veterans needing funding assistance to make their homes safer and accommodate their care needs may qualify for a VA home loan.The U.S. government backs these loans, and the VA guarantees part of the loan to a lender. With the VA standing behind the Veteran in the loan, the lender often offers desirable terms. The borrowing Veteran could have a zero or low down payment, a lower interest rate, or a cap on closing costs, among other benefits.To qualify for a VA loan, the Veteran must meet certain service requirements and get a Certificate of Eligibility from VA.The Special Home Adaptation grantThe Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant provides funding to qualifying Veterans who want to buy or modify a home to meet their needs due to a service-connected disability. The Veteran can use funds to buy or build a home or modify their existing home. In addition to meeting the health and disability requirements, the Veteran must also own or soon own the home they want to improve or purchase. Eligible individuals can apply online through eBenefits, by mail, or in person after filling out VA Form 26-4555.The Temporary Residence Adaptation grantHelp is also available to Veterans who temporarily live in a home that doesnt meet their accessibility needs. If a Veteran can qualify for the Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant or the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant but temporarily lives in a family members home, the Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant may be able to help fund necessary modifications to support the Veterans accessibility needs.The Veteran must meet disability criteria and not own the home they want to modify. Veterans can apply online through eBenefits, by mail, or in person after filling out VA Form 26-4555.The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grantThis grant is for Veterans who are not trying to fund new construction but instead want to fund home modifications for greater accessibility in their homes. The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant can cover alterations to home entrances, installations of roll-in showers or walk-in bathtubs, adjustments to counter heights, and other similar accessibility improvements.To qualify for the grant, the Veteran must meet various criteria, including receiving a prescription written by a VA physician deeming the improvements necessary. The Veteran must also complete the application, submit a notarized statement from the owner (if the Veteran rents the home) approving the improvement, obtain an estimate of costs for the project, and submit a photo of the original unimproved space.Residential care facilities for VeteransSome Veterans may need significant assistance with activities of daily living, so moving to a residential community may be the best way to maintain comfort and a good quality of life. Others may opt to live in facilities because of the camaraderie, socialization, and round-the-clock access to care staff and professionals. While there are many senior living communities around the country, VA provides two types of communities that specifically serve U.S. military Veterans: VA nursing homes and state Veterans homes.VA nursing homesA nursing home is a residential long-term care facility that helps people who need significant assistance with personal care tasks, like bathing, dressing, eating, and other activities of daily living. These facilities also staff skilled nursing professionals, like registered nurses and other skilled care professionals. They can provide skilled care, like wound care, medication administration, and other nursing tasks. While there are many nursing homes around the U.S., VA runs its own nursing homes, also called VA Community Living Centers, that cater to U.S. military Veterans.In order to live at a VA nursing home, the Veteran needs to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as their service-connected status, level of disability, and income. The Veteran must also be enrolled in the VA health system and be medically and psychiatrically stable.Depending on the Veterans service-connected disability and financial status, they may be responsible for a copay. VA social workers and case managers can advise interested Veterans, and applicants can complete the Application for Extended Care Benefits (VA Form 10-10EC) to apply for residency.State Veterans homesState Veterans homes are residential communities that provide varying levels of care, like independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and adult day health care. The state where the facility is located owns and operates the community.A benefit of living at a state Veterans home is that most residents are U.S. military Veterans. Some state Veterans homes may admit non-Veteran spouses and Gold Star parents, while others may admit only Veterans. This allows residents to bond through having the common experience with the military, which can foster and support strong relationships. Not only do the residents better understand one another, but the staff are also trained on unique issues that Veterans may face, such as PTSD, depression, and other common challenges that can result from time served in the military.Interested Veterans must apply for residency. State Veterans homes are located throughout the country.Help at home for VeteransMany Veterans choose to live at home, but even if they do not live in a VA residential community or a senior living facility, they may still need care services and support to live independently. There are a number of services that help Veterans who live in the community rather than in a facility. From adult day health care and respite care to homemaker services and even end-of-life care at home, VA offers a range of services to eligible Veterans. Lets take a look at those services now.Adult day health care (ADHC)Veterans who live at home may live alone or with a family member. Adult day health care (ADHC) services could be just what the Veteran and their caregiver need to live successfully at home. VA adult day health care programs operate during the day and serve as a place for Veterans to go and receive care services and socialization. They can also access care from visiting and on-staff professionals. Social workers, nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals offer their services to program participants.Veterans can utilize this program as often as needed, whether a few days per week for part of the day or on a full-day schedule. ADHC programs can be found at VA medical centers, state Veterans homes, or other organizations if none exist in the Veterans area. The programs can also offer family caregivers a much-needed respite from caring for the Veteran. The caregiver will know that their Veteran loved one is in good hands and getting the specialized care they need, all while the caregiver can have time for themselves or take care of other life responsibilities.If a Veteran is eligible for community care and meets the clinical criteria for the service, and if there is an ADHC program in the area, the Veteran can participate. VA care managers can guide interested Veterans on the application process and explain the potential copay the Veteran may have based on their disability status and financial information.Respite careVeterans with family caregivers, like spouses or adult children, may benefit from utilizing VA respite care program services. Respite care benefits both the individual and their caregiver because the individual receives care that the caregiver normally provides, allowing the family member to take a break from their usual caregiving responsibilities. VA respite care is convenient because Veterans and their families can access the services in a few ways. Veterans who live at home can have a respite caregiver travel to the home to provide services. The Veteran can also attend a VA adult day health care program if there is one in their area. For longer periods of care, the Veteran can receive respite care services at a nursing home. This option may be suitable for Veterans whose caregivers need to be away from the Veteran for a few days due to a trip or another responsibility. Veterans may qualify for VA respite care services if they meet the criteria and if these services are available near them. Services vary by location. The Veteran may be responsible for a copay based on their disability status and financial situation. VA case managers can help interested Veterans determine eligibility, learn if they have a copay, and apply for the service.Home-based primary care (HBPC)VAs home-based primary care (HBPC) program can offer invaluable help to Veterans who find it difficult to leave home for medical care. This service brings health care to the Veterans home if they live within 40 miles of a VA medical center. Medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, therapists, dietitians, and other health care professionals, can provide services in the Veterans home. Veterans who are enrolled in the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package are eligible to receive home-based primary care if the service is available in their area and they meet the clinical criteria. VA case managers can help Veterans learn whether they meet the requirements and whether there is a program in their area.Skilled home health careSkilled home health care can be an important part of a Veterans recovery from an injury or hospitalization. The skilled home health care program provides skilled nursing services to Veterans transitioning home from a hospital or skilled nursing facility but still needing care at home.If a Veteran is eligible for community care and meets other criteria, they may qualify for the skilled home health care program. VA case managers can help determine eligibility and assist the Veteran in applying for the service.Homemaker and home health aide programIf a Veteran needs help with activities of daily living and maintaining their homes cleanliness, the VA homemaker and home health aide program may be a great fit for their situation. Through this service, the Veteran receives care through a VA-approved home care agency that sends caregivers to the Veterans home. Typically, these caregivers can help with light housekeeping, meal preparation, and assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living.Veterans eligible for community care may qualify to participate in the homemaker and home health aide program. VA case managers can help Veterans determine whether they qualify and will have a copay in addition to helping them receive the services.Home hospice careVeterans can receive home hospice services during their final stage of life. As with typical hospice services, providers help manage the patients symptoms while the patient is no longer seeking curative treatments for their illness or condition. In addition to symptom management, the Veterans family and loved ones can receive grief counseling services.This service is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package. Enrolled Veterans are eligible for home hospice care if their physician determines theres a clinical need. Hospice care requires no copayments from the Veteran. Palliative careAlthough palliative care also aims to manage chronic conditions and maximize quality of life, it should not be confused with hospice care. The main difference is that patients can use palliative care services while receiving curative treatments, whereas those receiving hospice care cannot. Through the VA palliative care program, Veterans work with doctors, nurses, social workers, and other professionals to manage pain and other symptoms associated with one or more chronic conditions. The palliative care program is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package. A Veteran may be eligible if they demonstrate a medical need for it. VA social workers can help determine potential copays and processes for initiating this type of care.Home telehealth assistanceThe home telehealth assistance program allows Veterans living at home to use technology to monitor their health and communicate with their health care providers. With remote patient monitoring, health care providers can access real-time data about the Veteran patient. Phone visits and video communication can allow Veterans who are homebound or live far from their providers to contact doctors quickly and as needed.Veterans can talk with their health care provider at the nearest VA medical center about the home telehealth assistance options in their area.Veteran-directed careVeteran-directed care is more of an approach to how the Veteran chooses to receive their care than a specific type of care. Many Veterans receive care from VA-directed health care providers, but through Veteran-directed care, the Veteran chooses their care service providers. They are responsible for hiring, managing, and paying their providers with the budget they receive. This program fosters autonomy and allows the Veteran to take the lead on who provides their care.To participate, the Veteran must be eligible for community care and meet health requirements. VA social workers can work with interested Veterans to determine the individuals eligibility and inform them on how to get started.Whether a senior Veteran wants to live at home or in a long-term care community, they can turn to VA to receive the care they need.

Innovative VA Programs: Supporting Senior Veterans in Care

Providing care for our senior veterans can be a noble yet challenging task. These unsung heroes often grapple with unique health and support needs due to their past service and advancing age, leaving their caregivers in need of resources and assistance. Thankfully, innovative programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offer a beacon of hope. From home-based primary care to telehealth services and respite care, these pioneering initiatives are revolutionizing the way caregivers can support our senior veterans. Home-Based Primary CareIn the realm of senior veteran care, the Home-Based Primary Care program serves as a crucial supporting pillar. This program is designed for veterans who have complex healthcare needs and find it difficult to travel to the VA medical center. It is a collaborative care model where a dedicated team delivers comprehensive care right at the veteran's home. This team is often multidisciplinary, consisting of doctors, nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation therapists, ensuring a holistic approach to the veteran's health care needs.The introduction of this program has significantly improved the quality of care for senior veterans. Caregivers have reported that it alleviates the burden of frequent hospital visits and ensures that medical help is available when it's most needed. For example, consider the case of Mr. Johnson, a World War II veteran. The Home-Based Primary Care program transformed his care experience, reducing hospital admissions and increasing his overall comfort by providing care right in his home.Telehealth ServicesAn important innovation in modern health care is Telehealth Services, a game-changing resource for caregivers of senior veterans. Through this program, healthcare services are delivered remotely via telecommunication technologies. This includes consultations with healthcare professionals, remote patient monitoring, and access to medical education.Telehealth services have been instrumental in enhancing the care experience for both caregivers and senior veterans. By bridging geographical barriers, it ensures timely access to health care services and reduces the stress and difficulty associated with travel. It's particularly beneficial for senior veterans living in remote or rural areas. Take the example of Mr. Smith, a Vietnam War veteran living in a rural area. Through telehealth services, he was able to regularly consult with his specialists, something that would have been difficult given his location.Respite CareRespite care is another transformative initiative from the VA. It's a service that provides temporary relief to caregivers from their caregiving duties. This gives caregivers the opportunity to rest, rejuvenate, and attend to their personal needs without worrying about the well-being of their loved ones. Simultaneously, it ensures that senior veterans continue to receive safe and professional care.Respite care acknowledges the crucial role caregivers play and the toll constant caregiving can take on their health and well-being. Caregivers like Mrs. Davis, who cares for her husband, a Korean War veteran, found respite care to be a lifesaver. It allowed her to pay attention to her own health needs without compromising the care of her husband.In the roadmap of senior veteran care, these VA programs are vital milestones. Home-Based Primary Care, Telehealth Services, and Respite Care each provide distinctive solutions to the challenges faced by caregivers. They enhance the quality of care and support caregivers in their demanding roles, ensuring our senior veterans get the quality of life they rightfully deserve. Veteran Care at Home by Senior Helpers GreeleyFor those living in Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, Wellington, or Longmont, Senior Helpers Greeley is committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for your loved ones. We offer veteran care services that can help seniors make the most of their VA benefits and maintain independence at home as long as possible. Contact us today to learn more 970-373-3858.

Veteran Home Care

Everything Families Need to Know About Veteran Home CarePosted: March 5, 2024 in Aging , Home Care Planning , Finances