Families are often surprised to learn of the several sources available to fund a loved one’s senior living expenses. Personal savings, investments or tapping into the built-up equity from the sale of a home are only a few at the top of the list. But another option often overlooked is the Veterans Benefit for senior living – known as the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.
If your loved one is a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran and meets the requirements set for eligibility, this benefit can help pay for senior living costs.
About the VA benefit for senior living
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s intended to help those who require assistance due to healthcare needs, including performing the essential tasks of daily living – such as bathing, dressing, grooming or help with mobility.
This VA benefit for senior living is in addition to the basic pension and is designed specifically for individuals who are living with one or more of the following factors:
- Are bedridden due to a disability
- Live in a nursing home due to physical or mental incapacity
- Are blind or have a corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes
- Have a concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
- Require the aid of another person to perform personal tasks that are essential to everyday living
Download our complimentary Successful Transitions guide.
How it helps with funding senior living expenses
The Aid and Attendance benefit can significantly defray the costs of various forms of senior living. Here’s how it can help:
- Assisted living communities: If your loved one moves into an assisted living community to receive needed help with daily tasks, the Aid and Attendance Benefit can be used to help offset the monthly fees.
- Long-term care: For those who need more intensive care due to serious health issues or cognitive impairments, money received from the Aid and Attendance benefit can be applied toward long-term care expenses.
- In-home care: Some seniors choose to remain in their own homes but need assistance with day-to-day living. This benefit can help cover the costs of home health aides or other caregiving services.
- Adult day care: For Veterans and spouses who may live with family but need care during typical work hours when they might otherwise be alone, this benefit can help defray the costs of adult day or other care centers.
How to qualify for the VA benefit for senior living
It’s important to become familiar with the qualifying restrictions to better understand if this resource might be available for your loved one. The following is a brief summary of the primary criteria required:
- Wartime service: The Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a recognized wartime.
- Honorable discharge: The Veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged.
- Income and asset limitations: The VA considers both the applicant’s income and assets for eligibility. While the limit can change, significant assets or a high income might disqualify an individual. However, counted assets exclude the applicant’s primary residence, car and typical personal possessions.
- Medical necessity: Medical restrictions must be met – including meeting at least one requirement – needing another person to help you perform daily tasks, you are limited to staying in bed, you are a resident in a nursing home or your eyesight is greatly affected.
How to apply for the VA benefit for senior living
If your loved one is a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran, the potential financial assistance for senior living expenses makes it well worth the effort to confirm eligibility and submit an application. The next steps include:
- Gather necessary documentation: This includes discharge papers, medical evidence, proof of medical expenses, net worth information, and any other relevant financial data.
- Complete and submit the application: You may wish to work with a VA accredited agent who understands the rules and regulations – and can often reduce the time needed to receive approval.
For questions about eligibility or the approval process, the following website can provide additional information:
Aid and Attendance benefits: https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/
To assess financial eligibility, a three-year look back period for assets that were transferred or gifted will occur to determine if these assets would have otherwise resulted in exceeding the income restrictions.
And remember, even if you don’t qualify today, financial and medical conditions often change over time. You might be eligible for these tax-free benefits down the road.
The Charleston Senior Living Community
Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.
The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support everyone to live their best life.
Consider a few of our amenities:
- Chef-led dining program
- Community movie theater
- Live entertainment
- Outdoor patio
- Social lounges
If you or your family is thinking about Assisted living or Memory care, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions, contact us today.
We also invite you to download our complimentary Successful Transitions guide to learn more about making the move to senior living.