According to the most recent census, there are approximately 21.8 million veterans in the United States, 9 million of which are over the age of 65. For elderly veterans, finding the resources to continue to live in their own home, or provide for veterans assisted living can be a challenge. It is important to realize that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers substantial benefits to qualified veterans over the age of 65 and their families. These benefits can help to provide for living expenses, access to health care, hospitalization, and long-term care.
The first step in determining your or a loved one’s eligibility for certain veteran benefits such as veterans assisted living aid is to enroll in the VA health system. Based on certain criteria, including length of military service, age, disability, and financial need, you will be given certain benefits. However, in order to be enroll, you have to have served on active duty and not have been dishonorably discharged. Special priority may be given to those who sustained service related injuries or disabilities.
In terms of health care, generally most coverage will provide for preventative care, diagnostic tests, hospitalization, and prescription medication. Long-term care is also available and includes home care, rehabilitation services, respite care, and hospice. Veterans who were injured or disabled during the course of their service are entitled to disability compensation. Veterans who are disabled, even if it was not during the course of their service, may be eligible for a disability pension.
Under the new Aid and Attendance Benefit, an additional monetary sum can be provided for individuals who need regular assistance in order to perform day to day activities, such as food preparation, bathing, dressing, or taking medications. Any veteran over the age of 65 is eligible for this veterans assisted living benefit, regardless of whether or not they sustained a service related injury, provided the need for regular assistance is demonstrated. This benefit can provide up to $2,000 toward veterans’ assisted living costs per month, and can also be applied toward a veterans’ assisted living facility or nursing home. If you do not qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, you may still qualify for the Basic Pension if your countable income is below a certain level. There is also the Housebound Pension, which provides for individuals who wish to remain in their own home, or living with a relative and need limited assistance. Spouses are also eligible to receive these pension benefits.
In terms of financial assistance for housing, the Military Homeowner’s Assistance Program works to help military personnel and veterans to pay their mortgage, and thus prevent foreclosure and homelessness. In order to qualify for benefits of this nature, you must demonstrate financial need. This program can also help you to recuperate loss after a sale of a home, and in some cases the government will purchase your home if you need to relocate for medical reasons. Assistance in finding an affordable new home or with paying rent is administered through the Housing and Urban Development Office (HUD). HUD works to find appropriate housing for veterans and authorizes rent assistance for those who demonstrate financial need.
Whether you require assistance with housing, health care, or other living expenses, you should first check for veteran benefits by contacting Veteran Affairs. They can provide resources and details based on your individual situation, in order to give you all necessary benefits that you are entitled to.