Paying for senior care stretches everyone's budget. Mary's mom was running out of money. Her Alzheimer's disease meant that a caregiver stayed with her all day while her son was at work. This was using up her money at a rate of $4000 per month, not to mention normal living expenses. Mary heard about a possible Veterans benefit that might help her mother who was the widow of a WWII veteran.
The good news is that veterans who served during wartime and now need help with daily tasks may qualify for an obscure Veterans pension called Aid and Attendance. The pension is available to veterans and their surviving spouses who need home care or live in a senior care home.
When Mary and I contacted the Veteran's Administration, we ran into some roadblocks. The person we spoke with was not very knowledgeable about the program. Luckily we persisted and found the Veterans Benefit Group. The Veterans Benefit group is a non profit that raises awareness about the Aid and Attendance pension and helps veterans and their families qualify.
The good news:
- The program does not require that the veteran have a service related disability unlike many VA programs.
- The financial guidelines for receiving eldercare help are much less restrictive than those of Medicaid. The Aid and Attendance guidelines reduce the senior's gross income by the cost of their medical and senior care.
- Aid and Attendance is paid to the veteran or the surviving spouse so you can choose the appropriate type of elder care living arrangement for your parent.
- Pension payments are retroactive to the day you applied for the pension.
- It can take a while to get your paperwork processed. My client applied in June and her mother was approved for the pension in April. If your parent has dementia, the qualifying process may take longer because the VA wants to ensure that the person managing your parents' funds is trustworthy.
- Your parent or their spouse must have served during wartime.
- Your parent must meet physical or mental disability guidelines of the Aid and Attendance program.
The Aid and Attendance pension is a boon to families struggling to pay for senior care. If either of your parents served in the military, check into this program to see if they qualify.
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