Do VA Benefits Cover Assisted Living?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, there are more than 12.4 million Veterans who are 65 or older. Veterans in this group make up a significant portion of our nation’s seniors and may be entitled to benefits that can help them afford long-term care.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits for all veterans, but specific programs are highly popular among eligible seniors. These include:
- Aid & Attendance
If you’re a Veteran researching assisted living facilities, you may wonder if there are benefits that offset the steep cost of these facilities. Talk to a DC elder law attorney about applying for these benefits and make the most of your retirement funds.
How do I Know if I Need to Move to an Assisted Living Facility?
Assisted living is one option for long-term care. It provides housing, personal care, and healthcare for those who need help doing day-to-day tasks. These facilities provide 24-hour supervision while striving to maintain their residents’ privacy.
People who may need assisted living include those with worsening medical conditions; have trouble paying bills; are becoming more isolated from their family and friends; who can no longer clean or cook for themselves; or who may find it challenging to maintain personal hygiene.
Assisted living facilities provide residents their own living spaces and allow them to socialize freely. Assisted living facilities can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, and generally must be paid for out of your own pocket. VA benefits may cover the cost of some services.
How Veterans Benefits Can Help Cover Assisted Living Costs
Research VA programs that may help you pay for assisted living. Many senior living companies help Veterans extend their benefits to reduce expenses significantly. Funding programs offered by the VA may cover vital services, like:
- Nursing assistance
- Help with bathing and toileting
- Help with meals
The VA helps Veterans by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs. These programs are available to Veterans and widowed spouses of Veterans. Pension benefits are needs-based.
VA Aid & Attendance Program
Veterans and survivors eligible for a VA pension and who require aid may be eligible for additional monthly payments from the VA. When applying for Aid & Attendance, keep in mind that if you’re not already receiving a pension, you must submit a basic pension application. Financial qualifications for Aid & Attendance differ from those for the basic pension, meaning some Veterans qualify for Aid & Attendance without qualifying for the basic pension.
What are additional qualifications for Aid & Attendance?
Aid & Attendance provides an additional monthly payment if you’re eligible for or are already receiving a VA Pension. You may qualify for Aid and Attendance if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You need help performing daily tasks, which may include bathing, eating, or getting dressed;
- You are bedridden;
- You are a patient in a nursing home; or
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes.
The Housebound Program also may cover some assisted living costs. This is an increased monthly pension amount that you may receive if you’re substantially confined to your immediate premises because of a permanent disability. Eligibility for Housebound is determined on a case-by-case basis, and the VA will thoroughly review your application before determining eligibility.
Documents You May Need to Apply for VA Benefits
You’re advised to work with an attorney to ensure your application for VA benefits is flawless. You will need the following documents:
- Your most recent tax return;
- Account numbers for your current health insurance provider;
- Social Security numbers for you and your spouse; and
- A VA health benefits application called the 10-10EZ form.
You will need separate applications for Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits. You will need information from several documents to complete these forms. You must mail the application to your state’s Pension Management Center to find out if you qualify. A DC elder law attorney can help ensure your application has the best chance of being approved.
Documents you may need to apply for Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits include:
- Discharge or separation papers
- A copy of your marriage certificate
- A copy of a death certificate if you’re the surviving spouse
- A current social security award letter
- Financial information like bank statements and statements about bonds, stocks, or annuities
- A doctor’s letter that lists your current diagnosis, prognosis, and details about your ability to care for yourself
- A letter from the facility you reside in if you’re already in a nursing home or assisted living facility
- Records of your medications, medical bills, and insurance statements
- A list of all doctors and healthcare institutions you’ve visited within the last year
- Your employment history if you’re under age 65
DC and Maryland Elder Lawyer with Experience Helping Veterans
The Law Offices of Clifford M. Cohen serve the residents of Washington DC and Maryland. If you or a loved one needs assistance determining eligibility for VA benefits, we can help obtain the financial support you need. Don’t assume you’re ineligible if previously denied.
We’re dedicated to helping senior Veterans protect their life savings against the high cost of long-term care. Call 202-895-2799 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.