Oct 16, 2023

Types of Veterans Benefits for assisted living and senior care

Manny Cominsky

As seniors and their families explore options for senior living and senior care, one of the most important considerations is cost. For veterans, there are specific benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that can help cover the expenses associated with assisted living and senior care. Understanding these benefits and the eligibility criteria is crucial for veterans and their families who are seeking financial assistance for senior care.

Read below to learn more about the various types of VA programs for seniors, or click here to read our guide on eligibility requirements and application information here. 

Introduction to Veterans Benefits for Seniors

Understanding the Importance of VA Benefits for Seniors

As individuals age, they may require additional support and care to maintain their independence and quality of life. Assisted living facilities provide a safe and comfortable environment for seniors who need assistance with daily activities but still want to maintain their autonomy. However, the cost of assisted living can be a significant financial burden for many seniors and their families.

For veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a range of benefits to help alleviate the financial strain associated with senior care, whether it’s provided at home or in an assisted living facility. These benefits can be instrumental in ensuring that veterans have access to the care they need without depleting their savings or relying solely on their families for support.

Exploring the Financial Challenges of Assisted Living

The cost of assisted living varies depending on various factors, such as location, level of care required, and amenities provided. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median monthly cost for assisted living is $4,300. This amount can be a significant financial burden for seniors, especially those on fixed incomes.

Many seniors and their families rely on a combination of personal savings, pensions, Social Security benefits, and long-term care insurance to cover the costs of assisted living. However, for veterans, additional financial assistance in the form of VA benefits can be a huge help in making assisted living more affordable and accessible.

VA Assisted Living Benefits Overview

One common question among veterans and their families is whether the VA directly covers the cost of assisted living. While the VA generally does not pay for room and board in assisted living (unless the assisted living facility is contracted with the VA), VA programs can provide help paying for related services like nursing and medical care at an assisted living facility..

The VA primarily focuses on providing healthcare services to veterans, including medical treatments, medications, and rehabilitation programs. However, there are certain VA benefits that can be used to offset the costs of assisted living, which we explore in further detail below.

Two key VA programs that offer support for senior care are the Aid and Attendance Program and the Veteran Directed Care Program. These programs provide additional funds to eligible veterans, allowing them to cover the costs of assisted living care services and customize their care according to their unique needs.

Aid and Attendance Program

The Aid and Attendance Program is a VA benefit specifically designed to assist veterans who require the aid and attendance of another person or are housebound due to a disability or health condition. Through this program, eligible veterans can receive additional funds on top of their existing VA benefits to cover the costs of assisted living and other long-term care services.

The Aid and Attendance Program is particularly valuable for veterans who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, eating, and mobility. These funds can also be used to pay for services provided by assisted living facilities, including medication management, meal preparation, and housekeeping.

Eligibility Requirements and Benefits of the Program

To be eligible for the Aid and Attendance Program, veterans must meet certain criteria set by the VA. While the requirements are not overly restrictive, it is crucial to understand the eligibility guidelines to determine if you or your loved one qualifies for this program. The basic eligibility requirements for the Aid and Attendance Program include:

Veteran Status: The applicant must be a veteran who served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day served during a wartime period. Additionally, the veteran must have received a discharge other than dishonorable.

Medical Need: The applicant must meet the medical criteria established by the VA, which includes requiring the aid and attendance of another person or being housebound due to a disability or health condition.

Financial Eligibility: The applicant must meet certain financial criteria, including income and asset limits established by the VA. The VA considers factors such as income from all sources, net worth, and unreimbursed medical expenses when determining financial eligibility.

It is essential to note that meeting the eligibility criteria for the Aid and Attendance Program does not guarantee automatic approval. The VA assesses each application on an individual basis, considering all relevant factors before making a determination.

Veteran Directed Care Program

The Veteran Directed Care Program is an innovative program offered by the VA that empowers veterans to make their own decisions regarding their long-term care. This program provides eligible veterans with a budget to hire and manage their own caregivers, allowing them to customize their care according to their specific needs and preferences.

The Veteran Directed Care Program aims to provide veterans with greater flexibility and control over their care choices. Instead of receiving care through traditional VA healthcare facilities or contracted providers, veterans enrolled in this program have the freedom to hire caregivers of their choice, including family members or friends.

How Veterans Can Customize Their Care Through This Program

Through the Veteran Directed Care Program, veterans have the flexibility to choose the types of services they need and the specific caregivers they want to work with. This program allows veterans to utilize their budget to cover a wide range of services, including personal care assistance, homemaker services, respite care, and transportation.

The key benefits of the Veteran Directed Care Program include:

Choice and Control: Veterans have the freedom to select their caregivers and negotiate rates and schedules that work best for them. This level of choice and control provides veterans with a sense of independence and dignity in their care.

Flexibility in Service Delivery: Veterans can customize the types of services they receive and the frequency of care based on their unique needs and preferences. This flexibility ensures that veterans receive care that aligns with their specific requirements.

Support for Caregivers: The program also recognizes the important role of caregivers in the overall well-being of veterans. By allowing veterans to choose their own caregivers, the program supports the caregivers themselves, acknowledging their commitment and dedication to the veteran's care.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior care more affordable for you or your loved one, send us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and senior care and is on a mission to make senior living affordable for everyone.

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