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2 Programs to Help Veterans Pay for Care

Veterans are a special group of individuals who gave their time to serving our country and all of us.

There are 19 million veterans in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The 7.8 million veterans who served during the Gulf War make up the largest percentage of veterans followed by the 5.9 million Vietnam veterans. There are approximately 933,000 Korean War veterans.

The Greatest Generation, or World War II veterans, are rapidly dwindling with an estimated 240,000 still alive.

Roughly three-quarters (78%) of veterans in 2021 served during wartime, and 22% served during peacetime. (Veterans with wartime and peacetime service are only counted in wartime.)

Veterans are eligible for a wide range of services and programs to get access to care. Two programs in particular can help veterans fund care at home.

Community Care

Community Care is a program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that any veteran can be eligible for that provides funding for services at their home. These services include home care, homemaker and other services.

Veterans need to be under the care of a VA doctor (there are two VA clinics in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, in Tinton Falls and Brick respectively) and the physician needs to determine that the veteran needs assistance with their activities of daily living (ADL). Once a determination is made, the social services department refers the veteran to a VA-approved provider for services.

A veteran must need assistance with three of the qualifying ADL:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Moving around in bed
  • Moving around with cane, walker or scooter
  • Eating
  • Physical assistance/bathing
  • Transferring
  • Propelling wheelchair

Alternatively, the veteran must have 2 ADLs and two or more of the following:

  • Problems with three or more instrumental ADLs that include:
        • Shopping
        • Mobility
        • Using a telephone
        • Meal preparation
        • Light housekeeping
        • Medication management
  • Recently discharged from a nursing facility
  • Clinical depression
  • Advanced age (75 and older)
  • Three or more hospitalizations in the past year

The veteran never sees a bill for these services. The provider directly bills the VA and the VA directly pays the agency for services rendered.

Aid & Attendance

Aid & Attendance is a pension for wartime veterans, their spouses and widows over the age of 65 to help them pay the costs of care and complete their activities of daily living. These funds are only accessible when an eligible person has a medical need and meets financial requirements.

Married veterans can receive $2,295 monthly, single veterans can receive $1,936 and surviving spouses can receive $1,244 monthly. These are 2021 figures and are adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases.

To qualify for this pension, veterans need to meet certain criteria:

  • 90 continuous days of service, one day during wartime and combat is not required
  • Receiving care in their home or living in an assisted living facility or nursing home
  • Financial conditions
  • Honorable discharge from service

Once a veteran is qualified for the program through the application process, they receive the benefit monthly for the rest of their life and do not need to reapply.

The Aid & Attendance can be supplemented with the VA Pension but cannot be combined with Medicaid. If a veteran chooses to go on Medicaid, Aid & Attendance benefits must be forfeited.

Certain elder law attorneys can assist with the Aid & Attendance application and there are companies that specialize in preparing the application.

 

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