Veteran’s Benefits for Assisted Living Facilities and Home Care

As your loved one’s medical needs increase, the family is faced with the prospect of paying for care at home or transitioning to an assisted living facility or personal care home. The daunting decision is only more difficult with a $3,000.00-6,000.00 monthly bill. At $36,000.00 – $72,000.00 per year for care, it does not take long without financial assistance for your loved one’s asset to disappear. There are 50,000 veterans in south-central Pennsylvania and many are receiving the care needed to qualify for funds from the Veteran’s Administration.

Wartime veterans may be eligible to receive a tax free monthly cash payment from the Veterans Administration called Veterans Pensions. The Veterans Pension is available for non-service connected disabilities and requires that the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty service, with at least one day during a wartime period. The veteran cannot be dishonorably discharged.  Additionally, the Veteran must be :

  1. Age 65 or older, OR
  2. Totally and permanently disabled, OR
  3. A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing level care, OR
  4. Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  5. Receiving Supplemental Security Income.

In addition, a wartime veteran can increase the pension payments by qualifying for Aid and Attendance by satisfying one of the following requirements:

  1. The applicant requires the assistance of another in order to perform their activities of daily living such as feeding, dressing, toileting, continence and transferring from one location to another. Qualifying assistance also includes protecting the applicant form the hazards of his or her daily environment, OR
  2. The applicant is a patient in a nursing home due to physical incapacity or mental incapacity, OR
  3. Eyesight is limited to a correct 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degree or less, OR
  4. Bedridden, in that a disability or disabilities require the applicant remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment.

 

The financial guidelines to qualify for a pension benefit indicate that a married veteran and spouse should have no more than $80,000.00 in assets, excluding a home and vehicle. The common misconception that $80,000.00 is the asset limit an applicant can retain to qualify for benefit is simply not true. The $80,000.00 asset limit services as a guideline for the VA and may vary further based on the applicant’s life expectancy, dependents, medical expenses and ease with which property can be converted into cash with no substantial sacrifice. The veteran’s income must be less than the benefit amount for which he or she is applying, VA will reduce the applicant’s gross income by unreimbursed, reoccurring out-of-pocket medical expenses that are expected to continue throughout the applicant’s lifetime.

For surviving spouses of wartime veterans, he or she may qualify for a tax free monthly cash payment. The deceased veteran must fulfill the services requirements in order for the surviving spouse to qualify for the benefit.

Currently the VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:

  1. World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
  2. World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
  3. Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
  4. Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
  5. Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – March 20, 2003)
  6. Iraq War (March 20, 2003 – September 30, 2010)