The VA Benefit for Senior Living and How It Can Help Pay for Long-Term Care
According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, the aging baby boomer generation is having an unprecedented effect on the U.S. population. In 2020, 1 in 6 people in the United States were 65 and over, and all baby boomers will already be aged 65 or older by 2030.
As the population continues to age, so will the need for long-term care. For many seniors and their families, the cost of quality long-term care can be a significant concern. According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the annual median cost in assisted living is $54,000. A private room in a nursing home is $108,405. Taking advantage of every resource you have is critical when evaluating how to pay for long-term care.
Fortunately, for wartime veterans and their surviving spouses, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a program known as the Aid and Attendance benefit that may assist in covering the expense of senior living.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the VA Aid and Attendance benefit and how it can help veterans and their loved ones cover long-term care.
What is the VA Aid and Attendance benefit?
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit provides additional monthly payments for qualified veterans and surviving spouses who are housebound or need help with activities of daily living. This benefit can cover the costs of in-home care services, assisted living, and nursing homes.
Download our Guide to Funding Senior Care and Housing.
What are the eligibility requirements for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit?
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is available to veterans who served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day of wartime service before September 8, 1980.
To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, veterans must meet both requirements:
- Your net worth cannot exceed $150,538. This includes all personal property owned (except your house, car, and furnishings)
- Received an honorable discharge
In addition, eligible veterans must meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Be at least 65 years old
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
- Have a permanent or total disability
- Live in a nursing home
Veterans or spouses must also meet at least one of the following clinical requirements to receive the Aid and Attendance benefit:
- Require assistance from another person to perform activities of daily living, like bathing, eating, or dressing
- Be bedridden or spend a large portion of the day in bed due to an illness
- Be a patient in a nursing home or long-term care community due to a loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability
- Have limited eyesight of 5/200 in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less, even with glasses or contact lenses
How do I apply for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit?
Before applying for the Aid and Attendance benefit, gather the following documentation:
- A doctor’s report that explains why you require care
- Details about your day-to-day activities
- A detailed report explaining your illness, injury, physical or mental disabilities that affect your ability to take care of yourself
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is an invaluable financial resource for veterans and their surviving spouses who require assistance with activities of daily living or are housebound due to a disability or illness.
This well-deserved benefit can help cover the cost of assisted living, nursing homes, or expensive in-home care and ensure veterans and their families receive the best possible care.