Q: My husband is a veteran and I heard there is a program for veterans who need care at home when they get older. What is this program and how do I apply?
A: The Veterans Pension program is an income-based benefit that may provide a monthly tax-free payment. In addition to the pension program, he may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance allowance.
This monthly benefit can be used to help pay for in home care, as well as facility costs such as assisted living or memory care placement.
Your husband may be eligible if he is a wartime veteran, receives a Veterans Administration pension, is age 65 or older, and meets at least one other requirement. He must either need another person to help with daily activities such as bathing, feeding or dressing, or have to stay in bed due to illness, have limited eyesight that qualifies, or be a patient in a nursing home due to a disability. These benefits are in addition to the monthly pension and he must first have qualified for that pension before applying for Aid and Attendance.
There is also a benefit called the Housebound Benefit for veterans already receiving a pension who must remain at home most of the time due to a permanent disability.
If you are unsure if your husband served during wartime you can check the dates of eligibility here: https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/
The amount of the monthly payments with the Aid and Attendance allowance depends on the person’s needs and status. A single veteran in need of Aid and Attendance may receive up to $1,911 per month and a veteran who is married and in need of Aid and Attendance may receive up to $2,266 per month. A surviving spouse may also be eligible.
To apply, you may contact the main Veterans Service Office in Ventura for assistance in completing your application. You can reach them at 805-477-5155. While in-person appointments are currently paused due to COVID-19, you can still proceed with receiving assistance over the phone and submitting applications for services.
It is also important to know that the VA provides services specially designed to support you as the family caregiver. There is a toll-free Caregiver Support Line you can call to learn more about assistance programs, get help accessing services, become connected to a local Caregiver Support Coordinator, or reach someone to listen to you and support you. You can reach this support line at 1-855-260-3274.
On this Veterans Day we want to make sure all our veterans feel appreciated and thanked for their service to our country. Everyone can help spread this information to ensure our veterans know what benefits and supports are available to help as they age in our community.
Martha Shapiro can reached at Senior Concerns at 805-497-0189 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.