Veteran’s Day is the day we set aside to appreciate those who have served in America’s wars. No matter what your political ideology, both sides of the aisle can agree that elderly veterans are entitled to our support, especially as they age.There are many benefits available to elderly veterans, but bureaucracy can make getting those benefits challenging. It helps to know to which benefits you’re entitled and how to apply for the assistance you need.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 9.3 million veterans 65 years and older in 2013 (including America's oldest living veteran, 108-year-old Richard Overton.) The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to providing benefits and services that help address the needs of the aging veteran population.
VA Benefits for Elderly Veterans
Elderly Veterans may be eligible for a multitude of benefits including:
A relatively unknown but extremely helpful benefit is available for senior veterans. The Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit, known as A&A, can cover the costs of caregivers in the home. Our family found out too late that this can include sons and daughters who are paid to be caregivers, (but not spouses) or be used in assisted living or a nursing home.
According to the VA, Aid and Attendance (A&A) is paid if you meet one of the conditions below:
- You require help performing daily functions, which may include bathing, eating or dressing.
- You are bedridden.
- You are a patient in a nursing home.
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
Learn more about these benefits on the Aid & Attendance Housebound benefits page.
How to Apply
Caregiverlist has provided a comprehensive webpage that discusses the Veteran's Aid and Attendance Benefit for Senior Care. In it, we discuss what it is, who qualifies, the dollar amount of financial requirements and benefits, and links to all necessary paperwork.
Unfortunately, LGBT veterans and their spouses do not receive the same full and equal benefits if they live in a state that doesn’t recognize same sex marriage, even though the benefits are on a federal, not state, level. At present, a petition is pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [AMPA v. MacDonald, No. 14-7121 (Fed. Cir. 2014)].
The VA also provides a website specifically designed to support VA family caregivers. It’s mission is to:
- inform you about assistance from the VA
- assist you in accessing all available services and benefits.
- put you in touch with your local VA medical center family Caregiver Support Coordinator
- lend you a sympathetic ear
The VA's Caregiver Support Line is toll-free at 1-855-260-3274
As always, Caregiverlist thanks all veteran’s for their service and a special thanks to all the caregivers who aid and assist them.