The U.S. government operates two retirement homes for certain military veterans. The Gulfport campus, located in Gulfport, Mississippi, was originally established as the Naval Asylum in 1834, until the name was changed to the Naval Home in 1880. In 1947, when the Air Force became a separate service, the name was changed to the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home. Most that lived there were veteran enlisted Army soldiers and enlisted Air Force members.
There are non-profit organizations which have started the following retirement homes for officers:
- Air Force Village West: This community is located adjacent to March Field in Riverside, California. This nonprofit community accepts career, reserve, or honorably discharged officers, as well as widows or widowers of officers from any service branch. For complete information, visit www.afvw.com.
- The Air Force Villages: This nonprofit retirement community, located in San Antonio, Texas, accepts retired and honorably separated officers of all uniformed services and their spouses, widows, widowers, and senior family members, age 62 and up. You can visit its Web site at www.airforcevillages.com.
- Falcons Landing: This nonprofit community accepts retired military officers, their spouses, and surviving spouses who haven’t remarried. The retirement home is located in Washington, D.C. More information is available at www.falconslanding.org
- Knollwood: Also located in Washington, D.C., this unique retirement community is for male and female officers and their female relatives. Regular and reserve male and female military officers of all uniformed services, their spouses, sisters, daughters, mothers, and mothers-in-law are eligible for residency. Visit the Knollwood Web site at www.armydistaff.org.
- Vinson Hall: This home is located just three miles from the nation’s capital in McLean, Virginia. Eligibility includes those who have served as a commissioned officer (including warrant officer) in the uniformed services, and the widows, widowers, former spouses, dependents, or immediate family members of such officers. For details, visit www.vinsonhall.org.
Eligibility factors include your military rank, military status, age, physical and mental health at the time of admission, and criminal history.
Here are the basics on each qualification:
Military rank: The Armed Forces Retirement Homes are not for commissioned officers. Only those who spent at least 50 percent of their military service as an enlisted member, warrant officer, or what the Navy and Marines call a “limited-duty officer” are eligible.
Military status: Your status as a veteran also plays a role in your eligibility. You can move into an AFRH if you’re a:
- Veteran with 20 years or more of active-duty service and at least 60 years old
- Veteran unable to earn a livelihood due to a service-connected disability
- Veteran unable to earn a livelihood due to injuries, disease, or disability, and who served in a war theater or received hostile-fire pay
- Female veteran who served prior to 1948
Staying fit for admission: At the time of admission, you need to be capable of self-care. That means:
- Full mental competency (in other words, able to make rational decisions)
- Able to take care of your own personal needs
- Able to attend a central dining facility for meals
- Able to keep all medical appointments
- An ability to speak, hear, and see (with or without aids) to perform basic functions
- The ability to care for your own room (for example, make the bed and clean the bathroom, floors, and windows)
- Freedom from alcoholism, drug addictions, or mental disorders
There are many amenities offered at these facilities including:
- Art studio
- Auto hobby shop
- Barber shop
- Beauty salon
- Bike shop
- Card rooms
- Ceramics studio
- Convenience store
- Craft cottage
- Garden plots
- Ham radio room
- Listening room
- Puzzle room
- Sports lounge
Paying for Your New Home
The cost of residing at the AFRH depends on how much money you make each month — both taxable and nontaxable income.
Actual cost is based on a percentage of your income and the level of care you require:
- Independent-living residents: 35 percent of total current income, but not to exceed $1,170 each month
- Assisted-living residents: 40 percent of total current income, but not to exceed $1,754 each month
- Long-term care residents: 65 percent of total current income, but not to exceed $2,924 each month
For the latest rates, visit www.afrh.gov/afrh/newres/elig/elig_fees.htm.
Gathering the Required Documents
Before you apply you need to collect the following paperwork to send in with your application:
- DD Form 214, Record of Military Service, or Statement of Service summary.
- A copy of your federal tax return for the most recent tax year. If you’re exempt from filing, you must provide verification of all income for the most recent year (W-2s, 1099s, all investments and savings).
- Documentation of the gross amount you’re entitled to from all federal payments (civil service retired pay, military retired pay, Social Security, VA compensation or pension, etc…)
- Verification of current year Medicare Part B premium and supplemental insurance payment.
- Proof of payment for other health insurance.
Completing Your Application
You can download the six-page application for admission at www.afrh.gov/afrh/forms/forms_app.pdf, or obtain one by calling 800-422-9988. To avoid delays, make sure you provide thorough and accurate information. Mail the completed application and supporting documents to AFRH, PAO/Marketing #1305, 3700 N. Capitol St., NW, Washington, DC 20011-8400.