A Complete Guide To VA Benefits and Long-Term Care

A Complete Guide To VA Benefits and Long-Term Care

It’s no wonder that senior care can be quite costly in the US. And, if you are Veteran suffering from disabilities, it can be quite challenging to sustain your living and cover your medical expenses after retirement.

However, The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is sensitive to the needs of Veterans and to aid them through retirement, the department has a number of VA benefit programs that help you live a happy life after you part away from the services.

From VA pension to VA survivors pension and A&A, you can qualify for several senior care benefits, given that you meet the eligibility criteria defined by the department.

So, here’s the ultimate guide to how to qualify for VA senior benefits.

Eligibility Criteria For VA Long Term Care Benefits

Before we dive deep into the different programs initiated by the VA, here are some basic financial and service requirements you must meet to qualify for any of the VA benefits under long-term care.

Service Requirements

To qualify for long-term care benefits, you must have served a minimum of 90 days on active duty with at least one time during qualifying wartime.

In short, you must meet any ONE of the following conditions to qualify-

  • You joined active duty before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active duty with at least one day during wartime.
  • You joined active duty after September 7, 1980, and served the time you were enlisted for or a total of 24 months with at least one day during wartime.
  • You didn’t serve a minimum of 24 months on active duty but were an officer who joined the service after October 16, 1981.

In addition to this, you received a general or honorable discharge.

The qualifying wartime are the following-

  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Mexican Border War
  • Korean Conflict
  • Vietnam War
  • Gulf War

You can check the timelines here.

Financial Requirements

You must have a net worth below $138,489 to qualify for these VA benefits. However, the cap is subject to change every year. Therefore, it is recommended to track the changes. Your net worth includes your annual income and the worth of assets you own.

VA Pension

VA pension and survivor pension is a monetary, tax-free benefit available to Veterans and surviving spouses of the deceased Veterans.

When it comes to qualifying for VA long-term care benefits, you must start with applying for the pension. In fact, in order to apply for other senior care benefits, you must prove that you are eligible and receive VA benefits.

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Here’s how to qualify.

To qualify for a VA pension as a Veteran, any ONE of the following conditions must be met-

  • You are a Veteran who is 65 or older.
  • You suffer from total and permanent disability.
  • You are confined to a nursing home where you are dependent on skilled nursing care.
  • You are eligible and receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance.

To qualify for VA pension as a surviving spouse, you must not have married after the death of the Veteran, and the Veteran served a minimum of 90 days with at least one day during wartime. Moreover, the spouse must also meet the financial requirements stated above.

Housebound and VA Aid and Attendance benefits

VA A&A and Housebound benefits are supplementary benefits available to qualifying Veterans in addition to VA pension. This means that you can receive these long-term care benefits in addition to the monetary benefit offered by VA benefits. However, you can not receive both- A&A and housebound. You can qualify for only one.

VA Aid and Assistance offers extra income to Veterans who are confined to a nursing home or need continuous care from a nurse. The amount you qualify for will be added to the amount of your monthly VA pension.

You must qualify and receive a VA pension to be eligible for this benefit.

To establish your eligibility for VA A&A, any one of the following conditions must be met-

  • You need the help of a caregiver to carry out daily activities like bathing, eating and dressing.
  • You spend most of the day in your bed.
  • You have to live in a nursing home due to your physical or mental disability.
  • You have limited eyesight.

Like A&A, VA’s Housebound Benefits are available to those who spent most of their time confined to their homes or need help when leaving home for medical appointments.

To apply for housebound, you must be receiving a VA pension and meet the following criteria.

  • You spend most of your time at home due to a permanent disability.
  • You leave your home on assistance only to attend doctor appointments.

Summing Up

The amount you receive as a VA pension depends upon a number of factors like the number of dependents, marital status and if your partner is a civilian or a service member. In addition to VA A&A and Housebound benefits, there are several other benefits you can take advantage of. These include assisted living, memory care and nursing home care.

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