Older adults veterans ages 65 years and older may be eligible for key financial resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that could improve their health and well-being as they age.
Whether it’s financial, home, or health care assistance, here’s an overview of veteran benefits for older adults, eligibility requirements, and how to apply for them.
What benefits do veterans get?
The Veterans Benefits Administration offers health benefits, such as inpatient and outpatient services ranging from preventative care to surgical procedures and coverage for prescription drugs. The VA provides a geriatric evaluation as part of its Standard Medical Benefits Package. The evaluation assesses the older adult veteran’s physical health, social environment, and care abilities. Information from the assessment helps create a plan of care for aging veterans.
In addition to the standard package, the VA offers additional benefits for senior veterans. Long-term care services may be available in assisted living, home-care services, and state nursing homes, which may require copays depending on income and the level of service needed for the veteran. Increased benefits may also be available for senior veterans who need help with daily living or are confined to their homes. End-of-life benefits and support to surviving spouses or unmarried dependent children may also be available.
To enroll in any benefits program, veterans or caregivers must file an application.
Types of veterans benefits for older adults
VA pension benefits
The VA helps veterans with financial hardships by providing a pension benefit to older adult veterans in the form of monthly payments. Veterans or surviving family members of veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or the Persian Gulf War can receive the benefit. The monthly financial assistance is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income veterans.
Aid and attendance
The VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit also provides monthly payments to qualifying veterans and survivors. To be eligible for the A&A benefit, veterans — or their spouse — must already receive the VA pension and must require services due to one of the following instances: needing assistance with activities of daily living, being confined to a bed, having limited eyesight, or living in a nursing home due to loss of physical/mental abilities because of a disability.
Older adult veterans may be eligible for housebound benefits if they spend most of their time at home due to a permanent or chronic disability. To qualify for the housebound benefit, the veteran already receives the VA pension benefit and must meet certain income and assets limits. The housebound benefit amount adjusts for inflation annually and depends on other factors, such as the veteran’s number of dependents. Veterans cannot receive the housebound and Aid and Attendance benefits simultaneously.
VA health care
Veterans eligible for the VA Standard Medical Benefits Package must be separated from the service in a manner other than dishonorable discharge and have met their minimum length of duty (which varies depending on other factors). Veterans who enroll in this health care program can use it as their sole coverage option or combine it with Medicare or private health insurance.
Long-term care services covered by the VA include 24/7 medical and nursing help. The assistance could be for daily living activities, physical therapy, pain management, and respite care for the veteran’s regular caregiver, such as a loved one.
How to find out if you qualify for a senior veteran benefit
As a veteran ages, more benefits may become available. BenefitsCheckUp may be a helpful resource for older veterans. It may help connect them to even more benefits they may be eligible to receive. Veterans or their loved ones can apply for older adult veteran benefits through the VA by visiting a regional VA office, online at VA.gov, or working with a veteran service officer. To prepare for your application, gather the necessary documents like military discharge papers, annual household income, insurance information, and your veteran’s social security card.
Need help filing for VA benefits? Contact ElderLife Financial today to connect with experienced and accredited VA agents who can assist you in filing an application and determining if you or your loved one is likely to qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension.