Did you know that as a veteran or the surviving spouse of one, you are entitled to benefits that can go towards offsetting the cost of long-term care? In addition to your monthly pension, you may be eligible for another payout under benefits as long as you meet a certain set of criteria. It’s important to know exactly what you are entitled to so that you can make the best decision for your long-term care and financial future.
Who Qualifies for Veteran Benefits?
In order to qualify for veteran benefits, you need to:
- Have served for at least 90 days, including at least 1 day during periods of wartime
- Not been served a dishonorable discharge
- Survivors must be married to a wartime veteran at their time of death and must not have remarried since then
- Meet certain financial qualifications
Once you have determined that you qualify, you can go ahead to make an application.
VA Pension or Survivor’s Pension
As a veteran or the widowed spouse of one, you or your loved one may be eligible to receive a monthly pension. In order to qualify for this pension, the recipient must meet the minimum service and financial requirements stated above. On top of that, they also need to meet one of the following four criteria:
- Be 65 years or older
- Have a total permanent disability
- Require skilled nursing care in a senior living community or nursing home
- Be receiving supplemental security income or social security disability income
Keep in mind that applicants for veteran long-term care benefits must be receiving a VA pension.
VA Aid & Attendance Benefits
This benefit comes in the form of an additional payout on top of the monthly pension you receive. This sum is meant to contribute towards the cost of long-term care, whether at home or in a senior living community. In order to qualify, you would need to meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Require assistance with daily living activities (ADLs) that include bathing and dressing, amongst many others
- Reside in a nursing home or senior living community because of a chronic condition or disability
- Be bedbound for the majority of the day due to an illness
- Have a limited vision, defined as less than 5/200 in both eyes
VA Housebound Benefits
As implied by the name, VA housebound benefits are for veterans who spend most of the day at home because of an illness or disability that makes it inconvenient or impossible to venture out. When the need to go out arises, you or your loved one would have to receive the assistance of someone in order to do so. Keep in mind that recipients cannot receive Aid & Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits simultaneously; it’s either one or the other.
Similar to Aid & Attendance benefits, applicants for Housebound benefits must already be receiving a pension or survivor’s pension. To simplify things, you may choose to apply for benefits at the same time as applying for your pension.