Who Qualifies for VA Benefits for Assisted Living?

Older men standing near US flags

For all that U.S. Veterans have sacrificed for our country, it's only right that they are shown gratitude and receive financial assistance as they age in life. That's why the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers plenty of benefits to help older vets offset the costs of senior care.

It is good to know all of your options so you make the best decision for your care and/or the care of your loved ones who have served in the armed forces. Keep reading to learn more about who qualifies for VA benefits for assisted living (and what those benefits cover).

6 Veterans Benefits that Can Help Pay for Senior Living

VA benefits that are in place for elderly veterans and/or their loved ones who are wanting to offset senior care costs include:

  1. VA long-term care benefits
  2. Standard VA pensions
  3. VA Survivors benefits
  4. Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefits
  5. Housebound allowances
  6. Disability compensation

Keep reading to learn more about each below, including the requirements for eligibility and how to apply.

1. VA Health Care Benefits

The VA health care program is for qualifying veterans and covers many health care-related services. VA health care benefits can include covering long-term care services for elderly, sick, and disabled vets.

What Long-Term Care Services are Available from the VA?

Elderly veterans who are already enrolled in this program may be able to receive long-term care services through the VA, including:

Where Can Older Veterans Receive Long-Term Care Services?

Long-term care services covered by the VA don't have to be received in a VA-run facility. Eligible veterans can receive these services from plenty of other locations, including:

  • Skilled nursing care communities (nursing homes)
  • Assisted living communities
  • Group homes
  • Adult day care centers
  • In the home (home health care)

What are the Eligibility Requirements for VA Long-Term Care Benefits?

The following must all be true in order for these long-term care services to be covered by the VA:

  • Veteran is already enrolled in the VA health care program
  • VA determines that the veteran requires assistance with medical/personal care needs
  • Veteran is near a location where they can receive these services

To begin the application process for the VA health care program, please visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/.

2. VA Pension Benefits

VA pension benefits are monthly payments for eligible (typically senior) veterans.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for VA Pension Benefits?

To be eligible for a VA pension, the following must be true:

Eligibility requirements also must include at least one of the following.

What are the Military Service Requirements to Receive a VA Pension?

According to the official U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, at least one of the following must apply for a veteran to be eligible for a pension:

  • Active duty began before September 8, 1980, and service included at least 90 days of active duty with at least one of those days being during wartime
  • If enlisted, active duty began after September 7, 1980, and service was at least 24 months/full period with at least one of those days being during wartime
  • If an officer, active duty began after October 16, 1981 and the officer had not "previously served on active duty for at least 24 months"

The VA currently recognizes the following wartime periods in regards to VA pension eligibility:

  • Mexican border period: May 9, 1916, - April 5, 1917
  • World War I: April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918
  • World War II: December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946
  • Korean conflict: June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War era: November 1, 1955 - May 7, 1975 (for those who served in Vietnam) and August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975 (for those who served outside Vietnam)
  • Gulf War: August 2, 1990 - currently undetermined future date

To begin applying for a standard VA pension, please visit https://www.va.gov/pension/how-to-apply/.

How Much are VA Pension Monthly Payments?

VA pension benefits can vary based on many factors and the exact payment amount can change on a yearly basis. That said, the basic VA monthly pension amount is determined by subtracting the veteran's countable income from their maximum annual pension rate (MAPR).

MAPR amounts for veterans are as follows:

  • No dependents, doesn't qualify for A&A or Housebound benefits - $16,037
  • No dependents, qualifies for Housebound allowance - $19,598
  • No dependents, qualifies for A&A - $26,752
  • 1 dependent, doesn't qualify for A&A or Housebound benefits - $21,001
  • 1 dependent, qualifies for Housebound allowance - $24,562
  • 1 dependent, qualifies for A&A - $31,714
  • Veterans married to each other, neither qualifies for A&A or Housebound benefits - $21,001
  • Veterans married to each other, only 1 qualifies for Housebound benefits - $24,562
  • Veterans married to each other, both qualify for Housebound benefits - $28,121
  • Veterans married to each other, only 1 qualifies for A&A - $31,714
  • Veterans married to each other, 1 qualifies for A&A and 1 qualifies for Housebound benefits - $35,266
  • Veterans married to each other, both qualify for A&A - $42,433

You can learn more about the exact MAPR amounts by visiting https://www.va.gov/pension/veterans-pension-rates/.

3. VA Survivors Benefits

VA Survivors benefits are for eligible family members (spouses, dependents, and/or survivors) and caregivers of wartime veterans. Survivors benefits can include a pension, health care, home loans, burial services, life insurance, and monetary assistance for education and training.

Eligibility Requirements for VA Survivors Benefits

Eligibility for Survivors benefits will vary depending on several factors, including the specific type of benefits someone applies for. That said, the following typically must be true to be eligible for many VA Survivors benefits:

  • Veteran did not receive a dishonorable discharge
  • Veteran's service met certain eligibility requirements (see above)
  • The surviving spouse has not remarried after being widowed
  • Has a limited income/net worth
  • Dependent children are under a certain age or cannot care for themselves due to a disability that occurred before the age of 18

To begin applying for a VA Survivors pension, please visit https://www.va.gov/pension/survivors-pension/.

4. VA Aid & Attendance

Veterans Aid & Attendance (A&A) is for qualified veterans and/or their eligible family members with specific personal care needs or who require certain long-term care services.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for A&A Benefits?

Eligibility requirements for Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits include:

  • Being eligible for standard veterans benefits
  • Needing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), either in home-care services or in a residential setting, such as state veterans homes or assisted living communities
  • Not currently receiving Housebound benefits

To learn more about beginning the application process for VA Aid & Attendance, please visit https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/.

5. VA Housebound Benefits

Like A&A benefits, Housebound benefits are for eligible veterans and spouses who require assistance with day-to-day tasks. The difference is that the Housebound allowance is exclusively for homebound individuals.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Housebound Benefits?

People who qualify for VA Housebound benefits:

  • Are already eligible for standard veterans benefits
  • Have a permanent disability that keeps the individual home
  • Are not currently receiving A&A benefits

To learn more about beginning the application process for the Housebound allowance, please visit https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/.

6. VA Disability Compensation

Disability compensation from the VA is a tax-free payment distributed monthly to disabled veterans with a service-connected disability. In other words, the veteran is disabled as a result of their service or the veteran had a pre-existing condition that worsened due to service. The disability can be either physical or mental.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Disability Compensation?

Veterans may be eligible for this compensation if they:

To learn more about applying for VA disability benefits, please visit https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/.

Honoring Veterans at St. Andrew's

St. Andrew's is a proud supporter of our armed forces. That is why we work with families and their caregivers to determine the best type of care for veterans and how best their VA benefits can help them pay for assisted living and other senior care services within our network.

Along with Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, and/or Medicaid, VA benefits can help pay for senior living. Specifically, the VA health care program, VA pension, VA survivors pension, VA Aid & Attendance pension benefits, Housebound allowance, and disability compensation can all help offset costs associated with senior care, including in-home care and assisted living costs.

Reach out for more information on acceptance of VA benefits and other forms of financial assistance at St. Andrew's

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