Dear Donna:

My brother and I recently started looking for an assisted living community for our parents. Over the past few months, it’s become clear that remaining in their home is no longer an option.

Both parents have had falls inside and outside their house. Luckily, they haven’t been seriously injured. Their 60-year-old home just wasn’t built with senior safety in mind. They’ve also given up driving and don’t like depending on us for transportation.

A neighbor told me her dad was a veteran and qualified for some help through the Veteran’s Administration. Is this a program that residents in assisted living who are veterans can utilize? I’m not sure how to learn more about it.

Kind regards,

Cynthia in Grand Blanc, MI

The Aid and Attendance Benefit for Veterans

Dear Cynthia:

I’m glad you asked this question! It gives us an opportunity to talk about the Aid and Attendance benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses. The benefit can make financing care much more affordable for qualifying seniors. We have many residents at Heritage Senior Communities who utilize this program.

The Aid and Attendance benefit provides financial support to veterans and their spouses or the surviving spouses of deceased veterans. Veterans 65 or older who served at least 90 days of active military service, of which at least one day was during an acknowledged period of war, may be eligible. This benefit also applies to veterans’ surviving spouses.

There are additional factors to know about this program:

  • Your parents must have demonstrated need for assistance. The Veteran’s Administration will assess a variety of issues, including how well the seniors are able to perform daily activities and if one or both of them have a disability.
  • The veteran must have been honorably discharged from service.
  • The veteran doesn’t have to have been injured during their service to qualify for financial assistance.
  • Applicants must already be receiving a VA pension or must be eligible to apply.

A veteran must have served least 90 days of active military service. At least one day of that service needs to have been during an acknowledged period of war. Here are the wars and conflicts that meet the period of war requirement set by the Veteran’s Administration:

  • 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 era (November 1, 1955–May 7, 1975 for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise, August 5, 1964–May 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990–a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

Finally, the Veteran’s Administration will evaluate the family’s yearly income and net worth to determine if they qualify and how much financial assistance they will receive. This is based on income and asset guidelines that are adjusted each year by Congress.

I know this can be an overwhelming amount of information to process! If you don’t have a financial advisor familiar with this program, I encourage you to call the Heritage Senior Community nearest you for more information!

Kind regards,