Dear Donna:

My mom is almost 80 years old and starting to require more help than our family can manage in her home. My husband, children, and I have been providing support to my mom every day for over two years now. She needs assistance with household tasks, transportation, meal preparation, and laundry. Some days, mom even needs a helping hand to take a shower and do her hair.

My father passed away several years ago, and he was a veteran. I’ve been told there is a special benefit that veterans and surviving spouses can qualify for, but I’m not familiar with it. While my mother and father were always good at managing their money, my mom lives on a fairly tight retirement budget.

We hope to find some financial assistance to help pay for in-home care for her while we search for an assisted living community. What types of care does this benefit cover and would my mom qualify?


Theresa in Williamsburg, MI

Learn More about the Aid and Attendance Benefit

Dear Theresa:

I’m glad you wrote to me about this benefit that helps qualifying veterans and surviving spouses connect with the senior care they need. It isn’t very well known, so it is frequently overlooked.

Let me start by saying it sounds as if your family is on the right track. People often use home care services as a short-term solution. It provides support that gives families time to look for an assisted living community that best meets their senior loved one’s needs.

In addition to assisted living communities and nursing care centers, home care services may be covered by the VA Aid and Attendance benefit. That’s because having professional caregivers visit the senior’s home to perform tasks such as bathing, grooming, meal preparation, laundry, and light housekeeping improves safety, health, and quality of life.

Requirements for Aid and Attendance Benefit

To qualify on the physical needs side of the benefit, the veteran or surviving spouse must meet at least one of the following physical requirements:

  • Need another person to assist with everyday tasks, such as grooming, meal preparation, bathing, and dressing.
  • Be bedridden or spend long periods of time in bed due to an illness or disability.
  • Be a patient in a nursing home due to a disability that led to the loss of physical or mental abilities.
  • Have limited eyesight, such as 5/200 with glasses or contacts or a concentric contraction of visual field to 5 or fewer degrees.

Answering how a veteran or surviving spouse qualifies to receive additional money through the Aid and Attendance benefit is a little tougher. There are income and net worth limits, dates of service requirements, as well as other factors. One of the Heritage team members can likely walk you through this part of the process.

I hope this information is useful to you, Theresa. I invite you to call one of our Heritage Senior Communities locations near your Michigan home. We’ll be happy to schedule an in-person meeting to answer your questions about this benefit and assisted living.

Kind regards,