Recently, Finding Assisted Living published an article (“Are there any benefits that help pay for an assisted living facility”) detailing a benefit that may be available to veterans or their surviving spouses. For those who are eligible, this benefit may help to pay for the cost of an assisted living facility. When applied to the veteran himself or herself, this program is most commonly called the “Aid and Attendance” or A & A benefit. It is called the “Improved Death Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance” entitlement when applied to a veteran’s surviving spouse.
The Aid and Attendance benefit is one of the lesser known benefits available to veterans. Many veterans and even some attorneys or financial planners may not correctly understand it. Qualifying for A & A benefits does not depend on service-related injuries; it is intended for veterans and surviving spouses who require the attendance of another person to assist with routine daily functions such as eating, bathing and dressing. The residents of assisted living facilities commonly fall into this category.
The qualifications for A & A benefits include wartime service with an honorable discharge, limited net worth and income, being 65 or older or having a permanent disability from a non-service-connected cause. Understanding this benefit may be difficult. It does not directly pay for an assisted living facility, but there is a work around. When the VA decides you meet the limited income requirement for A & A, it will subtract the amount you pay for an assisted living facility from your cash income.
If you are paying for an assisted living facility from your own funds, the amount you pay to that facility will be deducted from your income from all sources (Social Security, pension income, interest, etc.) to determine if you meet the “limited income” requirement. Subtracting the cost of an assisted living facility from a veteran’s total income makes many of them eligible for A & A benefits. The amount of the benefit is the difference between your income from all sources and the assisted living facility costs you pay. It maxes out at $1949 per month. That is an annual benefit of up to $23,388 for a veteran or spouse who is in assisted living!
Applying and qualifying for A & A benefits can be a complicated process. One of your best sources for information and help is the Veterans Administration itself. Each county in Florida has a Veterans Services Office that can help with questions about all veterans’ affairs. Click County Veteran Services Offices to find the one in your county.
If you are looking for one of the VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinics, FAL can give you the information you need by clicking VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics. You will find the address, phone and map information to help locate the outpatient clinic nearest to you.
Of course, Florida has its share of VA Medical Centers and Outpatient Clinics to serve the states thousands of veterans. Many of the VA medical Centers are associated with teaching hospitals and medical schools. Click one of the links above to locate a VA medical center or outpatient clinic near you.
The VA maintains numerous Veterans Service Centers including many in Florida. To locate one near you, click Florida Veterans Service Centers. You will find the addresses, phone numbers, maps and other useful information about the service center nearest to you. Regional Service Programs and Community Service Programs for Florida veterans are distributed over the state. Locations, phone numbers and map directions can be found at the above links.
Veterans’ benefits are one piece of the senior life transition puzzle. For many seniors and their families, these important programs may be vital parts of an overall plan. The VA can provide information and help about the A & A benefit and other programs at the links above. For help with these and other programs you can turn to Finding Assisted Living and FindingAssistedLiving.com. Please call on FAL to provide expert, trustworthy advice and assistance in finding home care options, assisted living facilities or a range of other options.
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