Sometimes it can be completely frustrating trying to talk to an aging veteran about home care. He doesn’t want to hear it. At 76, he may still believe he’s just fine. However, you see the signs all around him, the calls for help taking out the garbage, getting something from the store, or pulling down a box from the attic. You’re happy to help your aging father, grandfather, or even a friend or neighbor, but the more often the calls come in for assistance, the more it takes a toll on your own life and time.
One of the common arguments some elderly veterans have about home care is cost.
They don’t have any money left over at the end of the month. How could they possibly pay $1,500, $2,000, or more each month to have a home care aide come in for a few hours every day and help them?
It’s not feasible, reasonable, or possible. Sure, there may be funding options like a reverse mortgage, but that’s not a great solution, especially for veterans who might qualify for the Aid and Attendance pension.
What is Aid and Attendance?
This is a pension program developed by the VA following World War I that provides financial support to qualifying veterans who need home care. Initially it was intended to help soldiers who had been injured and disabled during combat get the care and support they needed as they returned home. It expanded through the years to provide financial assistance to veterans of all ages, whether they were injured or disabled during active duty service or not.
For a veteran under 65, he or she would need to be considered completely disabled in order to be eligible for this pension benefit. For veterans 65 or over, they don’t need to be completely disabled, but a doctor needs to recommend home care services for their safety or mobility.
Also, a veteran’s income and assets cannot exceed a specific threshold in order to be eligible. However, even if a veteran was denied a different pension because of their income and assets, that doesn’t automatically mean they would be denied Aid and Attendance benefits because the threshold limits differ.
It’s important to note that a veteran’s primary residence as well as some other assets that cannot quickly be converted into cash will not likely be added toward that calculation.
Finally, he or she must be considered a wartime veteran, meaning they served at least one day of active duty during a time in which the United States was officially engaged in combat. These combat periods are World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. If they served any time during the Gulf War, their minimum time of service needs to have been two years, otherwise it’s 90 days.