Understanding Your Options
As a veteran, you may have multiple financial benefits available to you that can help cover the cost of senior living. Even if you didn’t serve long enough to draw a retirement check, you could still be eligible for a VA pension that might result in thousands of extra dollars a month. If you are a spouse or child of a veteran you could also qualify for a tax-free monthly stipend.
Many veterans aren’t fully maximizing the benefits available to them. But if you meet the income and eligibility requirements, you could begin receiving a monthly stipend that could drastically reduce (or eliminate) the cost of senior living. Discover more about the different options available to you.*
One of the better-known veteran benefits is the VA Pension. According to VA.gov, in order for a veteran to qualify for a pension, they must meet these minimum requirements:
Generally, a veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty service, with at least one day during a wartime period to qualify for a VA Pension. If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least one day during a wartime period.
In addition to meeting minimum service requirements, the Veteran must be:
- Age 65 or older, OR
- Totally and permanently disabled, OR
- A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
Your income is also a big factor in determining whether or not you can receive a stipend, and how much that amount will be. Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the Veterans Pension benefit. Learn more about income and net worth limitation, and see an example of how VA calculates the VA Pension benefit.
Aid and Attendance (A&A) and Housebound
If you do qualify for a VA Pension, then you may also be entitled to an additional monthly amount through the Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. These benefits were established to help veterans pay for health-related care like they would get through a nursing home or assisted living facility.
You can quality for the Aid & Attendance allowance if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
- You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
Like the A&A benefit, Housebound is an increased monthly amount on top of your regular pension, and it’s available to those are substantially confined to their immediate premises because of permanent disability. This monthly amount can be used to offset the costs of at-home care.
According to the VA’s website, a veteran or surviving spouse may not receive A&A benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time. Since A&A and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these rates.
The Survivors Pension benefit is a tax-free, monthly financial benefit available to an un-remarried, surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.
In order to be eligible for this benefit, the deceased veteran must meet the requirements outlined under the VA Pension section listed above. A spouse can access this benefit at any age, as long as he/she remains unmarried and meets the low-income requirements. However a child of a deceased Veteran with wartime service must be:
- Under 18, OR
- Under age 23 if attending a VA-approved school, OR
- Permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18
The Survivors Pension is based on your yearly family income, which must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify. If you want to get more information or apply for any of the pensions mentioned above, you can do so through the VA website.
Or, if you’re interested in finding out more about the options you have to finance your senior living life, call us today or fill out a contact form.
* Information on this page is for general purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for financial, legal, tax, accounting or other professional advice. Call Brookdale for more specific information.