Veterans who served during wartime may be eligible for Aid and Attendance, which can provide $2,000 or more toward the cost of assisted living or other types of senior care. Even a surviving spouse may qualify for related benefits. Since senior care can be tremendously expensive, the benefit can be a blessing.A comparison of the cost of senior care compared to a typical senior’s income shows that most are not able to pay for care with their income alone. According to senior care pricing index, the average monthly cost for the base rent of assisted living in 2014 was $3,771/month, while the median household income for seniors was $2,968/month in 2013 (U.S. Census Bureau). This major difference can be a huge challenge for many seniors. Hopefully, they have savings and other assets to use toward care, and/or maybe they have adult children who can help to contribute. This is where Aid and Attendance may be able to help. Aid and Attendance is a “need based benefit” in which qualified veterans can receive funds to help pay for care if they cannot afford it on their own. However, those veterans that are financially able to pay for care do not instantly qualify.
69% of Veterans Unaware of Benefits
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 9.3 million veterans over age 65. Harris Interactive found that 69% of senior veterans and their loved ones were not aware of available VA benefits such as Aid and Attendance. These are benefits that could make living for seniors so much easier! A longstanding criticism of the VA is that it has not done enough to educate senior veterans about Aid and Attendance – it is almost as if the VA is trying to conceal the benefit.
VA Improves Outreach to Veterans
Most recently, the VA has been reaching out to veterans to make them aware of the benefits they are entitled to. For instance, as we noted in an article about the backlog of pending veterans claims, the VA has adopted online marketing techniques to spread the word about benefits like Aid and Attendance. The VA website now reminds visitors to check whether they are eligible for benefits with a pop-up window. Unfortunately though, our survey shows that there is still much work to be done.
We, at Nannys for Grannys, have many seniors that we currently care for who are eligible for Aid and Attendance. It is because of this assistance that Senior Home Care has been much more affordable for some that would otherwise not be able to use our Licensed Home Care Agency.