Many wartime veterans and their surviving spouses will need some type of long-term care in the near future. The Veterans Administration may have funds that are available to help pay for this care. Unfortunately, many are not aware of these benefits.
There are three types of “pension benefits.” The veteran (or surviving spouse) does not need to have service-related injuries, but must meet certain eligibility requirements for wartime service, age and/or disability, and income/assets.
Pension with Aid and Attendance. This benefit offers the highest possible monthly payment. It provides benefits for a veteran or surviving spouse who requires the attendance of another person to assist in activities of daily living, is blind, or is a patient in a nursing home. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies. Currently, this benefit can provide up to $1,794 per month to a veteran, $1,153 to a surviving spouse, or $2,127 to a couple. A physician’s statement that verifies the claimant’s condition and need for assistance is required.
Pension with Housebound Allowance, which has a slightly lower benefit, will help those who do not qualify for Aid and Attendance, and who wish to remain in either their own home or the home of a family member. This pension requires that the individual needs regular assistance, but the criteria are not as limited as for those who would qualify for Aid and Attendance. Care can be provided by family members or outside caregiver agencies. A physician’s statement documenting the claimant’s medical needs is required.
Basic Pension is for veterans and surviving spouses who are age 65 or older or are disabled, and who have limited income and assets. No physician’s statement documenting a medical need is required.
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