Finding the financial resources to pay for the care needed for an elderly loved one is not always easy. U.S. Veterans who are at least 65 years-old and who served at least one day during wartime (though not necessarily in actual combat) may be eligible for financial assistance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to help pay for needed services. Spouses and surviving spouses may also be eligible. If the person you’re caring for is a veteran, their dates of service can be established from their discharge papers. If these papers cannot be located copes can be requested from the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.
Help with understanding the benefit and applying can be sought out through VA Service Officers who are volunteers who work in VA regional offices. The contact information for these offices can be found through local Veteran’s hospitals or at http://www1.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp.
Organization such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) may also be able to provide information.
After the elder’s service record as been confirmed, benefits are determined based on the applicant’s income, assets and needs. There are three tiers of the VA benefit:
- Basic Pension: this is cash assistance for low income veterans and their dependents;
- Household Benefit: this is for housebound elders who need assistance with day-to-day activities on a regular basis;
- Aid and Attendance: assistance with day-to-day activities must be required on a daily basis.
The journey through the application can be daunting and complex. Speaking to a VA Service Officer is more helpful than tackling it on your own. You can locate a VA accredited attorney or benefits representative at http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/