One of the biggest hesitations for families in considering assisted living is the fear they won’t be able to afford the cost. But what many don’t realize is that they may not have to bear the financial responsibility alone, especially if they’re a wartime Veteran or the surviving spouse of a Veteran. There’s a VA benefit for assisted living known as Veterans Aid & Attendance that may be able to help.
Although Veterans Aid & Attendance has been around since the 1950s, it’s a relatively unknown benefit, and even those who are aware often don’t fully understand the difference it can make when it comes to paying for retirement living in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Who Is Eligible for Veterans Aid and Attendance?
This VA benefit for assisted living starts with the Basic Pension and, depending on your medical need, gives you a rating which may add money to your pension. But you must meet certain criteria which are generally described here:
1. Military service
Served on Active Duty at least one day during a Period of War, at least 90 days in total and you were other than dishonorably discharged. Or, your spouse at the time of their death met this criterion.
Periods of War for the VA Pension Benefit
- WWII – Dec 7, 1941 thru Dec 31, 1946
- KOREAN WAR – June 27, 1950 thru Jan 31, 1955
- VIETNAM WAR
- From Feb 28, 1961 thru Aug 4, 1964 only if you served in the country of Vietnam.
- Aug 5, 1964 thru May 7, 1975 no matter where in the world you served.
- PERSIAN GULF – Aug 2, 1990 thru a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation of law. Here, minimum active-duty requirement is 2 years or period for which you were called up active, whichever is shorter.
Download our free Financial Planning for Retirement Living Guide to learn more about funding assisted living care.
2. Medical requirement
The medical rating is determined by the Veteran’s medical situation if alive, of that of their surviving spouse. The applicant must meet at least one of these medical requirements in order to be eligible for this VA benefit for assisted living:
- You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding and
- You have to stay in bed – or spend a large portion of the day in bed – because of illness.
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related
- to a disability.
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less).
3. Financial requirements
This two-pronged requirement takes into account income and assets. Household income of the Veteran or surviving spouse must be less than the pension in which you are applying. However, you can deduct your medical insurance premiums, including Medicare, as well as the cost of home care and independent or assisted living fees.
The amount of assets you can have is equal to the Maximum Federal Community Spouse Resource Allowance defined by Medicaid – which is $130,773 for 2021. Assets exclude your primary home, family transportation and your normal personal possessions
2022 Maximum Monthly Benefits for Assisted Living
For Veterans or their surviving spouse who are eligible to receive Aid & Attendance, the maximum monthly benefit in 2022 is:
Single Veteran: $2,050
Married Veteran: $2,431
Surviving Spouse: $1,318
Two Married Veterans: $3,261
How this VA Benefit for Assisted Living Increases Your Buying Power
VA Aid & Attendance is designed to take care of Veterans and their spouses over the long-term, even as their needs change. Benefits are paid monthly and are tax-free. Another plus is this benefit opens up more options when it comes to choosing the assisted living community that fits your needs best, even if those needs change over time, as you are able to remain in the community longer than your budget otherwise may have allowed.
Applying for the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit
While Aid & Attendance is a wonderful benefit that can help wartime Veterans or their surviving spouse pay for assisted living costs, it can be a daunting process to navigate on your own. Meeting with a VA accredited agent can help. This person can expertly navigate the rules and regulations and ensure that you get the benefits you deserve. You may have heard that it can take 12 to 18 months for your application for this VA benefit for assisted living to be approved—but a VA accredited agent can often reduce that timeframe significantly.
Retirement Living in Beverly, Massachusetts: Put Your Benefits to Work For You.
Searching for the right assisted living community is an important endeavor and one that requires a lot of thought and bit of homework. Knowing about all the financial resources at your disposal is a vital component. At The Herrick House, we are here to help answer your questions. We honor our Veterans and welcome you to find out more.