If your senior veteran is approaching the age where they may need assistance or monitoring for daily life, it’s time to consider what kind of long-term care options are available. There are many different senior living options available, including those that offer assisted living benefits for veterans. Your choice may depend on factors such as price, access to pension benefits, the presence of fellow veterans, the location, extra services included, and more.
Assisted Living For Veterans
Assisted living facilities are available for veterans to spend their golden years in. This can be done through a rented apartment or room along with other residents. In most facilities, there are also shared living spaces such as dining rooms, exercise rooms, quiet areas, community pools, lawns, and more. In some facilities, residents can even to have their own kitchen within their room. If needed, Veterans can also get the assistance of trained caregivers who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained caregivers can assist veterans with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, and operating machinery/technology. Veterans who are eligible can also cover a portion of their costs using VA pensions. The VA will not pay rent, but they can cover the costs of extra services such as trained caregivers while the veteran is in the assisted living facility.
The level of assistance is typically less than nursing homes because there is a higher degree of independence expected in assisted living. There are also more recreational and communal activities available for residents to participate in.
Is Your Veteran Eligible
VA pensions will not cover living facilities unless your veteran is utilizing extra services related to aid and assistance. This eligibility is based on clinical verification as well as availability within the facility. The best way to determine eligibility is to call your facility and find out if they can assist you in covering some of your expenses through the VA. They will either work with you or direct you to the VA. With the assistance of your facility or a VA caseworker, you can find out what costs are covered and work to start unlocking those benefits. If you need help with the following activities and are a United States Veteran, you may be eligible for VA pension benefits for assisted living:
- Help with daily activities of living such as dressing and bathing
- Help taking medication
- Help through some form of nursing assistance (could be related to memory care or PTSD symptoms)
- Help to prepare or eat meals
Veterans or their surviving spouses must be at least 65 or officially disabled if younger.
Period of Military Service
Veterans must be considered “wartime veterans” meaning they served at least 90 days and served at least one day during the wartime dates below, but not necessarily in combat.
- World War II: Dec 7, 1941 – Dec 31, 1946
- Korean War: June 27, 1950 - Jan 31, 1955
- Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
- Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 - Undetermined
Veterans cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
To qualify, veterans must have a combined, countable income that is less than the pension amount for which they are eligible. For example, a married veteran that is eligible for $20,028 must have a countable income less than this number. If the married veteran’s income is $10,000, then they qualify for an additional $10,000 in pension benefits.
The VA also allows applicants to deduct expenses and forms of income from their countable income. It’s important to explore all possible options for deducting income and costs, because your actual income may be much higher than your countable income.
Community Living Centers
CLC’s (or Community Living Centers) are similar to nursing homes, but the VA owns them as opposed to privately funded. The Department of Veterans Affairs owns many community living centers and also contract with some community nursing homes to provide residency for veterans. These facilities offer similar services and amenities to assisted living facilities and are generally not as expensive. However, there are not as many of these facilities available because the VA is limited by how much funding they receive from the government. Residents of community living centers generally pay for their stay through the VA Health Care system. In some cases, residents also must pay co-pays out of pocket.
State Veterans Homes
These facilities are similar to community living centers. However, their name is somewhat confusing. The VA does not run state Veterans Homes, they are owned and operated by state governments. However, the VA does oversee their certification and runs audits to make sure they are staying up to date while providing adequate care to veterans. These homes are for long-term care and can include the same services available at community living centers and assisted living facilities. Residents typically pay for State Veterans Homes through the VA Healthcare system, Medicaid, Medicare, or through the Aid and Attendance pension benefit. It is federally required that there be at least one VA Home in every state, so search online to find one near you.
Medical Foster Home Care
This type of residency is a private residence where trained caregivers manage and oversee a small number of individuals. This option is an alternative appealing to veterans who may require the assistance of nursing home staff but desire the privacy of fewer residents and non-institutional location. The VA does not typically cover these types of homes, but Veterans should consult with their caseworker at the VA to determine their eligibility.
Military Retirement Communities
Military retirement communities can be run either privately or through federal funding. Both are retirement communities specially dedicated to veterans, with housing options that suit all preferred long-term care residence requirements. Requirements could be anything from assisted living to skilled nursing care. Some only admit military residents while others also allow the general public to take residence. The Armed Forces Retirement Home is a federal military retirement community located in Minnesota and Washington D.C.
Landmark Senior Living cares about those who served our country and those who continue to do so. That’s why we’re working to help senior veterans and their spouses unlock the benefits available to them through pensions offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you’re looking for assisted living benefits for Veterans, visit Landmark Senior Living in Fall River.