Last month we discussed issues and benefits affecting active military members
and their families. This month we will take a brief look at the benefits available for
elderly veterans and their dependents.
VA Benefits are a source of payment often overlooked in elder care planning. Any
person honorably discharged from military service could be eligible for benefits, including:
1. Disability Compensation and Benefits
3. Home Loan Guaranties
4. Education and Training
5. Life Insurance
6. Burial Benefits
7. Benefits for Survivors
8. Health Care Benefits
Eligible veterans can obtain nursing home care through 3 programs: VA-
owned and operated homes (VANH); state owned and operated veterans homes (SNH); and
contract nursing homes located in various communities (CNH). Each of these programs has
its own eligibility and admission requirements. To be admitted to a VANH, the vet
generally must have at least a 70% service-connected disability. The SNH is a venture
between the state and the VA in which the VA provides funding to build the home and pays
a portion of the costs to provide care. The state sets the eligibility criteria for admission. The
CNH meets long-term nursing home care needs for veterans who may not be eligible for or
qualify for placement in either of the other facilities.
To have access to a nursing home, the vet usually must be medically stable, but have a
condition that requires inpatient care. There may be a co-payment for services.
The VA can also provide extended care services, including adult day care, respite care,
hospice and home based primary care.
No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be
performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” ARPC 7.2(e)
A veteran who is in need of regular aid and attendance (A&A) by another or who is
permanently homebound may qualify for additional disability compensation or pension
benefits. If the veteran is at least 30% disabled, he or she can receive a special allowance for
a spouse in need of A&A from another.
For vets who do not require skilled nursing care in a nursing home, but
whose income is limited, the VA may provide rehabilitative, and long-term, health
maintenance care. There are co-payments for this care.
Medical Care for Dependents and Survivors.
Such care may be available to a spouse or
child of a vet who has, or has died from, a permanent and total service-connected disability,
or is a spouse or child of a vet killed in the line of duty – not due to misconduct.
Outpatient Pharmacy Services.
Outpatient pharmacy services are provided free of cost to
veterans with 50% or more service-connected disabilities; veterans below a certain level of
income; veterans receiving medication for service-connected conditions; and former
prisoners of war. Certain other veterans will be charged a co-payment.
The foregoing is a very brief description of benefits available. Be sure to notify your elder
care or estate planner of any military service and be sure to have the date of discharge, and
branch of service.
Obtaining VA benefits can be very time consuming. Perseverance and patience are required
if you are going to get any benefit. You should verify what VA benefits might be available to
you or your spouse by contacting the VA office nearest you as soon as possible. You will
need the Social Security number, date of discharge, and branch of service of the veteran to
get this information. This is very important information for you to keep with all your
Anne R. Moses