Did you know that more than two million veterans receive long-term care from family members or professional caregivers? While some veterans receive financial help and assistance offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many are still unaware of the VA programs that could help pay the cost of their long-term care (source). If you are a veteran over the age of 65, there are many health benefits and long-term care options available to you. One of those options is the Aid & Attendance (A&A) and Housebound benefit. Find out about this great benefit and how to apply for it below.
Aid & Attendance and Housebound Program
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to a monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to pension. The benefit may be available for family members who are caring for a veteran. The benefit — up to $2,019 a month for a veteran or up to $1,094 a month for a surviving spouse — may be used to help a person stay at home longer and avoid moving into a nursing home before it’s medically necessary.
How to Apply and Access Your A&A and Housebound Benefit
To apply and access your A & A Housebound benefit, confirm that you have filed a claim for pension benefits (VA Form 21-526). If you have, you should continue using the same office you applied to for your pension benefits. If not, you need to file for your pension benefits as soon as possible. The pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans (or surviving spouses) who have limited or no income, and who are aged 65+, or, if under 65, who are permanently and totally disabled.
To apply, follow these steps:
- Gather your application documents together as you will need the following:
- Evidence that validates the A&A or Housebound care is needed which should be a report from an attending physician.
- Discharge or Separation Documents (DD214)
- VA Form 21-22 if a Veteran’s Service Organization or 21-22a if individual is acting as the claimant’s representative
- Form 21-4142: Authorization and Consent to Release Information to the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Assisted living physician Statement, VA Form 21-2680
- Marriage certificate and death certificate (if applicable)
- Banking and Asset information
- Driver’s license
- Emergency Contact information
- Voided check for direct deposit
- Choose your application location:
- Contact your application center before submitting any material to ensure you have everything you need.
- Submit your application for review and approval.
- Be prepared to wait and follow-up on the status:
- This process may take six to nine months. Make sure to follow-up on the status of your application.
Who Can Help You Apply for the A&A and Housebound Benefit?
The following professionals are those that the Department of Veterans Affairs credits as having been trained to help you complete and file pension claims. Those with accreditation are not allowed to charge you to complete and submit your forms:
- Independent claims agents
- Private attorneys
- Representatives of VA-recognized Veterans Service Organizations like the Senior Veterans Council.
What is the Senior Veterans Council?
The Senior Veterans Council, the motto of which is ‘You served us, Now it’s our turn to serve you', is an accredited agency that is dedicated to making the sometimes complicated process of receiving the aid and attendance benefit much easier for veterans, spouses (or surviving spouses). They can help navigate the process and complete the required forms in a timely manner, alleviating headaches and minimizing stress. In addition, the council can also help with many other benefits associated with long-term care and senior living solutions. If you believe you are eligible for A&A Housebound benefit, contact them at 919-825-1300 or click here.
You need to get started immediately to determine if you or your aging loved one is eligible. Once confirmed, begin the application process, since it can take some time before it is approved and the benefit can be claimed.