Veteran Aid and Benefits for Seniors
In honor of Veterans Day 2020, we’re not only thanking past members of our military for their service and sacrifices, we’re also focusing on a very important issue – veteran care for older adults. With over 12.5 million veterans aged 65 and older in the USA, it’s essential that we work to raise awareness of the medical care and financial assistance programs available to senior veterans, so that those who need a little extra help can access the benefits they deserve.
Here is some important information and resources from our home health aides in New Jersey that you can share with veterans and your local community.
What benefits are senior veterans entitled to collect?
If you are a U.S. military veteran, you likely qualify for VA health and financial assistance such as pensions, healthcare, disability compensation, insurance, home loans, education, and vocational training. There are many senior services you can apply these benefits to, including in-home care. Unique qualifying criteria apply to each benefit and you can get the full information online at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but general eligibility requirements are as follows:
- If you are a war veteran with 90 days of active military duty on your record, with at least one day served during a period of war
- If you pass an Income and Asset Test through the VA. This test compares out-of-pocket medical expenses against your gross assets and income
- If you are a veteran who left military service with an honorable discharge
Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A)
This is an important benefit that applies to veterans, as well as their dependent spouses in the event that either one requires assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes having a home health aide to assist with bathing, grooming, dressing, and medication management, or living in an assisted living community. This benefit is paid in addition to the monthly military pension to help cover long-term care costs for assisted living or home health aides.
Aid for housebound veterans
Additional pension provisions can be supplied to veterans living with permanent disability who are unable to leave their home or immediate premises. Veterans and their dependent spouses may receive this provision or A&A, but cannot receive both simultaneously.
Benefits for veterans in rural areas
With almost a quarter of veterans living in rural areas, where incomes are lower and limited access to VA centers, gaining access to veteran benefits is more difficult. However, there are programs available specifically for rural veterans, including the Veterans Choice Program (VCP). This is part of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (2014) and applies to veterans who have to receive healthcare from a community provider because the VA medical facility is over 40 miles away; or they have to use a train, ferry or aircraft to access the facility; or are in a position of having to wait 30 days or more for a VA appointment. You can set up an appointment for these benefits here.
Agent Orange compensation
Veterans who have health issues due to exposure to Agent Orange (a chemical herbicide used by the U.S. military in Korea and Vietnam) may be eligible for compensation. In order to be eligible, you must have an illness that is caused by exposure to this herbicide and you must have served in a location that exposed you to the herbicide. These illnesses include cancers like Hodgkin’s Disease, chronic B-cell leukemia, prostate cancer, and respiratory cancers, amongst others. You can see the full list of illnesses and information on making a claim for compensation online on the V.A. Agent Orange website.
At United Methodist Communities, we provide elderly veterans care in New Jersey through tailored home care provided by experienced, compassionate home health aides who have a passion for working with seniors. To find out more about our home-based care services, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/home-health-aide-services/