Linda A Curtis, LMSW
Memorial Day is a day to celebrate the brave men and women who have served this county. So it also seems to fit that this is a good day to let folks know about what kind of benefits are available to our veterans.
In my work as a Geriatric Care Manager I have seen many of my elderly veterans and their spouses obtain a wide range of services and benefits. Ranging from from cash grants and education assistance to home and community-based services. Eligibility for these programs depends upon several factors including if you incurred a service related disability, the length and type of service, and your income.
Of particular interest to my elderly clients are long-term care health services.
The Aid and Attendance (A&A) and Housebound benefits are two programs that provide financial help for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, and toileting. It also helps pay for care in assisted living facilities. This benefit is only available to those with a wartime service record (and their spouses) who are aged 65 and older and who also qualify for a VA basic pension.
The Choice Program can help you find health care services in your community, as an option to bypass waiting for appointments with the VA or traveling a long distance to get to a VA facility.
VA Blind Rehabilitation Services if you are blind or have low vision. The services can take place in an inpatient or outpatient facility or in your home, based on level of need.
State veterans’ homes are facilities that provide services including rehabilitation and skilled nursing, long-term care, residential care, dementia care, and hospice care.
Telehealth brings routine health care services to your home via technology that connects you to your doctor.
Home hospice care provides comfort and support if you have an advanced stage of a terminal disease.
If your loved one does not have the basic pension he or she may still qualify for VA medical services at a local VA Hospital or clinic. Many vets receive free health care, pharmaceuticals and hospitalization.
The basic criteria for medical care is If you enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, you must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty, unless you were: discharged for a disability that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, or discharged for a hardship.
The VA has several ways to apply for benefits depending upon what you are looking for. Here is a link that shows you the ways you can apply. The VA also has a benefits hotline you can call for information about benefits. VBA Support: 1-800-827-1000
If you loved one is a vet who has served for at least two years it is worth checking out what may be available to you.