Caring for Senior Veterans in South Florida – VA Long Term Care Benefits

In the month of February we celebrate Presidents Day in honor of two great United States Presidents; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Both were heroes of wars fought on U.S soil for freedom and unity of our great country.

The United States has fought many wars throughout the world since that time to keep freedom here at home and continues to do so. From the beginning our country has established a program to care for the men and women of our military who fought in those wars.

The veterans assistance program goes back to 1636 when Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony fought with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims enacted a law from English law that reads, “If any man shall be sent forth as a soldier and shall return maimed, he shall be maintained competently by the colony during his life.” In 1789 U. S. congress passed as law that pensions were to be provided to disabled veterans and their dependents and in 1811 the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was completed.

State veterans homes have been built or are approved for future construction in many states. For a list of state veteran nursing homes, click HERE

Here are some of the senior veterans assistance programs provided for Veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs:

•Health Care Clinics
•Mental Health
•Job training
•Burial and Memorial benefits
•VA Home Loan
•Care Management
•Home Renovation for Disability
•Assisted Living
•Weight management
•Nursing Homes
and much more

Veteran Aid and Attendance Program” is a commonly used term for a little-known veterans’ disability income. The official title of this benefit is “Pension.” The reason for using “aid and attendance” to refer to Pension is that many veterans or their single surviving spouses can become eligible if they have a regular need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver or if they are housebound. Evidence of this need for care must be certified by VA as a “rating.” With a rating, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can now qualify for Pension. Pension is also available to low income veteran households without a rating, but it is a lesser dollar amount.

There are different income categories for Pension, but the highest could pay as much as $1,949 a month in disability income to a qualifying veteran household. A study commissioned by VA in 2001 estimated, over the next 14 years, only about 30% of eligible veterans would apply for Pension. This is likely due to the fact that most veterans simply don’t know about it. In fact, about a third of all seniors in this country, age 65 and older, could become eligible for pension under the right circumstances. That’s how many elderly war veterans or their surviving spouses there are.

To receive Pension, a veteran must have served on active duty, at least 90 days, with at least one of those days during a period of war. There must be a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable. Single surviving spouses of such veterans are also eligible. If younger than 65, the veteran must be totally disabled. If age 65 and older, there is no requirement for disability. There is no age or disability requirement for a single surviving spouse.

There are income requirements, but a special provision does allow household income to be reduced by 12 months worth of future, recurring medical expenses. Normally, income is only reduced by medical expenses incurred in the month of application. These allowable, annualized medical expenses are such things as insurance premiums, ongoing prescription drug costs, out-of-pocket cost of monthly medical equipment rental, the cost of home care, the cost of paying adult children to provide care, the cost of adult day services, the cost of assisted living and the cost of a nursing home facility. These are all considered medical costs and they can be deducted from income to receive this benefit.

For more information on benefits available in South Florida for Senior Veterans, contact Advocare Elder Care Management at 954-349-3133 or visit our website by clicking HERE.

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