Are You Taking Full Advantage of Your Veterans Benefits?
- Veterans Receiving a Pension May Be Eligible for Additional Cash Benefits
- Learn About Lesser-Known Benefit Programs
- Get Help Applying for Veterans Benefits
There are a variety of financial supports available to offset in-home care costs for seniors. For veterans suffering from severe illness, disabilities or extensive loss of eyesight, those costs can be at least partially addressed by the Aid and Attendance benefit program or potentially by a Housebound Status allowance. These may not cover the full cost of in-home care, but they may prove invaluable for putting the coverage of those costs, or the costs of assisted living, in reach for eligible applicants or their surviving spouses.
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Status benefits are supplementary payments issued to those already eligible for a monthly VA pension. There are additional prerequisites to become eligible, but you only need to meet one of them to qualify. The amount of aid you can receive depends on a variety of factors.
Eligibility for In-Home Care Benefits
In addition to receiving a VA pension, a veteran has to meet at least one of four criteria to qualify for the additional Aid and Attendance Benefit for in-home care:
- Needing another person’s assistance to perform activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, OR
- Being bedridden (for at least large portions of each day) due to illness, OR
- Disability-related loss of mental or physical capacity having left them in nursing home care, OR
- Extremely limited eyesight even with contact lenses or spectacles (5/200 sight in both eyes or 5 degrees or less of vision due to concentric contraction of the visual field)
To be eligible for a Housebound Status allowance, you must be a VA pension recipient required to spend significant time in your home because of a permanent disability.
Applying for Aid & Attendance or Housebound Benefits
It’s not possible to receive Aid & Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time. Applicants will need to choose the program they’re most eligible for and that best fits their needs.
The Veterans Affairs site provides downloadable forms and guidelines for the kinds of supporting evidence that can be included in an application. It also provides an FAQ that covers the impact of COVID-19 on the application process and the availability of assistance through regional offices.
Veterans Affairs provides support through Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) to help guide you through the process, gather supporting documentation and even file claims on your behalf.
How Much Veteran In-Home Care Benefits or Allowances Pay
The overall level of support provided by an Aid and Attendance pension or a Housebound Status allowance depends on whether you are:
- A married veteran (or a veteran with a common-law spouse)
- Without a spouse or surviving child
- The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran
As a general guideline, the maximum payments from each program rank in descending order of highest to lowest in the above categories. Aid and Attendance benefits tend to pay slightly more than a Housebound Status allowance (the highest possible amounts for single veterans being $2,050 per month for the former and $1,502 per month for the latter).
Further factors that affect the amounts of these payments include time and length of service, circumstances of discharge and total monthly income. To get a precise understanding of the level of benefits possible, you should work with a Veterans Service Officer.
What Portion of In-Home Care These Programs Cover
According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of in-home care in America is $4,957. This can vary widely depending on your home state and the region you live in. It’s important to research your local costs to get a clear idea of the overall impact these benefits can have on you.