We know that the search for financial help for the care of your loved one with dementia can be time-consuming and challenging. Like so many others, you may not be aware that the Veterans Benefits Administration offers several program options that can help with the financial aspects of memory care, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound allowance.
What is the VA Aid and Attendance program?
VA Aid and Attendance is a monthly supplemental income that is added to an existing VA pension for veterans and surviving spouses that meet specific eligibility requirements, especially those that require daily assistance due to a disabling condition. If you are wondering if your loved one who lives with dementia might be eligible for Aid and Attendance, the required conditions closely match the existence and outcome of the most common symptoms of dementia: memory loss, communication difficulties, inability to focus and pay attention, reasoning, and judgment, and visual perception that lead to the need for daily assistance from a caregiver or memory care.
What is the VA Housebound program?
The VA Housebound program assists permanently disabled veterans with additional pension benefits when individuals are confined to their homes.
Does VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Pay for Memory Care?
Aid and Attendance benefits do help to cover the cost of assisted living, memory care, and qualified in-home care services.
Related article: Is Memory Care More Expensive than Assisted Living?
Per the Senior Veterans Service Alliance, VA benefits for in-home care can be received for medical services provided by a licensed healthcare entity, and benefits also provide for personal care of the disabled person and maintenance of the disabled person’s immediate environment (i.e., housekeeping, shopping, food preparation, managing medications, and communication, etc.).
As a comparison, Medicare or Medicaid typically covers home healthcare agencies, so the person receiving care at home usually does not have to pay out-of-pocket for the services. However, the benefits are commonly limited to rehabilitation from an injury or disease, or a hospital or nursing home stay. But VA benefits align with the needs of people who are chronically ill and disabled and require long-term custodial care.
Who is Eligible for VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits?
Veterans and surviving spouses are only eligible for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits if the individual already receives a VA pension, or if the individual applies for a VA pension and benefits at the same time. These benefits are available for veterans and their survivors who do not have a service-connected disability from the military.
VA Aid and Attendance Eligibility
In addition to the VA pension requirement, the applicant must also meet at least one of the following conditions to be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance benefits:
- Require assistance from another person to complete basic daily requirements, such as bathing, feeding, and dressing
- Spend a large portion of each day in bed due to illness
- Currently living as a patient in a qualifying nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability
- Limited eyesight (having 5/200 vision, or less, in both eyes, or a visual field of 5 degrees or fewer, even with glasses or contact lenses)
Housebound Benefits Eligibility
Individuals who receive a VA pension and spend most of their time at home because of a permanent disability may be eligible for Housebound benefits.
Note: Individuals cannot receive Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
Additional Requirements and How to Apply
Aid and Attendance is typically easier to obtain than Housebound benefits. Per the American Veterans Care Connection (AVCC), Congress sets the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). This is based on a Veteran’s countable income, the number of dependents, and other financial factors. If you or your loved one qualifies for benefits, your payment amount will be based on the difference between your countable income and the current MAPR. Through the application process and looking back over a three-year financial period (including assets), the VA determines if applicants show enough financial need to receive any benefits.
The length and percentage of disability are also determining factors. To qualify for Housebound pension benefits, the applicant must prove that they have a single disability that has been evaluated as 100% disabling and confines the individual to their home or are bedridden. However, the applicant may be approved if it is confirmed that they have a 100% disabling permanent disability with another permanent disability evaluated as at least 60% disabling.
VA Aid and Attendance benefit requirements are less stringent for the applicant, as it is meant to help veterans who need assistance with the activities of daily life, as well as the maintenance and care of the home environment. Apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound Status by downloading the VA form 21-2680 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
If you find that your loved one is not eligible for veterans benefits, other programs are available. Consider starting here: Can You Get Disability Pay for Dementia?
An elder law attorney can help you make the best decisions for your loved one with special needs, including long-term care planning, financial arrangements, and coverage of benefits.
Reach Out for Help
We want to help you with your questions and ease your mind about memory care for your loved one. If you are in the Round Rock, Texas area, and would like to schedule a family visit, or make an appointment, you may do so online, or by calling us at 512-399-5080.