Discovering the Cost: How Much Will the VA Pay for Assisted Living?
Veterans are special people who have dedicated their lives to protecting their country. Their contribution hasn’t gone unrecognized. As a result, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has ensured benefits for veterans and offers various programs that veterans can access throughout their lives.
As you or your loved one ages, assisted living may have crossed your radar at some point, especially if you or you’re loved one is living with an illness or disability. Assisted living can be costly, but luckily for veterans, some options are available to help offset those costs.
We’ve created a helpful guide that covers the VA assisted living benefits and coverage.
What Services Do the Veterans Affairs Offer the Elderly?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest veteran advocacy organization in the country. It provides assistance and benefits to enrolled veterans on active duty, after separation, or retirement from military service – and offers benefits to surviving spouses.
The VA offers various programs for the elderly, including:
- VA health care benefits
- Education benefits
- Disability benefits
- Financial benefits
- VA pension plans
- Dental care (depending on a veteran’s unique qualifications)
- And more!
Does the VA Pay For Assisted Living?
Unfortunately, the VA does not directly pay for assisted living costs. However, there is a slight workaround that can support veterans indirectly with assisted living costs.
The VA benefits could assist in covering some of the costs of assisted living through different programs that provide financial stipends. For example, a veteran (or their surviving spouse) can utilize funds received through VA assistance to pay for assisted living expenses. A veteran receiving funds can choose to put that money towards long-term or senior care costs. How a veteran or their surviving spouse spends their funds is totally up to them. They can utilize the monetary benefit for transportation, room and board, specialized medical care, and physical therapy – the choice is theirs.
Several programs through Veterans Affairs could support veterans seeking senior care. For more information, read our article: “Who Qualifies for Veterans Benefits for Assisted Living.”
What Is Assisted Living Like?
Assisted living is a type of senior housing created for individuals who need medical and personal care. Typically, assisted living residences are part of an assisted living community setting or set up as an assisted living facility with room and board. Both generally provide a residence-type environment and are designed to promote independence with some added daily living assistance.
Specific services you can find in assisted living are:
- Room and board
- Medical Care
- Assistance with personal care (including dressing, toileting, and bathing)
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Social activities
- Nurse on staff
Assisted living can come with its pros and cons. One of the cons can be the cost associated with residences like these. Luckily for veterans, some benefits can apply towards those assisted living costs.
Another con is the amount of space provided in assisted living. It differs significantly from where you or your loved one once lived for many years. Consider these factors when comparing assisted living facilities with in-home care.
For more information on assisted living, visit our blog post: Home Care vs. Assisted Living.
Amounts Offered From Veterans Affairs for Assisted Living
Since Veterans Affairs will not directly cover the costs of assisted living, there are other ways veterans can access funding that they can utilize towards assisted living expenses. The amount of benefits a veteran is eligible for depends on their income. The VA considers Social Security payments, retirement income, and other sources as your benefits. Once the VA considers all factors, it will determine how many benefits a veteran can receive.
Below are some Veteran benefits that they can use towards their assisted living expenses:
Aid and Attendance Benefit:
The VA offers aid and attendance benefit to war-era veterans and their surviving spouses. Veterans can utilize the funds they receive from the Aid and Attendance benefit to pay for their assisted living costs.
The benefit provides eligible veterans up to $3,536 (tax-free) monthly.
The funds support at least two daily living activities: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and transferring. A note from a doctor is typically required to be eligible for attendance benefits.
A VA Pension is a tax-free pension assistance program created for low-income veterans. Again, using the funds received from the VA Pension benefit is up to the discretion of the individual, where they can contribute towards assisted living costs. Note that this benefit differs from the basic pension received through Veterans Affairs. Depending on an individual’s current financial situation, there are different maximum benefit amounts that a person can receive, including:
- $1,245 for surviving spouse with no dependents
- $1,937 for a single veteran
- $2,296 for a veteran plus spouse/dependent
- $3,072 for two married veterans who both meet the qualifications
Other VA Benefits:
Disabled veterans may access select long-term care services in assisted living communities. Health Benefits cover some long-term care services for eligible veterans, but copays or other fees could apply. If you or a loved one enroll in VA health care, they cover some long-term care services under their standard health benefits. Check out the VA website for more info on VA long-term care. However, VA health care benefits may not cover some other services. For those services, you may be able to pay through Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance VA.
VA Disability Compensation:
Sick or disabled veterans who’ve become injured or ill due to their military service or had a pre-existing condition that worsened due to active duty can receive tax-free monthly payments from Veterans Affairs. In addition, the VA Disability Compensation benefit can contribute towards assisted living expenses, including an assisted living facility, assisted living services, and specialized care, or can be utilized however they choose.
The Survivors Pension program is similar to the VA Pension program because it offers low-income surviving spouses or dependents a tax-free pension benefit. Individuals who receive this benefit can utilize the funds and place them towards their assisted living expenses.
State or Community Organizations:
Several state or community organizations can assist with assisted living costs or provide benefits that support elderly or disabled veterans. Organizations like the Senior Veterans Service Alliance and National Care Planning Council can also offer veterans assisted living benefits.
Who Qualifies for VA Benefits for Assisted Living?
Qualifications for VA benefits for assisted living depend on the financial needs of wartime veterans, the amount of service given over a lifetime, exposure to toxic chemicals, service-connected disabilities, and other factors.
How Do I Apply for VA Benefits for Assisted Living?
You can apply for veterans benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
For assistance with your veteran’s benefits applications, a State or County Service Officer who works for their respective states can help eligible veterans with medical care applications or veterans benefits.
Nurse Next Door is also able to help point you in the right direction when it comes to assisted living or senior care for veterans. Nurse, Next Door franchises have already started to join the referral community known as the VA Community Care Network (CCN). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs created this community care network as a direct link with care providers to ensure. As a result, veterans receive timely, high-quality care. Nurse Next Door is already serving veterans in Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth) and California (Elk Grove) and building relationships with local VA programs in other regions.
For more information on how to apply for veterans benefits, visit our article “Who Qualifies for Veteran Assistance Benefits for Assisted Living?”.
What Are Other Ways Veterans Can Save Money on Assisted Living?
There are some other ways veterans can save money on nursing home costs or assisted living. Below are a few ways veterans can access resources to reduce those inevitable expenses.
1) Military and Veteran Discounts:
There are plenty of military and veteran discounts offered by various organizations. Check your local assisted living community for more information on discounts or special offers.
Nurse Next Door can also point you in the right direction regarding assisted living for veterans. We aim to help you with your care and offer some great ideas for cutting costs for your long-term care.
Phone us today at 1-877-588-8609.
2) VA Community Living Center:
The VA offers military-only senior living communities for veterans. These retirement communities may have better rates than non-VA communities and are open to veterans. It’s important to note that some VA community living centers may have some strict eligibility requirements.
3) The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH):
The Armed Forces Retirement Home, also known as the AFRH, has two locations in the United States. Known as the oldest premier retirement community in the U.S. with communities in Washington DC and Gulfport, MS. They have activity-filled lifestyles in beautiful settings – a perfect place for veterans and surviving spouses needing assisted living.
You can visit their website for more info.
4) Other Ways To Save:
Plenty of other ways exist to cut expenses and save for long-term care. Consider the following:
- VA home loan to save when purchasing an assisted living condominium
- Long-term care insurance
- Medicaid (if you qualify)
- Adding a rider to your life insurance
- Friends and family assistance
How to Make the Most of Your VA Benefits
Finding the perfect assisted living option for you or your loved one is challenging. For veterans, it’s understandable to want to be part of an environment that fosters their contribution to their country and recognizes their lifetime of service.
Make the most of this unique opportunity for veterans by researching various veteran programs and benefits available. Also, check your local community, which may be able to offer some veteran programs or even provide connections to local branches of veteran organizations.
Nurse Next Door is here to help! Nurse Next Door goes above and beyond to help our veterans and support them in every way we can. From helping them with their care options to ensuring they know what resources are available.
Contact one of our Care Specialists, at no cost, today to learn more about how we can help veterans with their care needs.
Nurse Next Door is here to help you with your long-term care and support you while you live at home for longer. We’d love to set up a FREE Caring Consult™ to build a senior long-term care plan catering to your needs and budget.
Give us a call toll-free at +1(877) 588-8609 to get started!
Or read our Caring Blog for more articles on senior topics!