There are many veterans and surviving spouses of veterans who are currently either in assisted living or are looking to move into an assisted living community; however, the costs become such a burden on the resident and often times, the family has to keep their loved one at home due to the high costs of moving their loved one into an assisted living community. What many people don’t know is that there is a benefit for veterans and surviving spouses of veterans. The benefit is called Aid and Attendance and is provided by the VA. For the actual veteran, he/she can receive up to nearly $2,000.00 each month as a reimbursement for his/her expenses in assisted living.
Now, I’m not the expert on getting you the benefit, but I am the expert on giving you enough information to know if it’s something that you should be looking into and where you can get more information. For the surviving spouse, he/she may be eligible for close to $1,000.00 each month as a reimbursement for his/her expenses in assisted living. Now, you or your loved one is living in a skilled nursing facility and you’re wondering if the benefit will help pay for those costs. The answer is, absolutely. Most (if not all) medical expenses in fact, are reimbursable up to the cap amount that was mentioned previously. GiBill.Va.Gov
How do you know if you qualify? Here are a few tips. The veteran will have had to be on active duty at least one day during one of the major wars such as Vietnam, World War II, or the Korean War, etc. The VA will look at your current income also. If your income is less than your medical costs (and yes, every penny of the cost of assisted living is considered a medical cost), you will be eligible to be reimbursed up to the full amount of the benefit. For example, say your income is $1,500 per month and your medical expenses are $3,000 per month. You will be eligible for a reimbursement of up to $1500 each month. This amount is paid to the veteran directly and not to the facility. Will they take into consideration that the veteran still owns a home and has other assets? Yes, however, there are legal ways to move these assets around to become eligible for the benefit. I would use the professionals to help you do this to make sure you’re doing it right.
Now, how do you get the benefit? There are two ways. You can either go to the VA yourself and do all of the paperwork yourself or you can have a company help you in the process. There are pros and cons to each. If you do the paperwork yourself and work directly with the VA, it may take a while as there are several forms to be completed and if you don’t submit them just right, it may delay the reimbursement. If you use a company that specializes in this process, they’ll know exactly what needs to be submitted and they’ll help you submit it correctly the first time (allowing you to start getting the maximum benefit). These types of companies typically charge anywhere from $500-800 to help you complete the paperwork, but that will pay off after one month of reimbursement potentially. http://va.gov is the site where you can find more information about this benefit. Put in the key word “aid and attendance.”GiBill.Va.Gov
So how do you find a company that will help you in this process? I would call an assisted living community near your home and ask them. In Utah there is a company in Salt Lake County call Senior Care Associates that does a pretty good job at this.
One final and very important piece of information. With this benefit, it’s not retro-active in one sense; however, there is a form called Statement in Support of Claim found at va.gov/vaforms/form_detail.asp?FormNo=21-4138. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! Get this form in first. From the time that the VA receives this form from you, you will be reimbursed back to the date they received this (while you’re taking some time to gather all of the other necessary forms and documents to get the benefit).
After jumping through all of the hoops, you’ll be grateful to have know about this benefit. Now you need to share this valuable information with others who could benefit from it.