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Assisted Living and Nursing Home

Care Options for Veterans and Spouses

One of the Veterans Administration’s best kept secrets is a non service connected pension
to help pay for assisted living, home health care and even nursing home care. Most
Veterans think VA pensions are only for service-connected disabilities. However, there is
a little known non service connected pension available to pay for disabling conditions
such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, MS, Parkinson’s and blindness. This benefit can be a
windfall for Veterans, their spouses, widows and even widowers of Veterans. You must
be totally and permanently disabled if you are under age 65 to receive this pension. “Aid
& Attendance” is a part of this pension that is very important. Simply put, if you need the
aid & attendance of another person in order to live in a safe and healthy environment (for
example you need someone else to help you bathe, dress, ambulate or prepare meals you
could be entitled to this benefit. If you are housebound or in assisted living and over age
65 the VA presumes you to be in need of “Aid & Attendance”. NOTE: you do not need
to be helpless, only in need of the help of others.

The maximum benefit amounts for 2009 are: Veteran with spouse $1,949.00 per month,
Veteran only $1,644.00 per month and a surviving spouse $1,056.00 per month TAX

This program is not to be confused with Medicaid. Medicaid benefits are part of the
welfare system with strict income and asset limits. VA non-service connected pensions
are an entitlement because you served your country. They have been around since 1951.
You do not have to be broke to qualify for this pension. There are limitations that can be
very confusing. Your income must be less than the maximum allowable pension. Income
can be reduced by recurring, non-reimbursable monthly medical expenses. This includes
the cost of assisted living or home health care. Therefore income is not typically a
problem for qualification.

EXAMPLE: A Veteran over age 65 with $1,500.00 per month of income and $2,500.00
per month cost of care would be entitled to a pension of $1,646.00 per month due to
income being reduced to zero. This is only one example. Each client has a different set
of circumstances requiring a different approach to qualification and the calculation of
benefit amount.

Assets are another confusing issue. There is no established asset limit for benefit
entitlement. Again the VA has various calculations that apply depending on individual
circumstances. Note: the value of your home is not included as an asset.

To apply for this pension, it is advisable to seek the help of an experienced VA advisor. A
VA advisor can provide pre-application consultations to determine the steps that must be
taken in order to determine if you should apply for this benefit.

Author Bob Bober, Director, Assisted Living Benefits, Inc.

You can contact bob@assistedlivingbenefits.com or phone 727-808-3311
Visit our website at www.assistedlivingbenefits.com
Reproduction prohibited without expressed permission by author