What are Veteran’s Benefits?
More than one-third of Americans age 65 or older are either wartime veterans or spouses of a veteran, and these military veterans may be eligible for a wide range of services and programs as provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligibility for VA benefits will go into effect after one has been honorably discharged from active military service, and these benefits include healthcare and medical benefits, pension, life insurance, burial and memorial services, and much more.
In the state of Indiana, the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs makes it their mission to assist Hoosier veterans, service personnel, their dependents and/or survivors in obtaining and taking full advantage of each benefit and advantage offered. It’s important to know about the types of benefits available, especially when it comes to long term care.
Eligibility Requirements for VA Benefits
VA benefits for healthcare is separate from a private health insurance plan. A comprehensive VA Health Benefits plan includes a medical benefits package, which includes coverage for all necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services that not only help restore your health, but also help to prevent future health issues.
Some of the health services provided by the VA include:
- Inpatient Care Services: Including medical, surgical, dialysis and acute care.
- Emergency Care: Provides immediate medical attention at either a VA or non-VA emergency facility.
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Preventative care services like annual physicals and exams, health and nutrition education, immunizations, etc.
- Mental Health Care: Inpatient and outpatient mental health services designed to support recovery and help veterans live more meaningful lives.
- Specialty Care Services: Services such as pain management, diabetes care, bariatric surgery, cardiology, dermatology, oncology, geriatric care, and much more.
- Geriatrics and Extended Care Services: Provides services to elderly veterans with more complex needs like short-and long-term rehabilitation, hospice care, adult day health care and respite care for caregivers of veterans.
VA Benefits for Long Term Care
To be eligible for VA long term benefits, or extended care, veterans must meet certain requirements regarding age, disability, wartime service, and income/assets. Veterans must be at least 65 years old or 100% disabled, had served during war time (regardless of whether they saw physical combat or not), and have no more than $80,000 in countable assets, not including a home or car.
Older veterans need to have serviced 90 days active duty with at least one day being during an approved wartime.
There are three types of VA long term benefits available, known as “pension benefits”, which include:
- Pension with Aid and Attendance. The most widely known benefit that offers the highest possible monthly payment to help veterans who need professional healthcare assistance with daily living activities, either through home care or in an assisted living community.
- Pension with Household Allowance (or Housebound Benefit). This benefit covers those who do not qualify for Aid and Attendance and wish to remain living at home or with a family caregiver.
- Basic Pension. This covers veterans and their surviving spouses who are 65 or older with limited income, even if there are no immediate medical needs.
In regards to whether veterans benefits pay for an assisted living community, the VA does not generally differentiate between a skilled nursing home or an assisted living community, therefore, in most states veterans can qualify for this benefit.
If you have questions regarding VA benefits, it’s recommended you speak with a Veterans Services Office (VSO), as these benefits do tend to be rather complex. You can call the VA at 877-222-VETS Monday through Friday between 8am and 8pm EST, or contact your local Veterans Benefit Office or a nearby VA healthcare facility.