Question: An acquaintance, an 86 year old veteran, has become frail and unsafe in his home. His exploration into a retirement / nursing home facility is beyond his financial ability to pay. The VA has turned down his request for financial assistance because his Social Security and retirement puts him in the “too much income” bracket. What can be done to help this gentleman?
Answer: Although I don’t know exactly what benefit this gentleman applied for through the VA, I would highly recommend that he look into the Aid and Attendance pension to help pay for assisted living. Aid and Attendance is available for veterans (or their widowed spouses) who served at least 90 days of active duty, with one day during a period of wartime. They do not have to have been in combat.
To be eligible, the veteran (or his widowed spouse) must have recurring medical expenses or care costs such as the Medicare premium, supplemental insurance premiums, prescription drugs, etc. The VA also allows the monthly rent at an assisted living community as a medical expense if the veteran’s doctor states that he needs assistance with some of his daily activities, such as making meals, driving, bathing, dressing, taking medications, or if he needs a protective environment due to dementia.
If the veteran moved to assisted living, that monthly cost may lower his income enough for him to qualify. I would recommend that your acquaintance contact an attorney who is accredited with the VA and talk with that attorney about how to qualify. The maximum pension for a married veteran is $1949 per month and the maximum for a single veteran is $1644 per month. If he obtains this pension, these tax-free benefits will help pay for his assisted living so that he can get the care that he needs.
Angela N. Manz, Attorney at Law
The Law Firm of Angela N. Manz
Virginia Beach, VA 23452