Monday, November 11, 2013

A Comprehensive Look at Veteran Benefits for Your Senior

If your senior served their country, they may stand to receive veteran’s benefits. These benefits also apply to spouses and surviving spouses of veterans. If your elderly loved one is at least 65 and served during war time, it is important to look into whether the Department of Veteran Affairs will help pay for their medical care, as well as care for their spouse. For an elderly individual who may be in a tight financial situation, these benefits can be life changing.

In order for your senior to qualify, they must have served at least one day during wartime. Wartime is currently defined as the following periods:

World War II 
12/7/1941 through 12/31/1946

Korean War
6/27/1950 through 1/31/1955

Vietnam War
 8/5/1964 through 5/7/1975

Gulf War
8/2/1990 to date to be determined by U.S. government

If your senior lost their discharge papers, they can contact the National Archives for assistance.

Senior care professionals and family members should make sure to understand the tiers of VA benefits for those who served and their dependents. The three tiers are as follows:

Basic pension:  This provides cash help for low-income veterans and their dependents. This means that the applicants are often healthy, but do not bring in much money.

Housebound benefit: This provides assistance for homebound vets, giving them help from a home care professional in order to accomplish day-to-day tasks.

Aid and attendance: This is for someone who requires daily assistance from an eldercare professional in order to live a healthy life.

If your senior is looking to receive these benefits from the VA, they will need to illustrate that they are genuinely in need of the benefits. They will do this by verifying their income, assets, and needs. However, don’t be discouraged if your elderly loved one’s income is over the threshold. Many seniors will qualify anyway, depending on their age and their current situation. It is worthwhile to apply just in case, as many seniors get the benefits even if they fall right on the border of eligibility. If you or your elderly loved one are confused about the benefits process, consult with a Veteran Services Officer who can provide you with detailed information about what your senior and their dependents can qualify for.

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