Aid and Attendance: The Unknown VA Benefit

Aid and Attendance: The Unknown VA Benefit

Have you ever heard of the “Aid and Attendance Veteran’s Pension Benefit”?

I have recently posed this question to some elderly Veterans at a local “Senior Expo” here in Mesa.  It was alarming to discover how many were completely unaware of this veteran’s pension benefit and what it was all about.  We’ve all heard of the ‘Unknown Soldier”. I like to call this one the “Unknown Benefit”.  The experience I had this week inspired me to write this blog for the men and women who gave so much to protect our country’s freedoms, to help them learn a little more about the “Unknown Benefit”.

What is Aid and Attendance?

Aid and Attendance is a veteran’s pension benefit specifically designed for those who served during wartime and today require the “aid and attendance’ of a caregiver to perform daily living activities. Those who are disabled, blind, etc. and/or currently living in a nursing home or assisted living in Arizona are likely the best candidates.  If both husband and wife are veterans, the benefit can help reduce the overall cost of senior care, especially if they require the care and supervision found at senior housing options like assisted living or memory care.

How Do I Qualify for Aid and Attendance Veteran’s Pension Benefit?

According to www.veteranaid.org, you must submit an application and there are basic qualifications that must be met, both medically and financially.

“The application will require a medical evaluation from a physician, current medical issues, net worth limitations, and net income, along with out-of-pocket medical expenses.”

For the medical side, minimally, you must require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s) including but not limited to:

  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Eating, etc.

 

Financially, the qualifications can be a little gray, but in general, your total assets must be less than $80,000, not counting the house and car.  The benefit can be put towards monthly expenses for assisted living, in-home care or other medical and living expenses. Payments are made directly monthly like a social security by the U.S. Treasury Department.

How Do I Apply for Aids and Attendance?

As should be expected, the application process can be both a paperwork and bureaucratic nightmare.  In most cases, the approval process can take 6-9 months with those over the age of 90 able to ask for their application to be expedited .  Here are a couple links for printable forms to submit for wartime veterans who have served 90 days or more,  and this link is for the surviving spouse of wartime veterans. Despite the lengthy process, the really good news is that when you are finally approved, your benefits are back paid retro-active to your application date.

How Much Can I Receive From This Benefit?

According to the latest information released concerning the 2017 rates for Aid and Attendance, the benefit for a wartime vet with a living spouse could be as much as $2,100/per month.  A single, surviving spouse could receive as much as  $1,100/per month to help with their on-going care needs.

Where Can I Get More Details about the Aid and Attendance Veterans Benefit?

There is a free, one-minute questionnaire available that is helpful if you are trying to figure out if you or a loved one may qualify.  Visit www.veteranaid.org for more details on the application process and complete step-by-step instructions on how to apply for Aids and Attendance.

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In honor of all living and deceased veterans who have fought for our freedom, I want to extend my hand and thank you for your service on this Veteran’s Day 2017.  Thank you.  It’s a privilege to give back where I can and assist our elderly vets and help their families learn more about the government benefits for veterans.

Assisted Living Options

Assisted Living Options

Talk About Assisted Living

Convincing an elderly friend or loved one to “get help” or move from the comfort of their home due to a recent health crisis or on-going medical condition, can be quite the challenge. It’s not easy for any of us to admit when we are unable to care for ourselves.  As a family member trying to find assisted living in the local market, you can be overwhelmed quickly with the task of finding the best solution on your own.  Without some professional assistance, this can be a stressful, time consuming chore. Add the dynamic of medical condition, urgency, other family members being involved, etc. and you have a recipe for an ill-guided decision.

At VIP Senior Placement, we are a part of the solution. We help you navigate the best care options available in the local market place, based on your specific needs. Our personal approach to placement in Arizona has resulted in 100’s of families safely and successfully moving a loved one to assisted living, independent living or memory care.

What about Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living option is usually best suited for those who are challenged by daily activities such as bathing, dressing, making meals and taking medications on time. They offer semi-private and private apartment-style rooms, that vary in size and price.

Most Assisted Living Facilities offer

  • Assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Three meals prepared daily
  • 24/7  caregiver staff
  • Laundry and Housekeeping
  • Daily medication management
  • Social Activities
  • Limited Medical Staff

Pricing and costs for assisted living vary based on the type of care required, amenities and the configuration of the room (Studio vs 1-bedroom vs shared room). The key to making the best housing choice for your loved one is to match your level of care, health, lifestyle and financial needs with a local facility.  While assisted living facilities may offer similar services and appear the same, they are not all created equal. It’s important to that you focus on their ability to address the specific, immediate needs of your loved one, and have a plan going forward into the future.

Get A Head Start

It’s always a good idea to get a head start and have the conversation about what the future holds sooner, rather than later.  Do it while your loved one is still in good physical and mental health to avoid legal complications down the road. Look for some of the evidence they may be struggling, as covered in our blog article entitled,   “The Silent Cry for Help”.  It may not be time to move in to assisted living.  it may just be time to consider independent living or other options in helping your loved one with day-to-day living. Either way, having a plan and getting them used to the idea of what may lie ahead, will make it easier to talk about when the time actually comes.

Call us today at 480-717-9868 for more information on how we can help you.

 

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Our personal, professional service is always FREE* to families and their loved ones. Call today to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.  We will educate, inform and personally take you by the hand to show you the local marketplace and help you navigate and negotiate Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care in Arizona.

*The State licensed Assisted Living Facilities in Arizona compensate us for the educational service we provide. You will never be billed for our services.

The Silent Cry for Help

The Silent Cry for Help

During the 8 years that I have been in the business of helping the elderly relocate to assisted living in the Valley, I have noticed some consistent signs and symptoms that indicate it’s time to have ‘the talk’. My goal is to educate, inform and support families, so they can avoid a fear based rejection of the obvious signs and symptoms that it’s likely time to reach out for help.

Look for strange behavior, such as not knowing who you are, how to tie their shoes or unable to decide what clothes to wear, based on the time of year or current weather conditions. Perhaps you notice your loved one wears the same dirty clothes and/or they are not taking a shower regularly. A sure-fire sign that additional help may be needed is when the laundry, cleaning the house and bathing has become too burdensome or physically challenging for them.

 

While we are all a little forgetful, a consistent form of forgetfulness could be an indication of a bigger problem. If your loved one is not taking medications in a timely fashion, forgetting to take them or not remembering if they took them ‘today’ or not, this should be an indication to you that they need more help in their daily living routine.

Things like depressed mood, downtrodden, sluggishness, feeling isolated or alone is a big psychological factor in the aging process. Don’t expect them to come out and tell you these things openly. You need to be proactive and alert.

 

 

Be on the lookout and take action quickly if you observe your loved one:

  • Losing a lot of weight
  • Having trouble preparing meals
  • Not running errands or keeping up with the mail
  • Missing scheduled medications
  • Not eating well or having spoiled food around

 

They could have had a few minor falls since your last visit. Usually, this is due to a loss of balance or general weakness from dehydration or even malnutrition. Is their skin integrity deteriorating? Are they bruised or even bruising easily when they bump their arms or hands on something? Watch as they walk across the floor from room-to-room. Does it look safe? Do you feel ‘nervous’ about what you are witnessing?  It’s time to start talking about options.

No one wants to be a burden to another, so be prepared for a response that attempts to explain things away, or make excuses for all the obvious things you are witnessing. Be gentle, but honest and get help from outside sources if you can’t get through to them. Sometimes they just can’t hear it from a spouse, child or other family member, and a 3rd party professional may be able to open their eyes.

Paying attention and looking out for these signs can help you avoid that one ‘Event’ that lands them in a hospital with a severe condition. Don’t turn a blind eye to the obvious signs and symptoms of a loved one in need.

Reach out to us here at VIP Senior Placement to help you identify a safer environment for your loved one. We understand the challenges associated with this process and act as an advocate with free help and assistance.  Our services are completely free and will reduce the amount of stress, frustration and fear of this important life-changing decision so you can move your loved one with confidence and peace of mind.  Call today for a no-obligation consultation.

 

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