Can Veteran Benefits Help Pay for Senior Care?

As of the 2012 U.S. Census, there are over 12 million veterans over age 65 eligible for Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. As veterans age, they may face unique challenges due to disability or unemployment. Both conditions may have significantly reduced an elderly veteran’s ability to earn enough income in their post-military career to subsidize their current health needs. On a positive note, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs may offer specific programs to address individual needs.

Who Qualifies for VA Medical Benefits?

All who have served as active duty military qualify for VA medical benefits, as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. Those who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or began their active duty service after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 consecutive months or the full term of their orders. Military reservists and National Guard members may also be eligible for VA medical benefits if they completed their term in full, although active duty status for training will not qualify.

Senior Care Coverage

While veteran benefits include housing loans, pensions, disability payments, employment advantages and subsidized educational opportunities, the VA also provides additional support for aging seniors who need specialized help with their daily activities.

The Aid and Attendance benefit is an increase in current VA pensions for seniors who demonstrate the need to have a care assistant available in order to bathe, dress, eat and carry out other daily activities.

If you are stricken with a disability and cannot leave the home, the Housebound benefit option also increases monthly pensions of VA benefit recipients.

The VA also offers a Geriatrics program which helps elderly veterans receive adequate daily care either in the home, at a VA hospital or in a long-term residence facility. While the VA program may not pay for room and board at a private or government-sponsored facility, it may cover all rehabilitation and personal assistance needs depending on the individual’s eligibility.

How to Apply for Veteran Benefits

All veterans are encouraged to apply for VA medical benefits and modern technology allows for instant application submission online. Senior veterans may prefer to work directly with a VA representative or visit an office to complete application paperwork. Use the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website to locate the office closest to you.

What if veteran benefits do not offer adequate coverage for your health, long-term care and overall wellness? Talk to the team at My Senior Health Plan today and see where the gaps in veteran benefit subsidies can be filled by affordable, senior-oriented health care plans personalized for you.


Pete Blasi