How Veterans Benefits Can Make Senior Living More Affordable

While the cost of assisted living and memory care can be daunting, there are a number of ways to make senior living more affordable – especially for veterans.

If you are a veteran or are related to a veteran, you may eligible for veteran-related benefits that can drastically reduce the costs of assisted living. Just by meeting certain requirements such as the amount of time served and income, you could receive a monthly stipend that could cover the costs of senior living altogether.

Here are three pension benefits that veterans and their spouses and children can apply for to cover the cost of senior living:

1. Veterans Pension. Specifically for low-income veterans, this pension ranges from $1,800 to $2,800.To meet these requirements, veterans must have completed at least 90 days of active duty service with at least one day during a wartime period.

If they served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or the full period of active duty with one or more days during a wartime period.

How to Apply: Apply for the Veterans Pension online or fill out the  VA Form 21P-527EZ, “Application for Pension”. Mail your application to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. Your local regional benefit office can also process your application.

2. Survivors Pension. Also known as the Death Pension, this is available to low-income people who are either a surviving spouse of a veteran and have not remarried, or an unmarried child of a deceased veteran who served during war time. The child must be under age 18, or under age 23 if they are attending a VA-approved school.

To receive benefits, the deceased veteran must have served before September 7, 1980, with 90 or more days of active military service as long as at least one day was during a wartime period. For veterans who served after September 7, 1980, they must have served at least 24 months or their full period of active duty with at least one day during a wartime period. The veteran must have been honorably discharged.

The amount of money one can receive is based on their yearly family income.

How to Apply: Fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ, “Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits” and mail it to the Pension Management Center (PMC). Your local regional benefit office can also process your application.

3. Aid & Attendance and Housebound. Also known as the “Non-Service Connected and Improved and Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance,” this benefit is available to veterans or their surviving spouse. To be eligible, your loved one will need military discharge papers and a medical condition that makes it appropriate for assisted living. The medical condition doesn’t have to be service-related, and these benefits can range between $1,000 and $2,000 a month.

You also have the option of increasing these benefits if you are confined to your premises because of a permanent disability.

How to Apply: Write to the Pension Management Center (PMC). File your request at your local regional benefit office. Include copies of evidence from a physician specifying the need for the pension. This report should detail if there is a physical or mental impairment or conditions that make one unable to dress, eat, attend to sanitary needs or keep oneself clean. The report should also detail an applicant’s typical day and how he or she gets around, or if he or she is confined to the premises.

If you aren’t a veteran, there are many other ways to make senior living more affordable. It’s often difficult to decipher if you or your loved one qualifies for a pension, so do not be afraid to ask trusted people questions. An estate planner can provide valuable counseling on how to get the coverage you need. At The Preserve at Clearwater, we have great respect for our veteran residents and are happy to answer questions about how to make senior living including assisted living and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s or Dementia more affordable.

Photo credit: Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_flysnow'>flysnow / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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