We all want what’s best for our parents.
Over the years, they’ve done so much to care for and protect us. Now, it’s our turn to return the favor.
Unfortunately, this can prove to be difficult for many adult children. Most of us work full-time and have children to raise.
Thankfully, there are in-home aid and adult day care programs for just these situations. These programs can provide a means of assistance and security for our parents, all while helping them maintain their dignity and independence.
And as adult children who want the very best for our parents, these programs can be a lifesaver.
But are these services affordable? What if one or both of our parents were veterans? Will the VA Aid and Attendance program help pay for these services?
What Is Covered by the U.S. Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Program?
The Aid and Attendance program is for seniors with a VA pension who need help within the home. This can be due to being housebound or bedridden due to disabilities or illnesses. Veterans who have limited mobility due to poor eyesight (5/200 visual acuity or less when corrected) are eligible, too.
Does the VA pay the home care or adult day company directly? No, the money goes to the veteran and/or their surviving spouse in conjunction to their monthly pension payment.
Payment will be made to the veteran to cover costs pertaining to:
- Help with bathing, feeding, and dressing
- Adjusting any prosthetic devices
- Help to perform activities associated with daily living (walking, grooming)
- Nursing home costs if the veteran needs to be admitted to one
- Adult day care services
The great thing about this provision is it allows seniors to:
- Stay at home
- Stay relatively independent
- Avoid the high cost of living in an assisted living facility
Regrettably, many seniors and their families have a difficult time paying for in-home aids or adult day care. There just isn’t enough money coming in from their pension/income to cover these costs in addition to their monthly bills and the cost of food and medications.
Fortunately, the government has come through for their veterans with programs such as the VA Aid and Attendance program. It can do much to ease the financial burden our veterans face. In some cases, the money can even be used to pay a family member as a caregiver.
Do Your Parents Qualify for Senior Day Care Through This VA Program?
Is everyone eligible for the Aid and Attendance program? Not necessarily – there are some definite requirements for veterans.
First off, the veteran had to have served in the following wars/conflicts for at least one day:
- WWII: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
- The Korean War: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
- The Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
- For veterans who served in Vietnam: February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975
- The Gulf War: August 2, 1990 – Undetermined end date
In addition to service for at least one day during a war, the veteran needs to be considered a “wartime veteran,” serving 90 days in the military in addition to the one or more days during the dates above. Being involved in active combat during those dates is not a requirement.
A veteran who was dishonorably discharged is not eligible.
Veterans don’t have to be disabled to receive benefits. However, a disability will result in higher benefits being paid.
Another requirement is the veteran (and/or surviving spouses) be over the age of 65 years.
In order for a surviving spouse to benefit, they must have been living with the veteran at the time of death and be single when filing for benefits.
Of course, there are some financial requirements as well, but these are adjusted periodically.
Providing Your Parents with the Very Best Care Is Possible with Aid from the VA
As adult children, we feel an instinctual desire to care for our parents in their elder years. It can be difficult, though, with all of the responsibilities we have to juggle on a daily basis. It would be lovely if we could care for our parents on our own, but sometimes we just need help.
This is where senior home care and adult day care services come in.
These programs help to take care of our parents’ daily physical needs, as well as their social and emotional needs. And can provide us with peace of mind.
It can be easy to try and take all the responsibility of caring for our aged parents ourselves, but this isn’t sustainable in most cases. Taking advantage of the services available – and the financial aid offered through the VA – is the healthy, smart, sustainable option.