If your father was eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration (VA), your mother may also be eligible to receive benefits, even after his death. This is of particular interest to many children of senior parents as mothers may be able to receive benefits from the VA in order to pay for senior care.
A study from Harris Interactive found that 69 percent of veterans and their caregivers were unaware of the benefits they could receive from the VA for senior care. Here’s what you need to know about available benefits and eligibility requirements.
The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension Benefits
The primary source of senior care benefits your mother may be entitled to are from the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension Benefits. According to Forbes, this program could provide up to $1,153 for your mother after your father’s passing, or for $2,127 total if both are collecting benefits. This is on top of her existing pension from the VA.
These pension benefits can be put towards a variety of purposes to help cover your mother’s costs. Options include:
- Private-pay nursing homes
- Assisted living communities
- In-home care
The pension offers your mother a wide variety of care options. Seeing as neither Medicare nor Medicaid provide support for your mother to live in an assisted living facility, the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits are especially important if she would like to pursue that option. Further, the benefits offered by the VA are tax free.
Eligibility for the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension
Not all veteran’s spouses will be eligible to use the Aid & Attendance Pension. According to Paying for Senior Care, in order to qualify, your mother must:
- Be 65 years or older
- Have been married to a “wartime veteran”
- Not have been married to a dishonorably discharged veteran
- Be unable to perform all of the daily activities of living
Being unable to perform the activities of daily living may include:
- Being bedridden
- Being a patient in nursing home
- Bring unable to bath, feed, dress or protect herself
- Poor vision, below 5/200 or with a visual field less than six degrees
There are also financial eligibility requirements to the Aid & Attendance pension, but they are somewhat complicated. Your mother must have yearly income below $26,765. Add an additional $2,313 to this amount for each dependent child your mother has. It’s also important to know that this limit increases slightly every year, to keep pace with inflation. After November 30th, 2019, the amount will increase.
In order to qualify, your mother must also have a net worth below $123,600 in order to qualify for VA Aid & Attendance benefits.
Housebound benefits offer veterans and their spouse’s additional benefits for permanent disability. You cannot receive both Housebound Benefits and the Aid & Attendance pension. However, if your mother can qualify for both, it is usually in her best interest to choose the Housebound Benefits, which are larger.
The Housebound benefit is available to spouses of ‘wartime” veterans who are no longer able to leave their home without help. If your mother only leaves the house for doctor’s appointments or medical treatments, she will likely qualify for Housebound Benefits.
Need More Assistance?
If you’re unsure or want to speak with a professional directly about your situation, it is best to consult with a lawyer to explore which VA benefits your mother qualifies for, and which are in her best interests. Other niche VA benefits may be available to her depending on the circumstances of her husband’s service.