If you are a community director, administrator, or even a leasing director, do you talk to your residents about the VA Aid & Attendance benefit? This program has been in existence since the 1950s, and yet today, of the total claims processed by the VA Milwaukee Pension Center (where Michigan claims are sent), only about 5% of those are for Aid & Attendance (the rest are for service-connected disability).
The program was designed to reward veterans for their service by paying for their care required due to non-service connected disabilities. In today's world, many of these veterans and their spouses reside in assisted living, nursing homes, and independent living facilities. A large portion of the costs associated with this kind of care can be reimbursed by the VA if the military, asset, and income qualifications are met.
According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, 82.7% of residents in assisted living communities private pay. With the average cost of assisted living currently at $3,500 a month ($42,000 a year) and nursing home care averaging from $212 to $240 a day, prospective or current residents often face a huge financial hurdle (only 19% receive Medicaid benefits). The need is great, and for the current and upcoming veteran generations, the VA benefit can be the answer.
The program is not heavily advertised, however. For this reason, the role of the community director, administrator, or other similar position of influence is critical to helping veterans and their spouses become aware of these great rewards for their service.
Many residents are also under the false perception that women who were spouses of veterans are not eligible, while indeed they are! A surviving spouse of a wartime veteran is eligible for benefits based on her late husband's service. Of the total claims sent to the VA by Veteran Support Center of Michigan in 2014, about 56% of them were for women (surviving spouses).
With the proposed VA changes, it may be more important than ever for care communities to let veteran and surviving spouse residents know about the benefit, even if they are healthy. They can begin the planning process for VA benefits and avoid a possible penalty or long waiting periods.
Veteran Support Center has been helping families throughout Michigan apply for Aid & Attendance benefits for years. Knowledgeable and experienced staff can help guide families with eligibility requirements through the VA's process.
The most important point is that community directors must ask their prospects and residents the questions: “Are you a veteran?”, “Did your husband serve in the military?”, And let them know there is a benefit to help pay for this care. These men and women sacrificed so much for our freedom.
Together we can honor and serve our Country's heroes and their surviving spouses by helping them get their VA benefit to better afford the cost of their care.
If you know someone who could benefit from the Aid & Attendance program, give us a call. We do not charge for our services and provide a total solution program to apply for the benefit. All of our claims are processed right here in Michigan at our Sterling Heights office.