As veterans age and enter the senior years, health and financial challenges appear. There are a range of opportunities available for senior veterans. The Veterans Administration has three programs specifically for senior veterans to assist them.
The three programs are: Aid and Attendance, Housebound and Geriatrics Health Care. Below we will discuss each of these programs.
Aid and Attendance
Aid and Attendance will give you an added amount in your monthly pension. In order to qualify, you will need to meet certain requirements. For example, you need help daily in activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. Also, if you are confined to bed or in a nursing home you will qualify. Lastly, if you are considered to be almost legally blind, you are eligible for this service.
Housebound is very similar to Aid and Attendance and the eligibility as far as health is the same. You must be almost completely confined to your place of residence as a result of a permanent disability. How to apply for these services will be discussed below. First, lets review the Geriatric Services.
Geriatric is another word for aged, elderly or senior. The VA has specific services for those in this group. As you age, your health needs may become a bit more complicated. If you or loved one is in need of long term or at home care, then you may be eligible. This care is available at home or in a medical facility operated by the Veterans Administration. The application process will include basic identification along with the physician’s information about the current state of the patient.
Remember that all three of the above mentioned services will qualify you for an added amount in your pension. You will need your typical information and identification to apply for these benefits. The process can completed online from the VA website. In addition, you will need medical confirmation from your physician. To sum it up, the easiest and most convenient way is to apply is through an online process. This will most likely be quicker and more concise. Otherwise, you will need to obtain the proper application forms. Below you will find detailed instructions on how to apply to ensure you only have to do it once.
Special Monthly Compensation
The special monthly compensation is an amount added to your regular pension payment. In order to qualify for this increase, your housebound status must be a result of your service in the military. In addition, a surviving mate may qualify for the special monthly compensation. Online applications are welcome. To know exactly what you are eligible for is the key to improving the quality of life. A representative can help to determine which plans will be given to those who need it most. The process can be difficult, which is why they are there to point people in the right direction. There is help available in abundance for those who have served our country, and for the elderly on a wide scale.
Special Monthly Pension
The special monthly pension is different in that the housebound status does not have to be related to your military service. The veteran or his surviving mate are both eligible for the special monthly pension.
Forms You Need
You will need VA Form 21-2680. If you or someone who cares for you has access to a computer than it can be downloaded from the official VA website. Otherwise, you can visit your local benefits office. If you need help locating one, again the VA website has a locator link to help you. Once completed, submit this form to the Pension Management Center within your state. Your local VA office should be able to assist you.
Nursing Home Form
If you are already in a nursing home ask for Form 21-0779. It is otherwise known as a “Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance.” Both of these forms are three pages in length.
Application Information Needed
First, you will need your typical identification information. Name, social security number, date of birth and service number as well. Next, you will need to choose whether you are applying for the special monthly compensation or the special monthly pension. Both are described in detail on the form.
You will need your attending physician’s cooperation to fill out the rest of the report. It will need to be very detailed as to the applicants status. Examples of what should be included are as follows:
Was there a disease or injury resulting in housebound status?
Is there a lack of coordination?
Can patient dress, feed or bathe him or herself?
Can the patient move around?
In addition to the above information, there should also be included a letter or report concerning the daily activities of the individual applying. For instance, where does he or she go if anywhere? How do they get there? What activities can he or she do on their own if anything? Is the applicant completely housebound?
Where To Apply
There are various ways available for you to apply. Of course, you can apply directly online on the VA website if this is a resource available to you. Use the ebenefits link. If this isn’t possible, find a regional VA office in your area, and have someone there assist you. Lastly, you can obtain the assistance from a VA representative who has been approved by the VA.
It’s important to have someone on your side who understands the inner workings of tasks that may be difficult for an elderly person to carry out. An accredited representative is a person who has been trained and tested and are qualified to assist veterans with the various programs and services. Importantly, they have also passed a background check. In addition, they receive ongoing education to stay up to date on all services and requirements. They will help you to gain knowledge of and apply for any services you are eligible for. Keep in mind that depending on who and where you find a representative there may be a fee involved.
Finding A Representative
You can find a representative by using the ebenefits link mentioned above or by visiting your regional office. There is also a VA Form 21-22 that can be filled out and mailed for your convenience. A representative will be appointed for you. The mailing address is: DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS CLAIMS INTAKE CENTER PO BOX 4444 JANESVILLE, WI 53547-4444
Understand Your Options
Senior veterans need to have access to a thorough understanding of their available resources and services. These can make a difference with incredible results. There is a wide variety of resources available. Wading through these options can be a daunting task. It is wise to take the time and thoroughly examine all resources available.
Senior Specific Needs
Seniors have specific needs that need to be addressed. As discussed, options for senior veterans include aid and attendance, increased pension, geriatric services, special monthly pension compensation, and housebound services. Obtaining the knowledge of these services and knowing how to apply is crucial. This ensures senior veterans receive the care they deserve.
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