Thursday, November 11, 2010

VA Benefit Assistance for Memory Care

We wanted to salute our U.S. veterans who have served our nation in both war and peacetime efforts. The George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers includes many veterans among participants at our adult day health care centers, many of whom still daily wear caps and other articles and enjoy telling of their military experience with new friends and sharing war stories with old friends. In listening to them, you know that part of their life was especially important to them.

If you are a caregiver considering adult day health care or assisted living for someone who served in the U.S. armed forces, a benefit you may wish to consider is the VA's Aid & Attendance Pension that reimburses qualified veterans and spouses for medical expenses not covered by insurance or other means. Monthly compensation ranges from up to $1,644 for a single veteran to up to $2,582 for veterans married to each other. Surviving spouses also are eligible for a monthly check.

Applying for this benefit is not easy, and there are numerous resources within San Diego County (and elsewhere in the USA) to get help completing the 11-page application.

Basic requirements include:

Honorable discharge
Active service for at least 90 days
At least one day of service during a period of war

Wars that qualify:

Lebanon Campaign
Grenada Campaign
Panama Campaign
Persian Gulf

The key - to which veterans with dementia would qualify - is there must be a disabling medical condition that requires a veteran or surviving spouse to need assistance to meet their basic needs. The cost of services at an assisted living community, for example, must exceed 5% or more of monthly income to receive full benefits. The veteran's or couple's liquid assets (savings, investments, checking, and sometimes real estate and homes, etc.) and how rapidly they are expected to be depleted also are taken into consideration.

For more on this important program, visit The Aid & Attendance Pension Web Site.