Families of older veterans, this one's for you.
There's a little-known benefit that can help with the care of older veterans or their surviving spouses. It can be used for to cover the cost of caregivers (including adult children) in the home or to pay for an assisted living facility or nursing home.
The Department of Veterans Affairs benefit is called the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit. A recent story in the New York Times quotes a Veterans Affairs spokesman saying too few people who are eligible to receive the benefit know about it.
Of the 1.7 million World War II veterans alive as of 2011 and who were in need of caregiving assistance and eligible, only 38,076 veterans and 38,685 surviving spouses were granted the A&A benefit that year, spokesman Randal Noller told the Times.
"It's probably one of the lesser-known benefits," he says.
The benefit -- up to $2,019 a month for a veteran or up to $1,094 a month for a surviving spouse -- may be used to help a person stay at home longer and avoid going to a nursing home before it's medically necessary. It may also help the family preserve life savings.
Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War and in Vietnam could be eligible for the benefit. The nonprofit VeteranAid.org, founded by a woman whose parents were eligible for the aid, but didn't find out in time, also provides information about A&A eligibility and how to apply.
For a more comprehensive list of benefits, you can download a booklet put out by the VA.
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