Many veterans and their spouses are unaware that they may qualify for benefits that cover home care and other medical costs. In the case of home care, these benefits may cover up to 30 hours or more of care per month.
As a veteran of the U.S. Armed Services, or as a spouse of a Veteran, you may qualify for a special disability pension benefit that can be used to cover the costs of home care services.
The Veterans Disability Pension applies to those who received an Honorable Discharge after serving at least 90 days during wartime and their spouses who have a non-service related disability which requires aid and attendance by another person. This would include those who served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or the Persian Gulf crisis. Certain requirements apply and more information is available by checking with your state’s Department of Veterans Affairs or visiting www.va.gov and searching under “Disability Pension.”
For a widowed spouse to be eligible for Veterans Benefits, she or he must meet the following criteria:
Been married to the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death and never remarried.
Been married to the Veteran for at least one year or have children with the Veteran.
Lived with the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death (unless the separation was due to medical or military reasons).
Additionally, total household liquid assets (including stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, 401K plans, annuities, savings, cash, whole life insurance policies, checking accounts, appraised value of business or second property) cannot exceed $80,000.
With married Veterans, both spouses assets count, even if they were premarital. There may be exceptions in the case of jointly-owned assets where another adult co-owns the assets.
Housebound certification is required by an individual’s physician, stating they are in need of assistance due to an existing medical condition.
Veterans and their spouses may also qualify for benefits under a ‘low income’ provision if their net monthly income after medical expenses is low enough and meets U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs criteria.
Additional Benefits Available
A Veteran or widow of a Veteran may be able to receive an increase in home care benefits if they are certified as housebound and in need of personal care.
Once approved for this, they may also qualify for free medications, medical equipment, hearing aids and incontinence supplies. In addition, there may be special benefits available for Veterans who served in certain wars or were Prisoners of War.
The Veteran’s Pension fund can cover up to 60 hours monthly for care needed by a qualified US Armed Forces Veteran with spouse. Guidelines may vary. Additionally, it can cover up to 50 hours each month for a single Veteran. Surviving Veteran spouses can receive up to 30 hours per month of care.