Long term care insurance for Veterans is complex.  There are two programs that might be useful for veterans when facing long term care.  One is the Federal Program (called Aid and Attendance) and the other is the State program.  Check the other blogs for more information on the State programs.  One thing to note:  the Federal and State programs do not co-ordinate…so you could potentially qualify and use both in combination.

Aid and Attendance

Aid and Attendance is often called pension (not to be confused with a retirement pension from the military).  It is a sum of money that can be paid out to a veteran or a veteran’s spouse when that person becomes “home bound.”  To be clear, you can be “home bound” in your own home or in a nursing home.

Applicants must qualify for this benefit by coming in beneath the income and asset thresholds set by the government.  To get current thresholds you should have a look at the VA’s main web page:  http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/.  You also have to have served during a time of war AND be honorably discharged.  You will need a copy of your discharge paperwork (called DD214).

The application process can be deceptive in that it looks simple, but it actually isn’t.  Like taxes, it requires documentation on income and assets and this documentation can run to multiple 3-ring binders.

Veteran Benefits

Veteran’s Benefits can also (like taxes) be filed incorrectly resulting in no or reduced benefits.  Often times folks will utilize a professional service to file these for them.  However, by law, no one can charge to file this service.  So if you do find a professional who is going to file it for you, then typically they are also going to help you restructure assets/income streams so you can income/asset qualify (a service for which they can and do charge) or they will organize with a local care provider to work with you and you will assign the aid and attendance benefits over (so they charge get an overage on the care being provided, but at least you aren’t paying it out of pocket).

Last, this Veteran benefit is often a long wait window from the application submission to a decision of eligibility.  If  person dies while they are waiting to be determined eligible, no benefits will be paid.  If the person lives thru the determination, then the benefits back pay all the months.

To summarize if you have the assets it is much easier to purchase a long term care insurance policy and use it when you need it.




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