Can Veterans Get Home Care Benefits?
One of the questions we routinely receive is, “are there home care benefits for Veterans?” Actually, the Veterans Administration (“VA”) has a program that pays for home care benefits for Veterans to allow them to remain safe and independent at home. This program is for Veterans who need personal care services and help with activities of daily living. Or, it may help Veterans who are isolated, or their caregiver is experiencing burden. The program is called the Aide and Attendance Program. This program pays for home health aides and caregivers to visit a veteran’s home and help with daily tasks. To learn more and see if you may be eligible, keep reading.
What are Homemaker and Home Aide Services?
A Homemaker or Home Health Aide is a trained caregiver who comes to a Veteran’s home to help the Veteran with their Activities of Daily Living (“ADL”).
The basic ADL include the following:
Ambulating: Moving from one position to another and walking independently.
Cooking and Eating: The ability of a person to prepare meals and to feed oneself.
Dressing: Selecting appropriate clothes and the ability to put them on.
Personal hygiene: The ability to bathe and groom oneself and to maintaining dental hygiene, nail and hair care.
Continence: Controlling bladder and bowel function.
Toileting: Getting to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself.
Caregivers in the Aide and Attendance program can help Veterans with these Activities of Daily Living so they can stay home and remain independent instead of moving to a higher level of care such as an assisted living facility or nursing home. An aide may be able to come to your house several times a week or just once in a while.
What is a Home Health Aide?
Caregivers and Home Health Aides are not nurses, but they are supervised by a registered nurse who will help assess the Veteran’s daily living needs. Caregivers are often Certified Nursing Assistants, but based on the Veteran’s needs, they may not be. Regardless of the certification, Caregivers and Home Health Aides are trained on providing the Activities of Daily Living and other related tasks.
Who is eligible for this program?
To qualify for the Aide and Attendance Program, a veteran or surviving spouse will need to meet the following “3 Ms” criteria regarding Military service, Medical condition and Money.
1) Military: The applicant must be a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran who served at least 90 days on active duty, at least one day during wartime, with an honorable discharge (Persian Gulf War veterans must have two years of active duty or the full period of which they were called for active duty.)
2) Medical: The applicant must have a non-service connected medical condition causing a need for assistance with Activities of Daily Living. A physician must verify the medical condition.
3) Money: The applicant must meet the net worth (annual countable income and assets) limit which is $127,061 (effective December 1, 2018). Annual countable income and assets does not include a home, vehicle or the cost of predictable ongoing medical expenses including the cost of in-home care.
Surviving Spouses of wartime veterans must meet “4 Ms” criteria which includes all of the above plus “marriage.”
How can I decide if I need home care services?
Making the decision to apply for home care services can be a difficult one and there are many factors that go into the decision. Do I want someone in my home? Would I prefer to move to a health care facility? How much help do I need? These are all good questions that you should consider when deciding whether home care is right for you. Click here for the VA decision making tool.
How do I apply for the Aide and Attendance Program?
The approval process in applying for home care services for Veterans can be long and confusing. Fortunately, HomeCentris can help streamline and shorten the process. We have partnered with a Veterans assistance company that specializes in navigating the approval process. To learn more, go to our Veteran’s Services page and click the button below to learn more and complete an application. Once done, a representative will call you within 48 hours to continue the process. Once you are approved, HomeCentris will work with you to find a caregiver that meets your needs and is a great match.