The US government provides benefits and financial aid for Veterans and their spouses, who have served their country, during their retirement. Vets, at least 65 years old [and those under 65, but rated at 100% disabled may also qualify] and who served during war time [actual combat is not a requirement] may be eligible for financial support though the VA, that will help pay for healthcare. Surviving and/or current spouses of wartime veterans are also eligible themselves in most cases.
Usually the most significant eligibility prerequisite is the “Service Requirement.” To be considered a Vet you must have served a minimum of one full-day during war-time. The dates the Department of Veterans Affairs considers as wartime as:
World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
The Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
The Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975 [Some Vets qualify if they served “in country” as early as February 28, 1961
The Gulf War: August 2, 1990 to present [actual date will be determined by U.S. government]
To establish your benefits the VA will use the “Dates of Service” from your “Discharge Papers.” If you have lost your Discharge Papers, copies can be requested from the National Archives and/or by telephoning (314) 801-0800
TIERS OF BENEFITS
The VA has three-tiers of benefits for aging Vets and their dependents. The first tier is considered “Basic Pension”, "Housebound" is the second level with “Aid & Attendance” being the third. The amounts awarded increase as the tier is increased, with all tiers being based on the needs of the applicant. Here’s how they breakdown
TIER 1 “Basic Pension”: is designed to function as cash assistance for low income Vets and their dependents, so applicants may be healthy when qualifying, but must have a low income.
TIER 2 “Housebound benefit”: is designed to be administered on a Regular-Basis
TIER 3 “Aid & Attendance”: is geared for those who require assistance on a Daily-Basis
To receive assistance from the Office of Veterans Affairs you will be “Means Tested,” which verifies that only people who absolutely need these benefits receive an award. This also means that assistance is determined based on the income, assets and needs of the applicant.
If an applicant’s “countable” income(s) are above the maximum(s), they may still qualify, depending on their age and/or amounts of their monthly allowable medical benefit. In marginal situations, it doesn’t hurt to apply, as these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Here’s a “Countable Income Formula” provided by the VA that can help you determine what an “Allowable Medical Deduction” is and how you can arrive at what the VA is determining as “Countable Income”
APPLYING FOR BENEFITS
To determine your eligibility or to apply for healthcare benefits, VA’s Health Benefits Service Center at (877) 222-8387
GETTING HELP WITH YOUR BENEFITS
This process can be extremely complex, so you may also consider speaking with a Veteran Services Officer or VSO, who volunteer throughout the US and can be found at many of the hubs for Vets like American Legion Halls or Veterans of Foreign Wars Lodges [VFW].
You can also locate a VA accredited attorney or VSO / Benefits Rep Here
Altruist Home Health Care, Inc. can answer basic questions about your VA benefits and care options as well as refer you to local Veteran Aid Experts for more assistance. Contact us at (214) 328-8600 for help.