Gayle Reeves' Blog

VA Benefits

Gayle A. Reeves - Tuesday, August 04, 2015


            There may come a time when a person realizes that they cannot stay in their home any longer.  It may be because of deteriorating health, an inability to maintain the home, or to provide meals for themselves.  Sometimes loneliness will drive a person to look for someplace to live where they can have the company of others.  When this happens many people start to investigate assisted living facilities.  Many of these facilities offer a variety of activities and outings in addition to a room, meals and security.  I have found many a client who began to bloom when they moved to an assisted living facility.  The social stimulation allowed them to keep active both physically and mentally, making them much happier people. 


Of course once you begin looking around for a facility that you like, the largest issue is cost.  While there are no social service programs that cover the cost of assisted living, there are funds available from the Veterans Administration if you are a Veteran or the surviving spouse of a deceased Veteran.  If you have a non-service related disability you may be eligible for benefits under the Disability Pension.  If you are unable to work (which is easy to prove if you are over 65), are housebound (which means you cannot safely drive a vehicle) and have a medically documented need for assistance with your activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring) you may qualify for this benefit.  Additional requirements are that you had a discharge other than dishonorable, and served a minimum of 90 days, with at least one of those days being served during a declared period of war.  You will need either your original discharge papers or a certified copy of them.  It is best to look for those papers now because, if you cannot find them, it may take some time to obtain them from the government.


Once the application form is completed and submitted to the Veterans Administration it takes approximately 6-8 months for it to be processed.  Once the application is approved, it takes another 4-6 weeks for you to receive payment.  However, the benefit is retroactive back to the month after the month in which your application was received.  So if your application is received by the Veterans Administration in March, the benefit will be retroactive to April.  The current benefits available are $1,788 per month for a Veteran, $2,120 per month for a Veteran with a spouse, and $1,149 per month for the surviving spouse of a deceased Veteran.  Certainly this benefit may make the difference in your financial ability to move to an assisted living facility.


Most assisted living facilities and many Veterans groups have the application forms and can assist you with completing it and obtaining the necessary documentation.  There are also some independent agencies that will process the form for you for a fee.