Veterans with Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia may be eligible for certain U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and services. Some surviving and current spouses of veterans may also be eligible for limited benefits.
The VA distributes a variety of benefits for veterans and their families, such as health care coverage, caregiver support services, pensions, and burial benefits. Understanding what options are available via the VA is the first step to better assisting a veteran with dementia (or a spouse) and preparing for their future care needs, despite the fact that qualifying standards for each program differ.
The needs of people living with dementia are particularly individualized. Finding the appropriate VA benefits to complement or enhance an elder's care plan depends on the type of dementia they have, how much it has progressed, whether they have additional medical conditions, their present living situation, the amount of informal caregiving support they receive from family, their disability status, and their military service history.
The majority of elderly veterans have already enlisted in the VA health care program and are receiving medical care through the Veterans Health Administration. In addition to basic VA services such as preventive care and hospitalization, elderly veterans with dementia may be eligible for home- and community-based care programs as well as residential long-term care.
The VA may offer the following programs for veterans with dementia:
Some of these facilities and types of care may offer specific dementia care programming or memory care units but note that the VA does not have distinct qualifying requirements or application procedures for veterans with dementia.
In addition to health care benefits, certain veterans with dementia may also qualify for financial benefits. The VA pension program provides low-income military veterans with limited assets a monthly allowance to supplement their income. This pension is commonly referred to as the basic Veterans Pension. A veteran who is eligible for the Veterans Pension and has no dependents can get up to $13,752 yearly.
The "Aid & Attendance" benefit is an "improved" version of the basic pension offered to veterans who require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. In addition, as their condition worsens, people with dementia need an increasing amount of assistance with ADLs.
An eligible veteran without dependents may receive up to $22,939 per year from the A&A Pension. This enhanced payment is meant to assist injured veterans with limited resources in affording the high-quality care they require, whether at home or in a long-term care facility.
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