Does The VA Help With Dementia Care?

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: May 27, 2022
Last updated: April 6, 2023

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.

Help For Veterans With Dementia

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.

VA Services For Health Care and Long-Term Care 

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:

  • Homemaker/home health aide services (i.e., personal care, companion care, non-medical home care)
  • Home-based primary care
  • Skilled home health care services
  • Adult day health care
  • Respite care
  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Outpatient clinical care
  • Nursing home care (i.e., contracted community nursing homes, community living centers, state veterans homes)
  • Board and care residences (i.e., community residential care, medical foster homes, adult family homes)
  • Hospice care
  • Palliative care

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.

VA Pension For Veterans 

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.

For more resources about senior care, check out Senior Strong’s blog section.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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