Pension Programs for Paid Family Caregivers
If you are a caregiver for a veteran, you should know that there are Veterans Affairs Department programs that can help you financially to care for that vet at home. In 2009, the Caregiver Assistance and Resource Enhancement Act, or CARE Act, also created such programs for the care of veterans in their pension programs. The pensions are called “Aid and Attendance” and “Housebound” and it is for paid family caregivers.
Some vets and their family caregivers may not be getting the benefits they are eligible for because they don’t know about these Pensions, and don’t know how to file for pension benefits.
The paperwork process to establish eligibility in the application is lengthy, and vets may need to seek help from a VA benefits counselor at the local VA benefits office or from a veterans’ service organization to gather all the documents required and fill out the forms.
For veterans who served during a time of war or for their surviving spouses, the Veterans Aid & Attendance Pension will pay additional income to cover long-term care costs. For an Aid and Attendance pension, the veteran must need help with activities of daily living such as dressing or bathing. This VA program will allow veterans’ households to include the annual cost of paying any person such as family members, friends or hired help for care when calculating the Pension benefit. This money can be used to help pay the cost of home care, adult day services, and assisted living or nursing home services.
There is a difference between the Aid and Attendance and the Housebound pensions. The type of care required for eligibility for the Housebound pension is more extensive. For the Housebound pension, the veteran must be substantially confined to his or her immediate premises because of a permanent disability.
The Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions are non-service-connected pensions, which are for veterans whose disability or death was not caused by or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military. These pensions are not to be confused with VA service-connected disability compensation payments, which are for veterans whose disability was caused by an illness or combat-related injury while in the line of duty in the active military.
Veterans who served during wartime, and spouses of veterans who served during wartime who meet income and medical eligibility requirements may apply for these pension benefits at the regional VA benefits offices. Another good source of information about such pension benefit programs are veteran service organization such as the regional offices of the American Legion, DAV, VFW and Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Learn more about paid family caregivers at the website of the Veterans Affairs.