Top 5 Ways That Military Families and Veterans Can Prepare for the Cost of Eldercare
Updated on Dec 06 2019
In honor of Veteran’s Day, we are taking a closer look at senior care benefits for veterans and military service members. There are a variety of unique benefits available to military members and their families. Learn more about how military members are providing elder care and can take advantage of senior care benefits for themselves and their veteran loved ones.
Military Families and Senior Care
A survey conducted by First Command found that 36 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior non-commissioned officers with a household income of at least $50,000) currently provide or anticipate providing care for a family member. 54 percent of these families expect to provide care in their own home and 42 percent expect to provide care in the home of a senior loved one.
Military families are paying for care services that include home care (18 percent), nursing home care (8 percent), and health care (7 percent). The cost of providing this care is not insignificant. In fact, according to the survey, military families spend an estimated $1,342 on the care of a senior loved one with 40 percent of respondents saying the cost of care is higher than they had anticipated. Over one-third of military families caring for a loved one admitted to feeling extremely or very financially stretched on a monthly basis.
5 Tips for Veterans Seeking Senior Care
Assisted living costs can be shocking for anyone, especially for military families juggling stressful careers, multiple moves, and deployments. These tips for veterans and their families can help relieve the financial and emotional burden of senior care for military families caring for a veteran.
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit
One of the most beneficial, and also overlooked, benefits for veterans is the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit. Veterans and widowed spouses who require the ‘aid and attendance’ of another person may qualify for additional pension benefits for care. Available to honorably discharged wartime veterans with 90 days of active duty, and their surviving spouses, the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Benefit can provide significant financial assistance to veterans.
If a veteran is receiving a veteran pension and meets one of the following requirements, he or she may be eligible for housebound benefits.
- The veteran needs another person to help them perform activities of daily living, or
- The veteran has to stay in bed for the majority of the day, or
- The veteran is in a nursing home due to loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or
- The veteran has limited eyesight
Veterans can not claim housebound benefits and Aid & Attendance benefits simultaneously.
VA Health Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers health care that can help offset medical costs for veterans. VA health care covers regular checkups with a primary care provider and appointments with specialists. It also allows veterans to access home health and elder care, as well as medical equipment, prosthetics, and prescriptions.
State Veterans Homes
State Veterans Homes are senior care communities that provide nursing home, domiciliary, or adult daycare. Owned and operated by state governments, these homes date back to the post-Civil War era. The VA must formally recognize and certify a community as a State Veteran Home, although they do not manage the homes. Eligibility for State Veterans Homes is dependent on clinical need and availability. Some State Veteran Homes will admit non-Veteran spouses and Gold Star parents.
Seek financial advice from the experts.
A whopping 36 percent of families who care for a senior loved one and contribute financially to care work with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can develop a comprehensive financial plan that takes advantage of financial resources for military families, balancing immediate financial responsibilities with long-term senior care options.
Are you a military member caring for a senior loved one? Contact a financial advisor today to conduct a thorough analysis of your current financial plan and establish an investment strategy that will meet both your immediate and long-term needs.
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