Most older adults reach a point when they require some extra care and help around the house. It’s easy to forget that decades ago, your loved one was in the military or was a military spouse. There are VA benefits available for veterans and surviving spouses that can be used for custodial care not covered by insurance.
What is custodial care?
Custodial care is non-medical care for assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) provided by non-licensed caregivers.
There are six basic ADLs:
- transferring (walking)
- continence (toilet use)
Custodial care addresses those needs and includes services such as: bathing, grooming, dressing and household duties such as light housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry. Caregivers do not need medical training to provide these services. Custodial care can be provided in a variety of settings: at a person’s own home, a senior living apartment or a nursing home.
Does Medicare or private health insurance cover custodial care?
Medicare and private health insurance pays for very little custodial care and only for a limited time. It may cover custodial care in a certified skilled nursing facility (nursing home) if it’s medically necessary (like changing sterile dressings) or for rehabilitation for recovery after a surgery or illness. It may also pay for some custodial care in conjunction with home health care in a recovery situation for a limited time.
A VA Pension with Aid and Attendance covers custodial care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established a pension for wartime veterans, who served honorably and their surviving spouses who have financial challenges. “Aid and Attendance” is an increased monthly pension amount which may be added to the VA monthly pension amount if the veteran or survivor:
- Requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting and adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of your daily environment
- Is bedridden with a disability(ies) which requires remaining in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
- Is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
- Has eyesight limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
Aid and Attendance can be used for private-duty home care
Aid and Attendance is a great option to consider for older adults who want to remain in their homes and hire a home care aide. Aid and Attendance can also be used for recurring medical expenses such as: adult day care, incontinence supplies or medical alert devices worn as bracelets or necklaces. For qualifying wartime veterans or their surviving spouse, the VA pension plus the Aid and Attendance benefit may provide about $1,000 to $2,000 per month.
Many home care agencies are aware of the Aid and Attendance program that can cover the cost of a home care aid, but others are not.
Helping an aging or disabled loved one find the right type of care at home is an important job and one of the biggest obstacles is covering the cost of care. Don’t forget to check to find out if your loved one is eligible for the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit.
In addition to growing Veterans Home Care to become the largest provider of its kind in the industry, Bonnie has been a strong supporter of numerous charitable and social organizations with both a local and national impact. Wings of Hope and Lydia’s House have both benefited from Bonnie’s support to continue much needed services to our most vulnerable in need. Bonnie also is a member of the American Red Cross Tiffany Circle, a national society of women leaders. Bonnie serves as Chairperson for the American Red Cross Service Armed Forces Committee.
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