My dad is a veteran who served our country proudly. He was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a few years ago and is struggling to hang on to his independence. My sisters and I are committed to helping him stay in his own home for as long as it is safely possible.
We’ve tried to explore what programs might be available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) but have found it to be a little overwhelming. He’s heard from some of his veteran buddies that there is funding available to help with senior care as well as veteran caregiver programs to help us learn more about caregiving.
Can you point us in the right direction?
Tips for Caring for Veterans
Many veterans are unaware of benefits that exist to help them as they grow older. The Aid & Attendance (A&A) program helps pay for care. The VA also offers a wide range of services and educational literature designed to guide veterans’ caregivers.
Let’s start with the Veterans Aid & Attendance program. Eligible veterans and surviving spouses can receive financial support that is above and beyond their normal pension amount through A&A. In addition to financial requirements, the veteran must also meet active duty service and need for care requirements.
While many families find the application process frustratingly long, the financial rewards can be worth it. Currently, veterans and their spouses can receive as much as:
- Married veteran: $2,127 per month
- Spouse of living veteran: $1,408 per month
- Single veteran: $1,794 per month
- Surviving spouse: $1,153 per month
Next, we’ll move on to veteran caregiver programs and services.
The VA offers a wide range of options to help veteran caregivers, including:
- VA Caregiver Support Line: You can search VA Caregiver Support by zip code to find resources and help near you, or you can call 1-855-260-3274 to speak directly with a licensed care professional.
- Building Better Caregivers: The VA also offers online programs for veteran caregivers. The series of classes lasts for 6 weeks and is free to join. Topics range from eating healthy while caregiving to managing caregiver stress.
- Veteran caregiver pay: Under the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, additional services and funding are available to post-9/11 veterans who were seriously injured and to their family caregivers. The program, Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, provides a monthly stipend to veterans who qualify. It can be used for veteran caregiver pay. While advocates are working to change it, the program is currently limited to post-9/11 veterans.
I hope this gives you a few starting points, Richard! Best of luck to you and your family.