Long-Term Care Resources
As the Director or Staff of a nursing home, assisted living or independent living facility, you may be the first source of veteran benefit information that the veteran or spouse has been exposed to. There are a myriad of reasons they’re unaware of what VA Benefits are available but the most common is they just didn’t know they were eligible. Your job, therefore, is an important one and it all starts when you ask the very simple question, “Are you a veteran or were married to a veteran?”
The following information was compiled as a resource for Long-Term Care Facilities that wish to educate the veteran, spouse or family member about what federal, state and county VA Benefits they may be eligible for.
Geriatrics and Extended Care provides services for veterans who are elderly and have complex needs, and veterans of any age who need daily support and assistance. Veterans can receive care at home, at VA Medical facilities or in the community. The Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care oversees the policy and implementation of VA’s programs that provide geriatric and other long-term care programs and services to veterans. The staff are administrative and healthcare subject matter experts that are dedicated to overseeing the quality of care for aging and chronically ill veterans.
Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Benefits Administration
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is one of three administrations within the VA that provides benefits and services to servicemembers, veterans and their families in recognition of their service to the Nation. It is under this administration that falls two commonly used VA Benefits for our aging population, Compensation and Pension.
Disability Compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.
Veterans Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime veterans. To be eligible for VA Pension, the veterans annual family income must be less than the amount set by Congress which could change yearly. Veterans or surviving spouses who are eligible for VA Pension and are housebound or require the aid and attendance (A&A) of another person may be eligible for an additional monetary payment.
We are often asked by long-term care facilities to provide the forms and information necessary to complete a Pension Claim. This would be similar to a family member asking to start one of your IV’s. Ultimately, you’re declining because you have the patient’s best interest in mind. Bremer County Veterans Affairs also has your veteran’s best interest in mind and we ask that you defer to our office when you have a veteran or surviving spouse that may qualify for the benefit.
The Survivors Pension benefit, which may also be referred to as Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased veteran with wartime service. Again, the spouses or child(ren)’s income must be less than the amount set by Congress.
Veterans Health Administration
The Veterans Health Administration is home to the United States’ largest integrated health care system consisting of 152 medical centers, nearly 1,400 community-based outpatient clinics, community living centers, Vet Centers and Domiciliaries. Together these health care facilities and the more than 53,000 independent licensed health care practitioners who work within them provide comprehensive care to more than 8.3 million veterans each year. If the veteran served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, they may qualify for VA Health Care Benefits. If they do, that could potentially mean free health care for the veteran.
The Iowa Veterans Home
The Iowa Veterans Home is the State’s only veteran long-term care facility. Opening it’s doors in 1887, it has grown to become one of the three largest state-owned facilities in the nation with nearly 150 acres and four main resident care buildings. Honorably discharged veterans, their spouses and/or widowed spouses who demonstrate either medical or financial need may be eligible for admission. The rate of payment is based on the cost of care and the individual’s ability to pay using available resources. Some veterans may be eligible regardless of their income or assets.