Applying for Veteran's Benefits for Assisted Living Facilities
Some veterans may qualify for benefits that will help offset the cost of assisted living. Assisted living facilities provide basic services like apartments or rooms, meals and snacks,
housekeeping, laundry, activities, help with medication and help with the activities of daily
living such as bathing and dressing.
Assisted living is an exciting option for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living yet want to retain as much independence and privacy as possible.
Meals, laundry and housekeep are standard as are a variety of activities and outings.
Assisted living facilities are licensed and regulated by individual states, which explains why there can be differences in terminolgy and services in different areas of the country.
But getting help is not always easy. The Veteran's Administration is very large and their processes can be cumbersome. It will help if you prepare by gathering together the documentation that they will require before you begin the application process.
One thing they are sure to require is certified copies of your discharge papers. If you have a copy
of your discharge papers or a DD 214, you can take it to your local Veteran's office and request a
certified copy. If you are unable to locate your discharge papers or DD 214, go to your local VA
office and request them.
It's also important that you are able to document the reason you are moving into an assisted living
facility. It is not required that you be totally disabled, but you must be able to show that there is a medical necessity. Your VA doctor is the one you will go to in order to get this report.
You don't have to be totally broke, but your total assets need to be below a certain level in order
to qualify for assistance from the Veteran's Administration for assisted living. Some assets, like
those held in a family trust, are not counted. For help with this requirement, it's best to
consult with an elder care attorney.
In order to qualify, the veteran must already be living in an assisted living facility. The application will take some time for the Veteran's Association to process. On approval, the benefits are retroactive.
The form you will need to apply for assisted living benefits is the Veteran's Application for
Compensation and/or Pension, Form #21-526. It is available at the VA Website.
For help, contact your local Veteran's office or call 1-800-827-1000 (Hearing) or 1-800-829-4833 (Hearing Impaired TDD line).
You can also contact a county or national veterans' service organization (VSO) representative to help you with your claim. If you want to use a representative to help you, consult your local telephone book to contact a particular VSO or contact the closest VA office.
Residential care facilities provide activities, housekeeping, laundry, meals and snacks, medication assistance and coordination of health care services. They provide special dietary needs for their residents with diabetes and other special dietary needs.
Assessments prior to admission are completed on all residents prior to move in date. The purpose of this assessment is to determine if the facility can adequately meet the needs of the individual. Within the first two weeks of move-in, a full evaluation is performed and a service plan is created.
The state of Washington requires that the care staff be sufficient in number to meet the needs of the residents. In addition, staff must be trained and able to implement any disaster or fire plans as needed, maintain a hazard-free environment, and provide the services needed by the residents under their care. The administrator may not be a resident of the home, must be at least 21 years old, and must have a combination of experience, education and training.
Special requirements must be met before an assisted living facility can have a unit designated to accept residents with dementia or Alzheimer's. All staff work with Alzheimer's residents must have specific training and independent activities must be offered.
Learn as much as you can about all the senior housing options that are available in your area. Everything you read and each facility you visit will help you to get closer to determining your own need. There are adult family homes, retirement communities, board and care homes, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and other options. With all these options, and maybe because there are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. There's nothing wrong with getting help.
A few of the services offered by assisted living placement services are:
1) Determining if Assisted Living is Right for You
2) Determining the level of care needed
3) Locating the home or facility best suited to your needs
4) Helping you to negotiate the lowest possible price for you and your family
5) Helping you with finanacial planning so that your resources can be used wisely to cover the costs involved
6) Ensuring that the facility you choose is able to handle any special needs that you may have.
There are a number of placement agencies that will be more than happy to help you sort through the maze and make the best choice for your loved one. This is their field of expertise and they are happy to share the knowledge they've gathered with you. A few of our favorites are A Place For Mom, Elderlink, and Assisted Living. In Southern California and Southern Arizona, one of our favorites is Assisted Living Placements. Most referral agencies (also called placement agencies) will provide their services free of charge.