Veterans Administration Benefits Explained for Seniors
May 8th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare
Most veterans understand and make good use of the gamut of medical care offered by the Veterans Administration; health care for vets is a really good example of socialized medicine for this group of people, and the program works very well. It is the equivalent of Medicare for non-vets. In addition, many elderly people who served in the Armed Forces, and their widows/widowers, are eligible for other Veterans Administration benefits also. A common mis-belief, however, keeps them from applying for coverage. That is, they mistakenly believe they have to be injured in war in order to qualify. Not so.
Some estimates put the figure over 25 million veterans who are eligible for VA benefits. For example, the Aid and Attendance Benefit helps vets pay for home health care, assisted living and nursing home care. Eligibility requirements include qualifying medically and financially, and having served for at least one day during ‘war time’; s/he must also have an honorable discharge. Although it frequently takes months to get through the approval process, the first check is retroactive to the date of application.
The array of benefits for veterans is vast. Of particular interest to many vets who are senior citizens and retired is the pension program. Veteran retirees generally qualify for benefits, and their spouses and children may also qualify. In addition to pension programs, VA benefits include education, home loans, survivor’s benefits, vocational rehabilitation and life insurance. The following table provides links for information on the kinds of services available: