SEATTLE, Nov. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A Place for Mom, Inc. (APFM), North America's largest senior living referral service and VeteranAid.org, a nonprofit organization providing information and resources to veterans and their families, are joining together this Veterans Day to dispel myths about available aid and financial support for U.S. veterans, specifically Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Aid and the Attendance Improved Pension.
According to VeteranAid.org, which has helped thousands of families navigate the VA pension application system, the three most common misconceptions are:
- No injury, no benefits – Many veterans mistakenly believe that if they were not injured during their time of service, they are not entitled to aid;
- Short-term career, no benefits – Many veterans wrongly assume that if they did not fulfill a long-term military career, or did not have a military retirement, they are not entitled to benefits;
- No combat, no benefits – Many veterans believe combat service is required for Aid and Attendance Pension eligibility.
If a veteran served even one day during designated time periods, they are eligible for pension benefits. The Aid and Attendance Pension is not dependent on injury during service, and neither a long career, nor retiring from the military, is necessary. First-hand combat experience is also not a requirement. In fact, location and distance from combat will not disqualify one for this pension benefit.
As part of their education efforts, A Place for Mom, which has helped 77,000 veterans find the right senior living community since 2001, and VeteransAid.org will initiate a national awareness campaign to educate Americans on these resources, including social media outreach, information in its next newsletter for APFM's national network of families, and a free "Guide to VA Benefits and Long-Term Care".
APFM and VeteranAid.org will also host a live webinar on Wednesday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific/1:00 p.m. Eastern for families to learn about veterans benefits and ask questions.
The Aid and Attendance Pension provides benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who require that another person be present to "assist in eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature;" however, you do not need to require assistance with all of these activities to qualify.
Many veterans and their families do not realize they qualify for benefits. In fact, a survey conducted last year by A Place for Mom revealed that 69 percent of veterans and their families did not know that they were entitled to Veterans benefits. According to recent estimates, the Aid and Attendance Pension can provide up to $1,758 per month to a veteran, $1,130 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,085 per month to a couple.
"It's a wonderful thing to tell a family that there is financial support available for a veteran. For many, this resource is a critical factor in arranging care for their aging loved one. Yet it's disheartening knowing the difficulty the family will likely face navigating the application process, which can be confusing and time consuming," said Debbie Burak, founder of VeteranAid.org. "By partnering with A Place for Mom, which helps seniors across the U.S., I hope to raise broader awareness of this crucial benefit."
Twelve documents are required to apply for the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension. They are:
- Military Discharge/Separation Papers.
- Copy of Marriage Certificate and all marital information.
- Copy of the Death Certificate (surviving spouses only).
- Copy of current Social Security Award Letter (the letter that Social Security sends at the beginning of the year stating what your monthly amount will be for the following year).
- Net Worth information, including bank accounts, CDs, Trusts, Stocks, Bonds, Annuities, etc.
- Proof of all income from pensions, retirement, interest income from investments, annuities, etc.
- If you are a court-appointed guardian of the veteran or surviving spouse, a certified copy of the court order of the appointment is required.
- Proof of insurance premiums, medications, medical bills or any other medical expenses that are not reimbursed by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
- Physician statement that includes current diagnosis, medical status, prognosis, name and address, ability to care for self, ability to travel unattended, etc.
- Banking information for direct deposit of benefit payments.
- Employment history (does not apply if you are over 65).
- List of all doctors and hospitals visited in the last year.
"Veterans and families shouldn't wait for a health or financial crisis before getting paperwork organized and applying for benefits," said Jennifer Mellet, Chief Senior Living Officer, A Place for Mom. "I know that having conversations around senior care are difficult, but they are a necessity, and having the right documentation can make a big difference in the timeliness and quality of care someone receives."
After taking care of her own mother while waiting to receive the benefits to which she was entitled, Burak decided that her financial and care struggles would not be in vain. She founded VeteranAid.org in November 2005 an organization dedicated to assisting other veterans and their families navigate the VA bureaucracy. For more information on the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension, visit VeteranAid.org.
"The process to apply for benefits can be daunting. When my father needed the Aid and Attendance Improved Pension, I almost gave up," said Tom Lund of Louisville, Colorado. "VeteranAid.org helped us to organize and streamline the application process by providing clear answers and specific direction to the many questions that we faced. Our father would not have received his Aid and Attendance benefit without their help. There is no one I've met that has more passion for veterans and their plight than Debbie Burak and her organization, VeteranAid.org."
In honor of America's veterans, A Place for Mom is also launching a Wall of Honor where families can upload information, photos and stories from the veterans in their family. Those interested in submitting testimonials to the Wall can visit http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/wall-of-honor-submission/.
About A Place for Mom
A Place for Mom, Inc. (APFM) is North America's largest senior living referral service with 300 senior living advisors providing resources and personalized assistance in finding senior living services. Using its nationwide network of nearly 20,000 providers, APFM helps families find options based on a loved one's stated needs, preferences and budget. This may include independent senior housing, home care, residential care homes, assisted living communities and specialized Alzheimer's memory care. The service is offered at no charge to families as providers pay a fee to APFM. For more information, visit www.aplaceformom.com, call 1-877-311-6099 or visit one of APFM's social networks at Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Senior Living Blog and Pinterest.
SOURCE A Place for Mom