SEATTLE, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Veterans Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension, an allowance for veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior living and home care, is anticipated to undergo changes concerning eligibility requirements in 2017. A Place for Mom (APFM), the nation's largest senior living referral service, and VeteranAid.org, a free A&A Pension resource and forum, are partnering to provide information about the A&A Pension as well as the prospective changes to inform veterans and their families.
APFM helps more than 200,000 families find the right senior care solution each year. Approximately 40 percent of these families come from a military background, and it is estimated that more than 70 percent are not aware of the A&A Pension. The proposed amendment is anticipated to affect some qualifying veterans and prospective applicants as it will require additional financial thresholds to be eligible, potentially disqualifying candidates that were previously entitled to the benefit.
"It's imperative that veteran families start planning for senior living as soon as possible so they can take advantage of the A&A Pension while it's still more widely accessible," said Kaylin Gilkey, senior manager at VeteranAid.org. "With the proposed changes anticipated to go into effect as early as next year, proactive planning can make the difference between a veteran and his or her spouse living in a high-quality assisted living facility or struggling to pay for basic care costs in the future."
For more information about the pension, the "VA Benefits & Long-Term Care" eBook is now available for download and is designed to help families determine if they qualify for the benefit, show them how to apply and provide helpful resources for the application process.
Anticipated Changes to the A&A Pension
The A&A benefit provides financial support to lower income veterans and their spouses who require another person's aid with daily living activities such as medication management and meal or care support. Both in-home care and senior housing are covered by the A&A Pension, which can provide up to $1,788 per month to a veteran, $1,149 per month to a surviving spouse, $2,120 per month to a couple, or $1,406 per month to a veteran with a sick spouse.
To qualify for the A&A pension, a veteran (and his or her spouse, if applicable) must have $80,000 or less in total assets, excluding one home and one vehicle. Additionally, the veteran must have been discharged honorably and served 90 consecutive days, at least one of which was during an approved period of war.
As it stands, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) only looks at a veteran's current income, assets and expenses at the time of application. Under the new proposed eligibility requirements which are anticipated to be implemented in 2017, but have not been finalized, the VA will likely examine the past three years of an applicant's financial history to determine eligibility for the pension. This means that many applicants who qualify for the current version of the A&A Pension may be disqualified under the new guidelines. The discharge and service rules are expected to stay the same.
Taking Advantage of the A&A Pension
Tim McMahon is one beneficiary who is now taking advantage of the A&A Pension after learning about it through APFM and VeteranAid.org. Since his mother-in-law AnneMarie started having health issues a couple of years ago, Tim, his wife and their family have spent a significant amount of time and energy as her unpaid caregivers. This is a situation many families experience, and Tim soon realized they would need to come up with a more sustainable long-term plan for AnneMarie.
As the widow of an army veteran who served in the Korean War, AnneMarie is a strong candidate for the A&A Pension, but nobody in the family was aware of the benefit or that it extended to surviving spouses. Once Tim began researching options for his mother-in-law, he became aware of the pension after working with senior care specialists from APFM and VeteranAid.org, and was thrilled to learn that his mother-in-law might be eligible to receive financial help for senior care. Tim and his family worked with advisors to submit their application, and are currently waiting for the VA to send confirmation of the application's acceptance. With their limited budget, the A&A Pension will be essential in financing senior care options that meet AnneMarie's preferences and care needs.
"When we were beginning the search for assisted living for my mother-in-law, I really had no idea what was out there," said McMahon. "I turned to A Place for Mom for advice on what might best suit her, and shortly thereafter I became aware of the A&A Pension. The forums and information on VeteranAid.org helped me clearly understand the process for applying for the benefit, including guidance on getting the right forms and how to submit them. I can't underscore enough how important it is to plan for senior care and take advantage of available benefits, particularly for veterans and their spouses who may not know that they even qualify for the A&A Pension."
For more information on the anticipated changes to the A&A Pension, please visit the APFM resource page and download the "VA Benefits & Long-Term Care" eBook. APFM and VeteranAid.org will provide another update on the changes to the A&A Pension once they are officially adopted in 2017.
About A Place for Mom
A Place for Mom, Inc. is North America's largest senior living referral service with more than 400 senior living advisors providing resources and personalized assistance in finding senior living options. A Place for Mom works with a nationwide network of over 17,000 providers to help 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 A Place for Mom. For more information, visit www.aplaceformom.com, call 1-877-311-6099 or visit one of A Place for Mom 's social networks at Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Senior Living Blog and Pinterest.
VeteranAid.org has been the leading free resource for information on the Veterans Aid and Attendance pension benefit for over 10 years. VeteranAid.org was created to educate and inform veterans, their widows and families about the VA's Aid and Attendance pension benefit and help families with their questions as they navigate this difficult process. One of the most valuable resources on VeteranAid.org is the forums where users can read others' questions and concerns and join the community to post questions they may have as they go through the A&A application process. For more information visit www.VeteranAid.org, call 1-866-584-7191 and follow along on VeteranAid's social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and VeteranAid's blog for the latest updates.
SOURCE A Place for Mom