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How Veterans Can Get Senior Housing and Care Help

If you are a war-era veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and seeking special assistance for senior housing or senior care, help is available through the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance benefit. As part of the “Improved Pension,” this program allows veterans and their surviving spouses to receive additional money if they need regular help with everyday living.

two veterans smiling, to illustrate article on veterans senior housing aid

About Aid and Attendance for Veterans

One of the benefits of having served your country is being eligible for programs such as this. To receive this tax-free aid, you don’t need to have a service-related injury. The aid can help pay for care while at home or in a nursing home or assisted care facility.

Care covered by Aid and Attendance includes help with:

– Eating

– Bathing

– Dressing

– Undressing

– Toileting

– Medication management

The aid also covers men and women who are bedridden, blind, or in a nursing home because of a physical or mental limitation. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies. Veterans sometimes overlook this pension program because they are still independent and able-bodied but have a spouse who needs care. If this is the case and your spouse’s medical expenses deplete your combined monthly income, you can file as a veteran with an ill spouse.

older woman's hand on U.S. flag, to illustrate article on veterans senior housing aid

Eligibility for Aid and Attendance

Under the Aid and Attendance pension benefit, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

– Served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during wartime.

– Cannot have a dishonorable discharge.

– A surviving spouse must have been married to a war-era veteran at the time of his or her passing.

– Need assistance from another person to perform daily living activities.

– Meet income and countable asset criteria.

– Are 65 years old or older or are completely disabled.

Financially, as a veteran, you are eligible for up to $1,788 per month in Aid and Attendance, while your surviving spouse can receive up to $1,149 a month. You and your spouse together are eligible for up to $2,120, and a veteran with an ill spouse is eligible for up to $1,406 per month.

veteran saluting, to illustrate veterans senior housing aid

Eligible Periods of War

Aid and Attendance are granted only to war-era veterans. They must have served during the following wartimes:

World War II: December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, extended to July 25, 1947, when continuous with active duty on or before December 31, 1946.

Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955.

Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975. However, February 28, 1961, through May 7, 1975, for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.

Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990, through a date to be prescribed by presidential proclamation or law.

Congress has not enacted legislation that would make the periods covering the 1983-1984 Lebanon crisis or the invasions of Grenada and Panama wartime service.

Learn more about Aid and Attendance from the VA’s pension site.

What questions do you have about senior housing? Share them in the comments below. Mary Beth Adomaitis answers readers’ questions once a month in our Ask feature. Look for the next Ask column Nov. 28.

Looking for a new forever home perfect for military retirees? Check out our top 10 best places to retire.

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  • Mary Beth Adomaitis

    About :

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.


    1. Jennifer Risse says:

      My mother in law is a widow of a korean war vet. Am i able to be her aid and get paid for it she can no longer help herself and does not want to move into a senior home we live in the state of Nevada

    2. Jo S Jung says:

      I will be 83 on Sept. 1, 2017. My retired military spouse died on Nov. 1, 2007. I live in a mobile home park and with many health issues, I have to pay for many things to maintain my independence. It would be nice to live in an independent living situation that offered one meal a day and a few other amenities. Most of these start at almost $2900.00 per month. My total income with SS and Spouse’s Benefits that my husband paid for, comes to $1906 a month. Would I ever be eligible to receive help for independent living, that would then be changed to assisted or nursing care when needed? I so appreciate your information. Thank you

    3. As a military widow I depend on the tax free portion of my husbands pension for a large part of my income. But the total income is slightly over the limit for private “affordable” Senior apartments. I am told this tax free portion must be included as part of my total income. Is that correct?

      • That’s a good question, RWB, though admittedly, not one I’m certain how to answer. readers: Would any of you have insight on this question?

        – Mark,

    4. Raymond Cerni says:

      Raymond Cerni – I was drafted in the U.S. Army in June of 1953.
      During the Korean Conflict. I was Honorably Discharged.
      Please let me know, now that I am 83 years old if there are any veteran “Elderly, Independent Care” facilities, either in Tampa, Florida or Jacksonville, Florida is preferred. My wife and I have been married 57 years and looking for elderly care facility. Thank you. Please contact me at the e-mail address or call my cell # XXX-XXX-XXXX

    5. Richard C. Anderson says:

      Why are some military actions classified as “war-era veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces” and others are not? I was Drafted (Oct 22, 1956) during the cease fire talks of the Korean Conflict . For about 30 days in 1958 I was on a Navy flotilla going around and aroundthe Taiwan Straits. Every day we had an intense artillery bombardment from china mainland against the island of Quemoy. With roughly 440 ROC (Republic of China) soldiers and 460 PRC (People’s of Republic of China) soldiers were killed. Why am I being discriminated against? ALL US VETS SHOULD QUALIFY FOR THE ABOVE!!!

      • Lucky Lucy says:

        You are NOT being discriminated against! Give me a break! Veterans who served in WAR ZONES, during TIMES OF WAR, are entitled to something extra, in my opinion. You did not serve during a period of WAR. If you had served during the set periods, and were not able to obtain these benefits, that would be discrimination. Life just isn’t fair. Stop whining.

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