A veteran's retirement benefit called Aid and Attendance has been around for nearly 60 years, but is largely overlooked and could be a great retirement planning tool for people who don't think they can afford long-term care insurance.
Any veteran who served at least one day during World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam or the Gulf War are potentially eligible for the program. The veteran doesn't have to have any kind of war injury. If you can qualify for a VA loan, chances are you can qualify for this.
Through the Aid and Attendance program, the Department of Veterans Affairs pays between $1,056 and $1,949 per month for home-based care or care in a facility for single vets, married veterans and their spouses, and surviving spouses.
To qualify, a couple's retirement income can't be higher than $23,396 and a single vet can't make more than $19,736. The income limit for a widow or widower is $12,681. Veterans whose annual earnings exceed that amount may still qualify if their income falls to that level after deducting unreimbursed medical expenses, including the cost of assisted living, home health care, prescription drugs or insurance premiums. In general, the veteran can't have more than $80,000 in liquid assets, not including a home or personal car.
The veteran or spouse must need help with two or more functions of daily living, including bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, etc., have dementia, be blind or be a patient in an assisted-living facility or nursing home because of a mental or physical disability.
State Veterans Affairs offices can provide further information and help with qualifying. The VA warns that there are organizations out there offering this help for a fee. Paying for this assistance is unnecessary and charging for it is possibly illegal, so don't pay.