Private Duty Homecare Through the Veterans Administration

By Deborah Walsh

Have you considered private-duty home care for your elderly family member? Maybe you’ve been looking after your father or grandfather for some time. He has been living alone and experiencing difficulty with his mobility, strength and balance, or some health issue. As a family caregiver, you feel overwhelmed and keep wondering if there are other options available.

He doesn’t have a lot of money, and neither do you. The idea of hiring a home care aide has simply not been an option. If, however, your elderly veteran father or grandfather is considered a wartime veteran, in other words, he served during a time of active combat, he may qualify for the Aid and Attendance Benefit.

What is the Aid and Attendance Benefit?

This benefit, available through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), was developed after World War II to help soldiers get the proper care and support they needed to cope with injuries and disabilities sustained in battle. Through the years it expanded to now cover veterans of all ages, whether they were injured or disabled in active service or not. The Aid and Attendance Benefit can be used for private duty home care, incontinence supplies, medical alert bracelets and other services, which allow seniors to live safely at home.

In order to qualify for this particular pension, wartime veterans need to be able to prove home care is necessary.

In order to qualify, a physician must confirm the veteran’s need for custodial care at home. In other words, the veteran or their surviving spouse needs assistance with activities of daily living such as preparing meals, bathing, dressing, walking, or moving about, grooming and using the bathroom.

Surviving spouses of wartime veterans are also eligible.

Women or men who never served in the military are eligible for this pension if they were married to a wartime veteran at the time of his/her death and haven’t remarried.

The application process can take a long time.

There is a backlog at the VA, which means it could take several months, even up to a year, for qualifying veterans to have their applications for the Aid and Attendance Benefit approved. It’s essential that any veteran who believes he or she would qualify for this pension and has a need for home care support, begins the application as soon as possible.

But help is available right away!

Through our partnership with Veterans Home Care, VetAssist Program, United Methodist Communities HomeWorks Home Care can provide homecare services before your application is approved. This program will help you in the following ways:

  • Determine if you qualify;
  • Identify and obtain the documents needed;
  • Assist in completing the application;
  • Furnish an interest-free loan to obtain home care services right away while you are waiting for your application to be approved; and
  • Monitor the application’s progress and aid with responding to VA requests for additional information until your pension is approved.

UMC HomeWorks provides hourly, certified home health aides and companions, as well as live-in care. To find out more about all HomeWorks’ services, visit UMCHomeWorks.org.

Deborah Walsh is Executive Director of HomeWorks.