Veterans’ long-term care needs are expanding as Vietnam War veterans experience age-related health issues. This article describes long-term care benefits and eligibility requirements for our aging Hoosier veterans.
Indiana Veterans’ Home
The Indiana Veterans’ Home (IVH) in Lafayette serves honorably discharged Indiana veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents. The IVH facility offers long-term care, memory care, rehab to home therapy, and independent living services.
Eligible Residents and Patients
The IVH website says an eligible resident or therapy patient must pass a criminal background check and be:
- An honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. armed forces, or the spouse (or surviving spouse) of an honorably discharged veteran.
- An Indiana resident for at least one year immediately preceding application for admission (some nonresidents may qualify for residency waivers).
- A Gold Star parent –a parent of military service member who died while serving in the Armed Forces.
Indiana Veterans’ Home Costs
Veterans and their families should read the IVH application packet carefully (available online at https://www.in.gov/ivh/files/IVH-Admissions-Application-Packet-Feb2020.pdf). Veterans with VA service-connected disability ratings of 70% or greater qualify for FREE IVH nursing care. However, the 2021 cost of IVH nursing care for other veterans and qualified family members is $415.14 per day ($151,475 per year). Although it is less expensive, the 2021 IVH independent living cost is $138 per day ($50,370 per year).
Veterans with service-connected disability ratings below 70% may need Medicaid assistance to pay for IVH nursing home care. Medicaid is too complex to cover here, so we suggest these articles for more Medicaid eligibility information:
- Transfers During Medicaid’s Look-Back Period
- Medicaid and Medicare In Indiana For Older, Disabled Americans
- Indiana Medicaid Application Issues
- MEDICAID APPLICATION TRIAL AND ERROR
VA AID AND ATTENDANCE &
The VA offers several programs to help veterans pay for health care. Most notably, veterans with honorable discharges or discharges with honorable terms are eligible for treatment in VA hospitals. The VA also offers the Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions to help veterans afford long-term care.
Aid and Attendance Pension Physical Eligibility
The Aid and Attendance (A&A) monthly pension helps veterans and their surviving spouses pay long-term care costs. While the pension is inadequate for nursing home costs, it can make an assisted living facility affordable. An applicant must have one or more of the following issues to receive A&A benefits:
- Need help performing activities of daily living, include bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protection from environmental hazards;
- Be bedridden by a disability requiring patient to stay in bed between treatments;
- Be a nursing home patient because of mental or physical incapacity;
- Have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes; or
- Have visual field concentric contraction to 5 degrees or less.
Housebound Pension Physical Eligibility
The VA Housebound Pension helps veterans pay for health care in their homes. A veteran must have one of the following health issues to receive Housebound benefits:
- a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling confining the veteran in one place; or
- a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling and another disability (or disabilities) evaluated as 60-percent or more.
Aid and Attendance Financial Eligibility
The total value of net assets and annual net income of veterans seeking A&A benefits cannot exceed $130,773. Although some folks might think of giving assets to their families to drop their wealth below the limit, it isn’t that simple. The A&A requirements include a transfer penalty system that resembles the Medicaid penalty system. The VA transfer penalty rules disqualify applicants for asset transfers within the three years before they apply for A&A benefits.
More VA Aid and Attendance Information
These VA webpages offer more A&A information:
The A&A application process is like many other experiences with government agencies – slow and complex. So, call or visit your County Veterans Service Office to get A&A application advice and guidance. Hoosiers can find their County Veterans Service Offices through this webpage:
About the Authors
Jeff and Jennifer are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers. They are also active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Jeff is also a member of the Illinois NAELA Chapter.
Jeff is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation. He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and he served as the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.
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