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Veterans Benefits
Marp
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 9:57 AM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 97


My sister has been diagnosed, at age 55, with early onset dementia.  She is a veteran and eligible for some services through the VA Health Care System.

The VA social worker said she is eligible for long term care services, which, as I understand includes adult day care.  It also includes some in home care, which we talked about a bit.

Has anyone used those services?  What can you tell me about them?  I'm assuming the VA would come out to do an assessment to determine what services and how much they are willing to assist with. 

We've checked into the Aid and Attendance benefit, but she doesn't qualify because she didn't serve at least one day during a period of war. 

Thanks




Quilting brings calm
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 11:30 AM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 1108


I am interested in answers for this as my dad is also a non war period veteran. My parents are in assisted living and I would like to know if they are eligible for anything regarding that and the process to go about it.  With the Covid restrictions,  they are only allowed out of the ASL for essential errands ( doctors).  I would need to be involved somehow just to get to get things lined up property and am not  allowed in the ASL due to the Covid restrictions.
Marp
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 12:29 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 97


If your dad has obtained health care from the VA within the last 2 years (I think that's what it is), he may be eligible for some benefits through the VA Health Care system.  I'd contact the nearest VA Health Care facility.  

You might be able to get contact information for the nearest VA Health Care facility here:

https://www.va.gov/
manuzito
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 1:16 PM
Joined: 7/8/2018
Posts: 39


Marp, my DH was a veteran from WWII.  He didn’t follow up about his benefits and for many years we paid his health care expenses from our pocket since he was self employed.  He had macular degeneration and talking to a neighbor we found out that he could’ve been covered by the VA health care system most of his life after the war.  Since 2006 he was completely covered after being evaluated and diagnosed with low vision.  They only considered his income therefore he didn’t have any copayment for anything including hospitalization.  He started with 10/hrs a week of in home visits, after reevaluation he got 14/hrs a week.  Two years ago he was diagnosed with dementia.  He received whatever he needed at no cost at all.  Hospital stay, hospital bed, wheel chairs, walkers etc.

He could’ve been placed in the VA facility for long term care but I decided to be his caregiver and keep him at home.

He passed away a month ago and tomorrow he’ll be placed to rest in the Veterans National Cemetery with all the honors he deserved for his love to this country.  I’m very pleased with the care he received from the Veterans Administration and we were lucky to get a caring social worker assigned to us.

God luck to you and thank your sister for her service and I wish her to receive the best care possible.


MN Chickadee
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 3:38 PM
Joined: 9/7/2014
Posts: 1578


I don't have experience with the VA but wanted to say we found adult daycare to be a lifesaver. It allowed us to keep my mom at home much longer than otherwise possible. It provided socialization and activities at her level and respite for my dad and me. In my state of MN there are also state run long term care facilities for veterans and their spouse, which I believe are separate from the federal VA. They happen to be excellent homes (at least here) and had my LO been a veteran I would have been on that waiting  list as a back up plan. I'm sure others will come along who have used VA benefits for their LO with dementia.
Marp
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 3:56 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 97


Thank you for your response Manuzito and I'm sorry for your loss.

The VA social worker with whom I spoke indicated that she usually sees more in home care hours allocated when there is a physical limitation than when it's just the cognitive issues.  She said they do consider the veteran's ability to protect themselves from the elements of the environment (I have a splitting headache and can't remember that term).  She said my sister might get 6-8 hours a week at first, not a lot, but every little bit helps.

I was just wondering how accurate her statements were.  And am curious as to the process.
star26
Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 5:20 PM
Joined: 2/6/2018
Posts: 646


Hi Marp, My Dad was also a veteran that did not serve during wartime and we used a ton of VA benefits to care for him at home. I was very happy with the VA. The weekly care hours at home that they paid for increased as his needs increased. Our social worker assessed him by asking me questions about his abilities and we kept updating this as he progressed. They paid about $3000 per month towards care aides needed for supervision, mental stimulation, fall prevention, meal prep, and help with hygiene. I hired the aides myself (the VA took care of taxes and all the paperwork) and paid them $18-$25/hour. They also paid for daycare at a facility because it was cost effective ($60-$70 per day) and satisfied his goals of mental and physical stimulation and preventing falls through supervision. They also paid for 30 days of facility care for respite purposes per calendar year. The facility charged $365/day. I would schedule it all at once in December and January so I could have a solid 60 day block of time off, but you can also break it down in 10 day increments. When traveling to doctor's appointments became difficult (needed a cane) all medical care was provided in his home, including a geriatric psychiatrist. The occupational therapist also visited and ordered a ton of equipment to modify the home for him including a custom stairlift that cost over $10,000 because she thought he'd need it in the future. Like manuzito, I could not be more pleased with the good care and attention my Dad received from the VA. It's a breath of fresh air when medical personnel place the patient's wellbeing as their top and only priority.
Marp
Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2021 1:49 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 97


Thank you Star 26, this is exactly the type of information I was looking for!  I've spoken to our local VA social worker who has been very helpful, but she's not able to provide too much info on real life application of the benefits.  She can give general information on what might be available.

Did your dad have a service connected disability?  Did that make a difference?

I'm perfectly willing to pay for some of the care myself.  It just would be nice to have even a little bit of help.


blanch
Posted: Saturday, January 16, 2021 11:48 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 8


Does the VA pay for memory care facility costs or do they have a memory care facility? 

I'm actually pretty shocked reading all this. My LO is on VA benefits and gets the additional "aid and attendance" benefit but I've never heard of additional care available beyond this.  

Please tell me, this would mean so much to have additional resources available.


Marp
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 2:44 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 97


blanch wrote:

Does the VA pay for memory care facility costs or do they have a memory care facility? 

I'm actually pretty shocked reading all this. My LO is on VA benefits and gets the additional "aid and attendance" benefit but I've never heard of additional care available beyond this.  

Please tell me, this would mean so much to have additional resources available.

The benefits we're talking about would come through the Veterans Health Care system.  
Aide and Attendance is administered through the Veterans Benefits Administration.
I would contact the nearest Veterans Health Care facility and talk to a social worker.  Your LO would need to be enrolled in the Veterans Health Care system, I think, in order to get these other benefits.

star26
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 3:32 PM
Joined: 2/6/2018
Posts: 646


Yes, Marp. My Dad had a 10% service connected disability but I don't think that played a role in most or all of the services he received. Adult Day Health, Home Health Care, Homemaker and Home Health Aide Services, Family Caregivers Program, and Home Based Primary Care were listed in our benefits book as standard benefits under VA Healthcare. The inpatient respite had a small copayment - $100 total I think, but this was waived for us. I think that was due to his disability.  I felt the same as you - we paid for some care on our own as well, but the extra assistance and payments from the VA helped a lot.  There are other programs, such as long term care in a facility, that he did not qualify for because his service connected disability wasn't high enough. Most of the benefits were for keeping him at home. This seemed to be a goal of the VA.
Caring4two
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 5:46 PM
Joined: 7/6/2014
Posts: 679


     I would start by getting her VA doctor to fill out this form. That will put her in Priority Group 4. Her VA social worker should be able to help you with this. It is not based on service connected disability or income. This designation as catastrophically disabled opens the door to future services such as adult day care and home care. Look at the section (about half way down the form) is where it addresses ADLs and cognitive issues. 

Sadly, many VA doctors and social workers are unaware of this form so you have to advocate for these services. 

The daycare or any service provider must have a contract with the VA. I used the daycare services for my husband (Vietnam vet). I paid $15 a day instead of $60. He died in 2017 but loved the daycare. They nicknamed him captain. 

 https://helpdesk.vetsfirst.org/index.php?pg=file&from=2&id=562

https://www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/resources/publications/IB10-435_catastrophically-disabled-veterans.pdf

 https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/pages/Alzheimers_and_Dementia_Care.asp


Quilting brings calm
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 5:52 PM
Joined: 10/16/2020
Posts: 1108


These last few posts are the answers I had expected to my questions. 

My parents did not think they were eligible for any benefits due to their income ( that’s what dad had mentioned in the past).  Not sure if he had inquired since he retired.  I don’t think it matters at this point since he’s not eligible for the aid and attendance and is in ASL.  He only has 4 years in the service. He has both Medicare and union retiree health insurance.  However, once Mom goes to MC ( unknown tum frame), he thinks he will leave ASL. I may inquire about the services at that point.  My thoughts and his doctors thoughts are that he will still need ASL, but he’s very bull-headed. 


Caring4two
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 6:07 PM
Joined: 7/6/2014
Posts: 679


Aid and Attendance IS income based. Some of the other services are not, but one must be declared catastrophically disabled by getting the form filled out by VA doctor. When care needs increase in cost (ie move from assisted living to memory care) savings can deplete rapidly, then one might meet the income requirements for A&A.

Info about VA priority groups. Pay special attention to priority group #4.

 https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups/


4Grams
Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 9:01 PM
Joined: 1/13/2017
Posts: 58


My DH receives Aid and Attendance which I appreciate but will not cover very much for private sitters. We are getting 10 hrs for sitters during the week from the VA. His dr suggested it. Also receives 6 hrs every other weekend. This helps! I am asking for more hours. Call the social worker at your VA clinic and check into Homebound compensation. Contact the Veterans service officer in your county.
 
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