The results from the 2015 national census estimate there are 9.3 million Veterans over the age of 65 living in the U.S. These veterans served in a range of wartime conflicts around the globe. Elderly Veterans served in World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
Aging Veterans often face additional challenges as a result of their time served. Veterans are confronted with disabilities, PTSD and homelessness. Along with the standard benefits offered to Veterans of all ages, elderly Veterans have access to additional benefits.
Elderly Veteran's benefits
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers an array of benefits and services to the elderly men and women who served.
- Veterans Pension: The benefit is a tax-free monetary benefit paid to low-income wartime Veterans. In order to be eligible, the Veteran must be 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled, or a patient in a nursing home or receiving Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. Additionally, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service with one day served during a wartime period.
- Aid and Attendance (A&A): A&A is a monetary benefit paid to Veterans eligible for the Pension who also require help with two out of five daily functions, such as transferring, dressing, ambulation, eating or toileting/bathing.
- Geriatrics and Extended Care: A health care program for elderly Veterans. The program also provides access to long-term care, home-based and community services and nursing home and residential care. Veterans can receive more than one service at a time. The benefit is designed to facilitate a Veteran's independence and quality of life while also providing support to the Veteran's caregivers.
Eligibility for the monetary benefits is also limited by the yearly income rates set by Congress. The Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) is reviewed periodically to adjust for the cost of living. Income counted towards the MAPR includes earnings, disability or retirement payments and interest or dividends from investments. However, monthly unreimbursed medical expenses will reduce countable income. The VA will also factor in net worth assets, such as investments, property outside of the primary home and investments if they are substantial enough to live off of for a reasonable period of time.
Veterans made tremendous sacrifices during their time of service and should receive all the health and welfare benefits available.