Benefits For Older Veterans And Their Families
The United States Veterans Administration (VA) offers a broad range of services for veterans of all ages. Unfortunately, some services are underused because many older veterans and their families do not realize these services exist or that they may qualify. They don’t apply for VA benefits even though factors such as low income, disability, or war-time service may have made them eligible. Perhaps, when younger, they used VA education benefits or had a VA home loan while thinking that only veterans with service-related injuries would qualify for other services.
Requirements for benefits have changed from time to time. Some benefits today do not require a service-related injury, although they may require copayments for veterans whose family income and assets exceed the annual limit for no-cost service. Ask about these benefits and whether there are others that may apply:
- Respite care to relieve family caregivers of veterans.
- Medical care for eligible veterans who were discharged with other than dishonorable dischage.
- Disability compensation for veterans with service-related injuries.
- Non-service connected pension for low-income disabled veterans who served during war times.
- Aid and Attendance for eligible veterans in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person.
- Burial benefits for eligible veterans.
- Death pension for low-income surviving spouse and dependents of veterans who served during war times.
Finding VA Resources and Getting Help in Applying
There is a Booklet (2014 edition) published by the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs entitled “Florida Veterans’ Benefits Guide” which can be found here.
Information on VA benefits or a VA Medical Center serving your area can be found by visiting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs web site, www.va.gov. For exact locations of facilities and resources in any state, click on the National Resource Directory on the Veterans Administration web site. The Veterans Affairs web site explains various types of benefits and provides online forms. To locate a VA nursing home in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs web site, Floridavets.org.
The counties of Pasco and Pinellas (Florida) each have a Veterans Services Department that provides an important link in helping residents understand and obtain important government services. These programs help members of the United States Armed Forces (former, present and future), their dependents and survivors receive better access to services. There is no fee or cost for submitting an application for VA benefits and the services are free of charge. To obtain more information, visit either Pinellas County Veteran Services or Pasco County Division of Veterans Services.