Like any senior citizen, a military veteran might have issues involving poor health, finances or a need for long-term care.

But many veterans have unique circumstances stemming from their time in uniform and the nature of their service, as well as the experiences of their post-military lives. These issues could include homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse, which can all complicate efforts to provide veterans with adequate services and care.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 12.4 million veterans over age 65. More than 40% of Arkansas’ 240,000 veterans are 65 or older.

A wide range of services and health care options are available, but veterans are leaving billions in unclaimed benefits each year, either because they don’t know the value of these programs or that they even exist.

Veterans can enroll in Medicare, and the VA also offers a number of services and programs including disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment and burial.

Elderly veterans using a VA Pension Benefit can take advantage of the Aid and Attendance (A&A) or Housebound programs.

A&A is an increased monthly pension amount for those who require help with dressing and daily functions, are bedridden, are a patient in a nursing home or are at a certain level of limited eyesight. Housebound qualifiers receive an increased monthly pension amount if they are confined to their immediate premises because of an injury.

The VA notes that elderly veterans with complex needs can receive geriatric or long-term care at home, at VA medical centers or in the community.


WHERE TO START

The specific VA benefit or program web page will provide tailored information about how to apply for a particular benefit or program. Links can be found at Benefits.va.gov. Servicemembers, veterans and families can normally apply for VA benefits by:

► Applying online using eBenefits

► Working with an accredited representative or agent

► Visiting a VA regional office for assistance


Sources: AgingCare.com, CornerstoneVNA.org, Benefits.va.gov, Census.gov