Here’s what you need to know about using VA benefits to pay for in-home caregivers and how to expedite the process.
VA benefits include a variety of services, from education assistance and home loans to insurance and healthcare. And if your loved one is a veteran who may need assistance at home, you should know that home health care is also on the list.
What In-Home Services Does Veteran’s Aid Cover?
It’s important to understand your options to ensure your loved one receives the care they need without enduring financial hardship. For veterans, VA benefits are referred to as Homemaker Home Health Aide Care.
Homemaker Home Health Aide Care allows a trained individual to come to a veteran’s home to assist with daily living, including cooking, bathing, and dressing. This service can be used in conjunction with other Home and Community-based services.
How to Apply for VA Benefits for In-Home Services
Before you apply for home health benefits, it’s important to understand your VA eligibility. According to the VA website, all veterans enrolled in the VHA standard medical benefits package are eligible for homemaker or home health services “if they meet the clinical need for the service.”
To apply for benefits, you will need to work with a VA social worker who will assess your needs and determine what specific help you’re approved for. They’ll also decide how often you can receive assistance, such as having someone come in daily or once a week.
An alternative is to seek the help of a veterans service organization (VSO) to help guide you through the process. VSOs can act on your behalf to help prepare and present information that will strengthen your claim. They’re skilled in helping vets file claims for benefits and can usually help you fill out the right paperwork and develop a complete claim faster and with more confidence than you may be able to do yourself.
Tips for Getting Approved for Home Care
As with many VA benefits, the paperwork and approval process for home care can be lengthy and confusing. On average, VA spends 175 days per claim gathering information on behalf of the veteran. But while this might seem advisable because it’s less work for you, it’s also time spent waiting before a decision is made. The more information you can gather upfront, the faster you can resolve your claim and start getting the care you need.
Many veterans and their families hire a veterans’ attorney to expedite the claims process and get you the funds you need for in-home care. Attorneys are familiar with the process, understand what information VA requires, and can ensure all paperwork is filled out correctly to reduce wait times.
However, if you choose not to hire an attorney, you’ll need to understand the requirements for VA eligibility and what to expect to receive your benefits. First and foremost, you’ll have to ensure you fill out the right paperwork correctly and provide plenty of evidence detailing why you need help at home. You may need statements from doctors, a full medical history, or even testimonies from family members that can support your claim.
It can take some time and effort to receive the VA benefits you’re entitled to, but it can be worth every minute if it means being able to afford the in-home care that will improve your loved one’s quality of life.