Eldercare, whether it’s assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing care, can be quite expensive. However, veterans have a few options that can make assisted living more affordable.
Care Homes Especially for Veterans
Currently, there are eight veteran eldercare facilities in California. San Diego County does have one veteran’s care home, which is located in Chula Vista. This center is known as Veterans Home of California, Chula Vista or VHC-Chula Vista. This is a 400-bed retirement facility that offers several different levels of care.
If you are searching for assisted living for veterans in San Diego, VHC-Chula Vista offers assisted living care as well as skilled nursing care. There are also rooms for those who are fully independent and need no daily supervision. Resident amenities include three meals per day as well as snacks, housekeeping and laundry services, room and board, some daily activities and much more. Medical care also is included, as well as optical care and dental care.
Requirements for an Assisted Living for Veterans Home
In order to qualify for assisted living for veterans in San Diego County, you must be a resident of California. However, you do not need to have served in the military in California. In the past, some wartime service had to have been included during your time of military service, but that is no longer the case. Former military personnel need not have served during wartime to be able to qualify for residence. You do have to have been honorably discharged in order to qualify for residence. In general, you also must be 55 or older; although, exceptions may be offered if you are disabled.
If you wish to reside in assisted living in San Diego County, you can apply for residence at VHC-Chula Vista. You also can apply for residence at the other veteran’s homes in the state. These are located in Barstow, Fresno, Lancaster, Redding, Ventura and Yountville.
Learn more about Veterans Care.
The downside is that there can be extremely long wait lists for admission to these veterans’ homes. If you and your spouse wish to stay together, this can make it even more difficult to secure a room at an assisted living home for veterans. Still, there are some other options for veterans to consider.
Veteran’s Improved Pension Program
If the veteran has a lower income, he or she might be eligible for a Veteran’s Improved Pension. There are four conditions which must be met to qualify for this pension. The veteran must:
- Have been discharged honorably from military service.
- Have served for a set amount of time (this amount of time depends upon the date which you entered the military).
- Have a family income that is below a certain amount.
- Be 65 or older. *
* If you are 64 or younger and permanently disabled, you may be eligible for the pension. This disability need not have occurred because of your military service.
There are three levels in this pension program.
1. Basic Pension
The Basic Pension is for veterans or their surviving spouses who have an extremely low income. Income must be less than $11,830 for a single veteran and less than about $15,493 for a married couple. For a veteran who is homeless or near to homelessness, this can be a good option to consider.
2. Housebound Pension
The Housebound Pension can help veterans remain in their own home or apartment. It provides a pension for those who need some level of in-home care but have a somewhat higher income than a person who would qualify for the Basic Pension. In order to qualify, you will need a physician’s statement that describes your level of need. Generally, this pension is helpful for someone who needs some regular help but not as much care as a person who might qualify for the next level of pension.
3. Aid and Assistance Special Pension
The Aid & Assistance Pension is meant to help veterans with the costs associated with eldercare. This pension is suitable for a person who needs regular assistance daily with bathing, dressing, taking medications, eating (see ADLs) or those with even greater physical needs or disabilities. If you are the veteran and your spouse is the one who needs assisted living in San Diego, this pension may still be available for you. Likewise, if you are the surviving spouse of a person who served in the military, you also may be eligible for this pension.
In order to qualify for Aid & Assistance, you must have no more than $80,000 in assets. Your home and your vehicles are not included in this asset count. This pension can provide up to $1,788 per month for a veteran, $2,120 per month for a married couple and up to $1,149 per month if you are a surviving spouse.
If you do qualify for the Aid & Assistance Pension, we can help you find assisted living in San Diego County or Orange County. We are San Diego’s largest free eldercare referral service and can provide you with a list of suitable assisted living communities, board and care homes, nursing homes or in-home caregivers to provide you with the best possible care.