How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Illinois

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Illinois seniors. For those who served the country bravely, the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Pension program is available to help make this level of improvement a little more attainable. Eligible Illinois vets and their surviving spouses can qualify should they need aid in various activities for daily living (also known as ADLs). These tasks could include rudimentary functions like dressing, bathing, eating, transportation for errands and appointments, and medication management, although it should be noted that eligible applicants don’t need to require aid with everything in order to qualify. A&A recipients can also utilize these funds to help pay for costs associated with home care, skilled nursing home care, or assisted living.

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The application process needed to secure the A&A benefit could potentially take several months in order to complete. With that being said, it should be noted that applicants will receive retroactive benefits that track back to the initial application date upon approval. Should you be in need of assistance with getting the application process started, Illinois offers several resources that could help you out.

While the application process for the A&A benefit could take several months to complete, it should be noted that applicants that get approved will receive retroactive benefits that track back to the initial application date. Furthermore, if you need assistance with getting the ball rolling on the process, there are plenty of sources that could help you out. The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) offers the state’s vets a vast host of services including assistance with VA claims, veteran housing, legal aid and much more. The IDVA also works with a full slate of County Veterans Service Officers (CVSOs) that can assist vets and their families with benefits, referrals, advocacy, and more. To find the CVSO nearest you, visit the Benefits Assistance page at

What is assisted living like?

There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Chicago will be ideal for those that still want to be close to metropolitan perks such as restaurants, shops, and cultural activities. On the flip side, those who prefer the quiet nature of suburbia may gravitate toward an assisted living community in a bedroom community, where parks and familiar chain retailers rule the day.

The facilities also have variances based on interests. Some places are run by religious organizations and feature various activities and observances that are in line with the particular faith’s belief system. There are also homes that are wholly dedicated to serving veterans, which may be of interest to vets that want to spend their days enjoying the inimitable spark of camaraderie amongst those that have proudly served their country.

Each assisted living facility is home to various services that are contained within the monthly room and board fee. Basic services typically include key elements for proper senior care-fueled living, such as private living spaces, 24-hour security and nurse access, call buttons in the rooms in case of a sudden emergency, meals, housekeeping, utilities, and laundry. These essential services can be augmented for an extra fee. Extra services that could be added include salon care, massage therapy, and personalized laundry and transportation service. Because these latter services vary from venue to venue, it is always a wise idea to research to see what is included and what is constituted as an add-on perk at every assisted living facility considered. It is also prudent to ask if the facility also offers continuum of care, in which a resident can stay on the campus should their assisted living needs change over time.

What does assisted living cost in Illinois?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Illinois is $46,770 per year, which is above the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,898 and a daily cost of $128. Precise costs will vary based on the city and the region that the facility is located in. The state’s annual home health care costs check in at $48,345 for homemaker services and $50,336 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Illinois’ nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $67,160 for a semi-private room and $74,825 for a private room.

Veterans and their spouses that do qualify for the A&A Pension Benefit can utilize the benefits they receive to help cover the assisted living costs. The benefit can provide upwards of $1,794 per month to a vet, $1,153 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,127 per month to a couple. A veteran that files with a sick spouse can be eligible for as much as $1,410 per month.

Resources and recreation for veterans in Illinois

IDVA operates several programs that lend support and service to the state’s numerous veterans. These services can include, e-mail updates on local events, special support programs, and housing services. Additionally, Illinois is home to a several tourist attractions that specialize in telling various tales tied to the United States military. These attractions are ideal places to visit as part of an assisted living field trip, when the family comes into town, or simply on your own time. Many of these venues also welcome veterans as volunteers, which could give vets the chance to share their stories and experiences with visitors of all ages.

The state capital of Springfield is home to the Illinois State Military Museum, which is home to exhibits and artifacts built around the state’s citizens’ involvement in the military as well as other unique items, such as Mexican General Santa Anna’s artificial leg. Those near Chicago can check out the Russell Military Museum and its impressive collection of military vehicles and artillery.