How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Maryland
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Maryland 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 Maryland 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 that is needed in order to receive the Aid and Attendance benefit is one that could take several months from beginning to end. However, applicants that are approved will receive retroactive benefits which are traced back to the initial application date. For veterans that are in need of help getting through this or other associated veteran benefits, Maryland does offer several resources that could help them out. The state’s Department of Veterans Affairs provides the state’s vets with a complete set of services built to provide them with astute assistance. This includes assisted living homes, help with Veterans Administration claims, legal aid, and other important advocacy services. To get connected with the Department of Veterans Affairs, visit www.veterans.maryland.gov.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Annapolis 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 Maryland?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Maryland is $45,000 per year, which is above the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,750 and a daily cost of $123. 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 $45,485 for homemaker services and $47,476 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Maryland’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $104,208 for a semi-private room and $113,333 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 Maryland
Maryland’s Department of Veterans Affairs operates a wide range of programs designed serve and support the state’s numerous veterans, from specialized support groups and housing services to e-mail updates regarding events. Maryland is also home to several museum-themed points of interest that make for great destinations for a personal excursion, an assisted living field trip, or for the times when the family comes into town. A lot of the destinations also have programs where veterans can volunteer, which allow them to share their stories and unique insight with tourists of all ages.
The main military point of interest in Maryland is the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, whose sprawling facility is available for tours. A close second to this title may be Fort McHenry, which played a pivotal role in the War of 1812 - not to mention the creation of the Star Spangled Banner. At the Maryland Museum of Military History, guests can experience traveling and permanent exhibits pertaining to the state’s rich history of defending the nation, starting with its role in the Revolutionary War. And the downtown Baltimore harbor is home to several historic ships, including the USS Constellation.
If you are a veteran or family member who is experiencing dire financial circumstances, you may be able to access assistance through the Maryland Veteran’s Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization that receives donations from local business and citizens, and then can in turn make loans and grants to veterans in severe need. Loans have helped veterans who become unemployed, are struggling to make their house payment, or are facing unexpected financial hardships. The Fund provides a way for individuals to thank and support U.S. veterans through tax-free donations. For more information and to request an application for the Veterans Trust Fund, veterans can call 800-446-4926, ext. 6460.