How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Michigan

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Michigan 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 Michigan 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 to receive A&A Pension benefits is lengthy, and could take several months from beginning to end. Still, those that are approved can receive benefits that are retroactive to the initial application date. Should you need help in completing this process, Michigan has several resources in place that provide you with sufficient guidance. The state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) offers the state’s veterans a full complement of services that can range from assisted living homes and help with claims representation to providing legal aid. What’s more, the GDVS works in tandem with the state’s Veterans Service Offices and Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Agents to provide vets and their family members with a wide assortment of benefits, referrals, and advocacy. To get connected to a Veterans Field Service Office or a Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Agent nearest you, visit and click on the County Contacts for Veterans link.

What is assisted living like?

There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Detroit 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 Michigan?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Michigan is $42,750 per year, which is below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,563 and a daily cost of $117. 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 $46,332 for homemaker services and $48,048 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Michigan’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $91,250 for a semi-private room and $98,185 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 Michigan

The DMVA runs a host of programs that provide service and support to Michigan’s veterans. Select services include event notification via e-mail, veteran housing, and specialized support programs for women, minority, and LGBTQ vets. Michigan is also home to several military-themed tourist attractions and points of interest. Collectively, these venues make wonderful excursions for day out, a field trip with fellow assisted living residents, or a family visit. Several of these special destinations also welcome veterans on a volunteer basis, which allows each vet to share their stories and firsthand knowledge with visitors, especially those of the younger generation.

Michigan’s Military & Space Heroes Museum is located in the upstate community of Frankenmuth and contains several exhibits and collections chronicling the contribution the state’s citizens have made to the country’s defense. If you visit Detroit, you can stop by the Tuskegee Airmen National Museum; a venue devoted to telling the tale of brave African-American soldiers who fought for the country at a time where they were not considered equal to other American citizens.