How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Minnesota
Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 for A&A Benefits is a long one that can take several months from beginning to end. However, applicants that get approved will receive their benefits retroactively, dating back to their original application date. Plus, Minnesota has a wealth of resources that can give you the guidance that you may need in order to navigate through this process, as well as other veteran-related processes. The Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs (MDVA) offers the state’s vets a full suite of services that include assisted living homes, legal aid, assistance with VA claims, and more. The organization works in tandem with the state’s County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO) to provide vets and their families with guidance with benefits, referrals, and other forms of advocacy. To get connected with these services, visit the Assistance & Families page at www.mn.gov/mdva.
What is assisted living like?
There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Minneapolis 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 Minnesota?
According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Minnesota is $38,400 per year, which is below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,200 and a daily cost of $105. 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 $54,912 for homemaker services and $59,488 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Minnesota’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $88,330 for a semi-private room and $97,032 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 Minnesota
The MDVA runs a wide variety of programs to provide service and support the state’s numerous vets. These programs include housing services, e-mail notifications on local services and events, specialized support programs for women, minority, and LGBTQ soldiers, and more. What’s more, Minnesota is also home to several military-themed points of interest throughout the state. These special venues could make for great day excursions, a stellar assisted living field trip, or even an outing when the family comes into town. Quite a few of these destinations also welcome veterans to volunteer, so they can share their insight and stories with visitors, especially young people.
The Minnesota Military Museum, located in Little Falls, shines the spotlight on the stories and the contributions regarding the Minnesota citizens that have defended the country. During the summer, you can make a trek to the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers and check out Historic Fort Snelling, a national landmark that is home to several artifacts related to The Civil War, World War II, and lesser-known skirmishes such as the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.