How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in Montana

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for Montana 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 Montana 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 benefits could take several months to complete. However, when approved applicants receive their benefits, they will do so retroactive to the original application date. And Montana has a wealth of valuable resources that can help veterans navigate this process or any other veteran benefit related process. he Bureau of Montana Veterans’ Service provides the state’s veterans a wide array of services that include assistance with VA claims, assisted living homes, legal representation, and more. The organization also works in tandem with various County Veterans’ Services Offices (CVSOs) to help vets and their families with benefits, referrals, and various forms of advocacy. To find the CVSO nearest you, visit

What is assisted living like?

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

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Montana is $42,150 per year, which is below the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,513 and a daily cost of $115. 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 $52,624 for homemaker services and home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to Montana’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $79,570 for a semi-private room and $83,220 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 Montana

The Bureau of Land Management provides special vehicle access permits to aid disabled veterans in hunting and retrieving game. Veterans can also more easily access the wonders of the parks through these special permits. A variety of outfitters and guides have adapted equipment to allow veterans to enjoy white-water rafting or fishing trips. Guided tour of parks in specially equipped vehicles is also a possibility.

Veterans of Foreign Wars offices throughout the state organize a variety of activities and social events for veterans and their families. Many conduct charity fundraisers to aid veterans in the community. The VA Adaptive Sports Program helps veterans participate in sports and thus achieve and maintain a higher level of physical fitness. Sports centers are located in Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, and Kalispell. These centers specialize in meeting the needs of veterans of all disability levels.

The Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum offer a wide array of exhibits and can be a great way to spend a day. Here you can take a trip back millions of years ago to a time when dinosaurs roamed through what is now Montana. The Frontier Gateway Museum in Glendive should be visited multiple times because it contains a plethora of local history exhibits. Since it is free to explore it is a great way to take time and learn about the local legends and how those that settled the area lived. Locals have donated many original items from the town's colorful history.