How the Aid and Attendance benefit helps veterans in South Carolina

Receiving aid with daily tasks can make a significant improvement in the quality of life for South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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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What is assisted living like?

There is some variance in assisted living facilities. The facilities that are located in larger cities like Columbia 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 South Carolina?

According to data culled from Genworth’s 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in South Carolina is $36,000 per year, which is significantly less than the average nationwide cost of $43,539. This price tag translates to a monthly cost of $3,000 and a daily cost of $99. Precise costs will vary based on the city and the region that the facility is located in, but as a whole, the average cost is comparable to the state’s annual home health care costs, which checks out at $41,184 for homemaker services and $42,397 for home health aide services. It also represents a substantial savings in comparison to South Carolina’s nursing home care costs, which can break down to an annual cost of $72,635 for a semi-private room and $79,147 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 South Carolina

South Carolina has some beautiful white-sand beaches and a low cost of living so you can do more with your entertainment and recreation budget. Myrtle Beach offers inexpensive getaways. Some hotels are not as handicap accessible as others or have limited ground floor rooms so it is good to make requests ahead of time.

The mild climate makes South Carolina a desirable place for many people to live in. Sadlers Creek State Park is handicap accessible. There are many picnic tables, shelters, and well kept trails. The park has a view of Lake Hartwell, with some campsites and shelters on the banks of the lake. There are great opportunities for fishing from shore.

The city of Columbia, SC offers opportunities to enjoy college football games. The Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden has so many different exhibits to see that you will find yourself going back many times. Walterboro is home to the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial, honoring those that flew in World War II. The South Carolina Artisans Center is a great place to browse quality handmade goods from South Carolina. Downtown Books and Espresso offers books, coffee, and more. Colleton State Park is nearby for a fantastic outdoor experience.

South Carolina has veterans service offers available in many towns. Officers are from all 46 of South Carolina's counties. If you need help locating an office, you can contact the SC Association of County Veterans Affairs Officers at (803)283-2469.