The Caring Corner - Blog

Helping Veterans Get Health Care They Need, Deserve

By Emma Dickison

Veterans Day Aid and Attendance Benefit

Today, we honor the millions of veterans, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to serving our country and protecting others.

But too often, these men and women go without the health care they need because of a lack of information or assistance.

What many veterans and their spouses don’t realize is they may be eligible for up to $24,648 per year of tax-free money to help pay for home care services.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefit helps to cover medical expenses, including home care services, such as bathing, dressing, feeding and personal hygiene.

In addition to a lack of awareness, many potentially eligible candidates are deterred by the complexity of the application process. Mark Thommarson, owner of Home Helpers & Direct Link of Corsicana, Tex., experienced this when trying to obtain the benefit for his own parents.

“The mountain of paperwork for the application process was overwhelming,” Thommarson said. “Although the local VA office tried to be helpful, the paperwork seemed complicated, and I understood the process could take 18 months to two years for approval. So at that point, I gave up and continued to pay for their care out of my own pocket.”

Then two years ago, Home Helpers locations nationwide aligned with St. Louis-based Veterans Care Coordination (VCC), an organization dedicated to helping veterans apply for and obtain the benefit.

Despite his initial skepticism, Thommarson gave the process another try with VCC’s assistance.

“I began the application process for Mom and Dad in April 2013. On June 1, we received our authorization for the start of their services through VCC, and in August, we received the award of benefit from the VA,” Thommarson said. “VCC made the process easy and understandable, and they were there to answer my questions every step of the way. The $2,000 worth of care that was previously being paid for by me and my siblings is now being paid for by the VA.”

Today, Thommarson is currently providing home care for eight clients, including his own parents, who qualify for the benefit, and another seven who are pending approval.

To learn more about the benefit and eligibility requirements:

Today, and every day, take a moment to thank our nation’s veterans and their loved ones. They truly are America’s heroes!