Every May is National Older Americans Month.
It is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current seniors, and in particular, those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. There are currently more than nine million veterans of retirement age, and many more are expected to reach their 65th birthdays in the coming years.
National Older Americans Month helps raise awareness about the challenges facing senior veterans, and highlights important resources to support them, along with other aging adults.
This month-long event dates back to 1963, two years before Medicare was created. At the time, more than one-third of all seniors lived in poverty, and there were few federal programs assisting them. Today, seniors fare far better, but there is still much work to be done.
Perhaps the single most important resource for aging veterans is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA. The agency offers a wide range of support spanning health care, education, disability benefits and pension as well as long-term care services and crisis care.
The VA defines a “veteran” as someone who actively served in the military and who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Former service members who meet this definition are eligible for VA health care. Once enrolled, aging veterans can take advantage of numerous programs, such as the VA’s long-term care program.
The latter program can provide support in certain situations and in different settings, including seniors’ homes and nursing homes, and further provides support for their family members and outside caregivers. Further, for veterans who are able to meet certain eligibility requirements, VA Pension with Aid & Attendance benefits exist to help them afford the high cost of long-term care.
National Older Americans Month helps bring many of these programs into focus, and adult children of aging veterans can help facilitate these important resources. If an elder veteran is having any issues securing earned benefits or needs assistance applying for or receiving the benefits he or she is entitled to, we encourage you not to wait to schedule a meeting in our office. Our attorney Anthony Bradley is not only VA accredited but has extensive experience representing veterans and their loved ones with a myriad of VA claims.