Caring for a loved one who needs help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing or bathing, often feels overwhelming. Even if you’ve hired help, the stress and costs take a toll. But for military-connected individuals facing the challenges of age-related chronic illnesses and considering or currently in assisted living, more help may be out there. If your loved one is a senior veteran, a disabled veteran from the Global War on Terror, or a surviving spouse of a fallen service member, they may be eligible for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits or programs. Your loved one may choose to utilize monetary VA benefits or VA health care benefits to help cover the costs of assisted living.
Learn all about VA benefits
A Place for Mom’s all-in-one veterans resource helps veterans and their families compare long-term care benefits, determine eligibility, and start the application process.
No, the VA does not pay for assisted living costs like room and board.
However, veterans, surviving spouses, and other military-connected individuals, at their discretion, may be able to use VA pension funds, VA survivor funds, and VA disability payments to cover some or all of the cost of assisted living or its related costs. The VA Aid and Attendance benefit and VA health care may also be used to cover some costs related to assisted living.
The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would direct the VA to operate a pilot program to provide assisted living services to veterans who qualify. While this bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate in May 2022, it hasn’t yet been signed into law.
While the VA doesn’t directly pay assisted living bills for a veteran, their spouse, or for a surviving spouse, an individual can choose to use the money provided through VA assistance to cover assisted living expenses.
For example, a veteran who receives a monetary VA benefit can choose to spend that money on any costs related to their long-term care, whether it’s used for room and board, extra transportation, or specialized medical care related to a new injury.
Military-connected individuals may utilize the following VA benefits for assisted living expenses and associated costs:
Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.
While the VA doesn’t offer assisted living, veterans enrolled in the Veterans health system may be eligible to live in a VA community living center (VA nursing centers), community nursing home, or state veterans home. VA benefits for nursing home care may cover a portion of such care for these nursing homes if a veteran meets specific eligibility guidelines, including service-connected status, level of disability, and income.
Sick or disabled veterans may qualify for other long-term care services as part of VA health benefits. These services include the following:
The amount that a veteran, veteran spouse, surviving spouse, or another military-connected person may receive through VA benefits varies based on benefits eligibility. The military-connected person can typically spend the money from these benefits on whatever they choose. This includes paying for assisted living and associated costs.
Individuals who qualify for a VA pension or Survivors Pension and Aid and Attendance benefits may receive the maximum annual pension rates as follows:
If you don’t qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, but you’re a surviving spouse or a dependent child, you may receive the maximum annual pension rates as follows:
If you’re a qualified veteran for a pension, but you don’t qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits, you may receive the maximum annual pension rates as follows:
Disability compensation generally depends upon the percentage of the disability rating. The VA usually determines this rating based on the severity of a veteran’s service-connected condition or disability. Veterans may be rated anywhere from 0% to 100%.
The monthly payments are as follows for a veteran with no dependents:
The VA may cover some other long-term care services for sick or disabled veterans. However, the exact amounts of benefits provided are specific to the individual and their unique health needs.
Before your loved one starts applying for VA benefits, they should explore the options available through the VA. They’ll need to consider which program or benefit may be the correct fit for their military-connected status.
If your loved one is a veteran, see if they qualify for the following benefits:
If they’re the spouse of a living veteran, consider whether they can qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit with their spouse.
If they’re a surviving spouse or another surviving dependent, look closely at the Survivors Pension. They may have eligibility under this benefit.
Eligibility for VA benefits varies by benefit or program and may take into account financial needs, wartime service, disability, toxic exposure, or other factors.
Depending upon the specific benefit or program and its qualifying factors, the following military-connected individuals may be eligible for VA benefits in certain circumstances:
If your loved one didn’t qualify in the past, it may be worth a second look. In 2022, the Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act resulted in a massive expansion of veterans eligible for VA health care and other benefits.
Yes, veteran spouses may qualify for VA benefits that can be used toward assisted living costs in some circumstances.
Additionally, Gold Star family members (the immediate relatives of the fallen) are also included in many VA benefits. The VA mission follows the direction of the late President Lincoln: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” As such, surviving spouses and other veteran dependents may also qualify for benefits that may be used to pay for assisted living costs.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Applying for VA benefits can be a highly complex process. It may be helpful to reach out to the VA to find the appropriate starting place for your unique situation and qualifications.
You can reach out to the VA through:
Here are some resources that can assist with the application process for veterans benefits:
Note: A Place for Mom may be compensated if you choose to use Patriot Angels’ services.
In recognition of their service and sacrifice, veterans may receive opportunities to access assisted living that aren’t available to the general public. These include the following:
It can be challenging to find an assisted living community that meets the unique preferences of your loved one. You may be looking for an environment that honors their service and connects them with other veterans, veteran spouses, and surviving spouses.
Touring a community can be a great way to learn if the atmosphere will suit your military-connected loved one. During a tour, you can ask staff the following questions:
It may also be valuable to read online community reviews at A Place for Mom to learn more about specific communities. Our Senior Living Advisors can also help you discover assisted living options that meet your loved one’s needs, all at no cost to you.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 13). VA financial benefits.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). VA aid and attendance benefits and housebound allowance.
The United States Government. (2023, April 6). Military pay and pensions.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, January 25).VA disability compensation.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). VA nursing homes, assisted living, and home health care.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Residential settings and nursing homes.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29). 2023 VA pension rates for veterans.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29). 2023 VA Survivors Pension benefit rates.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 29). 2023 veterans disability compensation rates.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, March 30). The PACT Act and your VA benefits.
Armed Forces Retirement Home. Fees.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, March 1). VA home loans.
The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
Make the best senior care decision