407-645-5933 ext. 236 marisa.west@shalomorlando.org

The Aid and Attendance Benefit

Wartime veterans and their surviving spouses, 65 years and older, may be entitled to a tax-free benefit called Aid and Attendance provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Veterans must have served some time in active duty to be eligible.

The benefit is designed to provide financial aid to help offset the cost of long-term care for those who need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring. The benefits are quite significant. The single veteran may earn approximately $2,000 per month. Surviving spouses may earn approximately $1,300 per month. A married veteran may earn approximately $2,400 per month, and two married veterans may earn approximately $3,200 a month.

Several years ago, I visited a woman in a rehabilitation facility who was terrified of going home alone to recover from her illness. I suggested she move to Cascade Heights where many of her friends from the seniors group at the Jewish Community Center lived. She responded that she would love to move, but she cannot afford it. I asked her, “If you had access to $1,300 more each month, could you afford Cascade Heights?” She answered affirmatively. Like many of the women in her generation, her husband was a World War ll veteran, and she qualified for the Aid and Attendance Benefit. She was able to move to Cascade Heights, and she was very happy there. This is a little-known benefit that can truly transform a person’s life.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage. This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in. The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents across 50 senior facilities. The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.