Target: Eric K. Shinseki, Department of Veterans Affairs
Goal: Educate veterans about an unknown benefit to aid in their caregiving
As of 2011, 1.7 million World War II veterans were in need of caregiving assistance. However, due to lack of publicity, the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension (also known as A&A) sat idle for 61 years, with few ever being aware of their potential eligibility. Out of the 1.7 million WWII veterans, only 38,076 veterans and 38,685 surviving spouses were granted the A&A benefit. This pension provides services to veterans and their surviving spouses who require an in-house or assisted living facility caregiver to tend to all of his or her daily needs. Call upon the Department of Veteran Affairs to bring more publicity to this important benefit.
In order to qualify for the pension, a doctor must simply provide sufficient medical evidence that the veteran or spouse cannot function completely on their own, e.g. requiring assistance with bathing, eating, cooking, dressing, etc. If qualified, a veteran and spouse can receive up to $2,019 monthly and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.
Randal Noller, spokesperson for Veterans Affairs suggests that the reason many people are not familiar with A&A might be because of the enormous size of the department which causes the program’s low visibility. In fact, a quick search for this program on the Veterans Affairs website brings up misleading and very little public information.
Fortunately, Debbie Burak of Midlothian, VA created a website, Veteranaid.org, to present accurate and easily accessible information for veterans and their families. She created the website after struggling to find caregivers on behalf of her father, a WWII veteran, and her mother who became homeless after their house caught fire. Even after calling the Veterans Affairs office near her hometown, none of the employees had heard of this benefit to help pay for caregivers or assisted living.
Although not all Veteran Affairs Offices are unaware of the A&A Pension, those who are uninformed are unable to financially make a difference for veterans and their families who have sacrificed their lives for our benefit and freedom. Demand that Veteran Affairs provide more publicity on the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension in order to properly assist veterans with their eligibility of entitled benefits.
Dear Mr. Shinseki,
Veterans and their spouses are counting on you to provide them with essential and beneficial care they so rightly deserve. It has become apparent that not all Veteran Affairs employees are aware of the Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension which can provide vital caregiving for ailing or aging veterans and their families.
Therefore, I urge you to implement information seminars for all VA employees as well as make A&A benefit forms easily accessible on the Department of Veteran Affairs website. This will improve the application process in order for eligible veterans and their families to receive the benefits they deserve by risking their lives defending our country and keeping us safe.
[Your name here]
Photo Credit: Eric Jones via geograph.org.uk