America has about 20 million veterans. Including spouses, widows, and children, some 100 million Americans are in veteran families. Of those 20 million, over half are seniors over the age of 65. In fact, among Americans over age 75, about half are either veterans or the spouse/widow of a veteran. If there’s a veteran in your caregiving family, these resources are for you!
Call the following numbers for assistance:
Downloads for the Veteran Family
This is the complete unabridged “Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors”, published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. 70 pages. All the details of all the benefits for all veterans.
To help the average reader plow through the enormity of the benefits available to senior veterans, BlueStar created this 13 page shorter guide. It’s the “Readers Digest” version of the larger federal guide. It tells you where you can find more detailed info (if you need it) in the larger guide.
This is a brief, simplified, 5 page summary of VA Benefits, produced by the VA. It’s a good starter document– a quick overview, which can then direct you to the details in the 70+ page guide.
This is the most comprehensive listing of potential resources to the caregiver in the military family. It is produced by the Military Caregiver Support office in the Defense Health Agency, part of the Department of Defense. 114 pages. It lists hundreds and hundreds of resources. Definitely worth a look.
AARP always does a good job of explaining things, and this easy-to-read, 44 page guide is no exception. It’s written for veterans, service members, and their families, and covers planning, professional support, care for the caregiver, and many resources. Includes checklists and plans.
This is the official government listing of hundreds of certified Veteran Service Organizations (VSO). In addition to the ones you all know, like The American Legion, there are dozens of smaller, more narrowly-focused veteran organizations. Is your veteran Blind? Hispanic? Italian? Disabled? Catholic? Jewish? Black? There’s a VSO for you! Check it out.
Websites for Caregivers in Veteran Families
VA Caregiver Support
In our opinion, this is the “go to” first site to visit for caregivers in a veteran family. Full of useful information. Drill down to find what works for you, or call their Caregiver Support hotline at 855-260-3274.
Hidden Heroes is all about military caregivers. It provides caregiver stories, resources, community contacts, and info useful to the estimated 5.5 military caregivers across the US. Supported by such luminaries as Senator Elizabeth Dole, Tom Hanks, and Tom Brokaw.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation
From their website: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation is the preeminent organization empowering, supporting, and honoring our nation’s 5.5 million military caregivers; the spouses, parents, family members, and friends who care for America’s wounded, ill, or injured veterans. They sponsor Hidden Heroes.
If you are caring for a wounded warrior or a veteran impacted by recent wars, this is the most useful site for you. It focuses on recent veterans recovering, and reintegrating into the community.
The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network
Sponsored by the American Red Cross, this site helps military caregivers connect online with other caregivers, and includes one-on-one mentoring, as well as caregiver support groups.
They’ve directly assisted over 50,000 military and veteran families, serve 2 million visitors online each year, share hundreds of videos and resources, host a thriving Facebook community and provide proactive outreach to 4 million families each month via two specialty podcasts.
Caregivers On The Homefront
The mission of Caregivers on the Homefront is to provide caregivers of our nation’s veterans and first responders with hopefulness, a sense of togetherness, and a firm foundation of resiliency.
The Caregiver Experience Map
A product of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Documents the experience and journey of military caregivers. If you are a professional working in this area, worth reviewing and understanding the project and its results.
The Department of Defense realized that there were hundreds of various programs available to help service members, veterans, and their families. So they created Military OneSource– a single place to go to get information and help. It focuses more on active-duty service members, and less on senior veterans.
National Military Family Association
For 50 years the National Military Family Association has worked to help military and veteran families be stronger. Their site focuses less on caregiving for seniors, and more on the families of those currently service. Still, a great resource.
Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families works to strengthen and support America’s military families. Primary focus is on the families of those currently servcing. It establishes local chapters and “family communities” around the world to support the families of those serving our nation.
This website lives up to its name– it lists discounts for military families, as well as other benefits in housing and home ownership. Worth looking at to see what discounts are available in your area, or for the products you already buy.
Information about the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit for Senior Veterans
The Veterans Administration provides a special benefit for certain senior veterans who need help in the home. It’s called the “Aid and Attendance Benefit.” It can be complicated, so BlueStar put together a simple powerpoint presentation to give you an overview. 13 easy-to-read slides.
As we said, the Aid and Attendance Benefit can be a little complicated, particularly when you’re applying to the VA to get it. Attorney Robert Blumberg put together this step-by-step, line-by-line instruction on filling out the forms. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, this instruction guide is for you!
Veterans Home Care
Veterans Home Care is a leader in the field of helping people get A&A benefits. They help people apply, and then, in anticipation of the award being approved, they forward money to fund home care benefits while the VA is processing the claim.
Senior Veterans Service Alliance
This site explains and helps those who want to apply for A&A benefits. Beyond that, however, it provides a national website listing of dedicated professionals to help senior veterans better prepare for their final years of life. A useful resource.
Veterans Care Coordination
Like the sites above, Veterans Care Coordination helps veteran families apply for A&A benefits. And like Veterans Home Care, they help you to find and pay for home care services while you are waiting for the VA to approve the A&A application.