Although my husband is only a reservist in the United States Coast Guard, we still take advantage of every perk, discount, or resource that serving in the military has to offer – and we constantly share those opportunities with anyone we know who might also be eligible.
Ted Gumley has created a successful business by sharing one valuable opportunity for senior veterans and their spouses: the Aid & Attendance program. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Gumley, a World War II veteran who has owned a number of assisted living facilities and now serves as CEO of Senior Care for Veterans.
Senior Care for Veterans is a private company with 15+ years of experience that consults and assists as to the criteria required to qualify for VA pension through Aid & Attendance, a non-service connected disability pension that can help cover the costs of long term care for qualified veterans and surviving spouses. According to Ted, most veterans don’t know anything about this valuable benefit; in fact, while 33% of all senior citizens in the U.S. are entitled to Aid & Attendance, only an estimated 5% of those eligible are actually receiving benefits. Of those enrolled the program serves 7% of surviving spouses and 34% of veterans eligible.
The $3.3 billion pension program is housed at the VA (Veterans Administration), but the VA is legally prohibited from advertising it. In addition, the fractured nature of the VA and cut backs in personnel contribute to the difficulty of processing benefits for program enrollees, so the VA counts on companies in the private sector to help applicants navigate the confusing and inconsistent requirements needed to secure funding.
And just how much funding can be secured? Eligible applicants can receive up to $1,948 per month or $23,376 per year. “People have cried on the phone because they are so happy to receive the help,” says Ted. It’s not hard to see why – in today’s harsh economic climate with funding for seniors being slashed nationwide and the cost of long term care increasing rapidly, this pension program is a lifesaver for countless seniors and the family members struggling to pay for their care.
Senior Care for Veterans has helped more than 15,000 vets and their surviving spouses receive the financial help to which they are entitled, at a 99% success rate. They have worked in 42 states advising assisted living facilities and home health agencies in guiding applicants through the process too.