The VA benefit is often underutilized and misunderstood, but it can be a way for Veterans and their families to pay for senior living. In our upcoming Senior Living LIVE! webinar, Emily Schwartz, president of Veterans Financial, will teach us more about the VA benefit for Independent Living, and answer questions. 

As a preview for the full webinar, Emily sat down with host Melissa Lee to discuss the Aid and Attendance pension, and how to apply this benefit towards senior living. In this brief video, she explains more about the benefits, criteria, and common questions she hears from Veterans and their families. 

Click the video to watch the preview now, and make sure to register for the full webinar, Senior Living LIVE! Understanding the VA Benefit for Independent Living, so you can learn more about these benefits and ask your questions live.

Video Transcript

- Hello everyone, and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. I hope you are having a fantastic day, today. Well, we are gearing up for not one, not two, but three webinars in the month of the May. It is also the month that we observe Memorial Day as we honor our military men and women who died while serving our country. So in honor of this day, who better to bring back as our guest presenter than Emily Schwartz, the President of Veterans Financial? She has done an excellent job helping our senior veterans and their families understand their benefits just a little bit better and she is here today to preview her upcoming webinar, understanding the VA benefit for independent living. Emily, it is always a pleasure to have you on the show. How are you today?

- I am great, it's always a pleasure to work with you. It really is a lot of fun, thanks for having me.

- And we always feel like we learn so much when you're on the program. So first let's go sort of big picture here. How can veterans benefits in general help seniors who are considering making that transition into senior living?

- So there is a VA benefit called the aid and attendance pension which unfortunately many seniors do not know about. It offers a lot of money to pay for senior living anywhere from $1,244 for a surviving spouse, all the way up to $2,295 a month for a married veteran and you can utilize these benefits when you move into a senior living community and have some care.

- Yeah, now I said, this woman knows her stuff. She's just not rounding up guys, she knows to the dollar what you're going to receive in these benefits and that's why we love having you on the show. So nowadays, as you know we had different types of care, assisted living communities, we have memory care communities but we also have independent living where some people who just may not want that responsibility or burden of taking care of a home anymore, they may wanna make that transition but they just don't have physical needs yet. So are they able to use their veterans benefits to help pay for senior living?

- So one of the reasons I'm so excited about doing this webinar today is I would love to talk to people considering independent living. Independent living is as you said, a great next step after moving out of your home and the VA benefit might be possible for independent living residents that are having some home care provided in their apartment or it might be something that's gonna be available to them if they start needing just a little bit more care in assisted living but it's incredibly important to learn about this benefit. I like to call it a long-term care policy, thanks to your service to our country through the Department of Veterans Affairs and you don't even know about it. So you need to learn when this will be a possibility for you and how much it will be as well as what the criteria are and how to apply for it.

- Yeah, so every time we talk about a specific benefit that comes with veterans benefits, as we continue to age with our veterans, the question always is, well, I'm a surviving spouse, so what about me?

- Well, surviving spouses are entitled to this benefit as well. Actually, it's the same criteria as a veteran. When I speak with veterans when it's a married couple, I always wanna educate that spouse because if God forbid, he passes before her, she can reapply for this benefit and receive $15,000 a year to pay for care and yes, I know that's a big number and it goes up every year with the cost of living adjustment. So if you're healthy this decade and you've got 10 more years before you need it, it's gonna be more than $15,000.

- Wow, yeah, so guys and girls out there, if you're widowed or you have a spouse who was in the military and can get these benefits, join our webinar for sure with Emily but also make sure you stick around to the end of this video so that you can get her information and give her a call. So as we have seen in your past webinars, every single person is a little bit different when it comes to time served, how long and when. So how does this particular information play in or factor into receiving the benefits?

- So one criteria that is not flexible and we all know that things change in life but one thing does not change with this benefit. The veteran needs to have served one day of active duty during a period of war and usually the wars that we see as people are moving into independent or assisted living these days are World War II, Korea and Vietnam. So we wanna hear that the veterans served one day during a period of war, anywhere in the entire globe, you do not have to be in the combat zone. You can even be stateside and you also need 90 active duty days. They do not have to be consecutive which sometimes happens with the reservists National Guard or Merchant Marines but you need 90 total active duty days with one during a period of war. The surviving spouse that you mentioned before has to apply on her deceased husband's military record. So either they're both gonna meet that criteria or they're both not gonna meet that criteria.

- Right, and that is probably the biggest question we hear during webinars with you is, am I eligible? And so please feel free to join us if you're not sure, we can answer that question and then you will know for sure if you are eligible for these benefits. So veterans benefits, always a very popular topic. You did such an excellent job in your last couple of webinars with us and I know you've heard all the questions. This is what you do, and you do it very well. Now if somebody has some additional questions that they want to ask before this webinar, how can they get in touch with you and your team?

- Okay, great, you can reach me at our 800 number. We are on the East Coast. So we're open 9:00 to 5:30, Monday through Friday. If you happen to be a West Coast person just leave us a message, we'll call you back first thing in the morning not too early for you, we'll be careful. Our phone number is 835-1541 again, 835-1541. We have live people that actually pick up the phone or you can visit our website which is veterans with an S

- Now they can go to your website. So if you have maybe a son or a daughter and they're looking to see what their mother or father can receive, what are some other places on the Internet that if they're just up late at night and wanna their research, where can you guide them?

- So we also work with a website called So that's the name of the benefit. It also happens to be the name of a website. It's a company that you can visit and figure out if you're eligible without picking up the phone. So again, and will ask you 15 questions in a quick five-minute free survey and again, late at night, if we're not open or on weekends. You could do that survey and figure out if you're eligible. It'll give you the same diagnosis of your eligibility and how much you can expect to receive from the VA now or in the future.

- Awesome, excellent and like I said, she knows her stuff, guys. So please by all means, join us for this webinar. It is May 4th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time. It is called understanding the VA benefit for independent living, Emily Schwartz. Excellent information as always, we will see you then.

- Thanks for having me, can't wait.

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