Each November, we remember the sacrifices of those who gave of themselves to protect our country through military service. Veterans Day was initially established as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, but is now recognized annually on November 11 to honor United States, military veterans.
Although many veterans are entitled to receive government benefits in recognition of their service, the process can be long, arduous, and confusing for vets and their families. Many veterans don’t understand the eligibility requirements, and may not realize that their spouse may be able to receive aid as well. There are also pension benefits that do not require combat duty, overseas service, or a service-connected disability.
Veterans Home Care® was founded in 2003 to answer that call with a mission to help veterans and their families navigate the process and understand their entitlements. One such pension, known as “Aid and Attendance” can help veterans or their surviving spouses receive personal care services in their homes in order to live with dignity.
Veteran’s Home Care Coordinator and local resident, Beth O’Connor, works with families to help them understand their entitlements while putting together an effective plan of care. She is currently assisting 89-year-old Mildred Lockwood O’Brien of Oakland, whose husband, Bill, served in the army during World War II.
Mildred’s daughter, Joann Bowell, had worked in social services for many years, yet had no knowledge of this VA benefit. “My dad always talked about his service. His older brother served in the air force was shot down and killed. Dad wanted to quit high school and enlist, but his parents made him wait until he graduated and was 18. He was not allowed to fight in combat because he was the sole surviving son. Instead, he served stateside as a psychiatric medic. He stayed on after the war working in a military psychiatric hospital in New York State.”
Joann says that the information and assistance provided by Beth and her team were invaluable during a time of difficult choices and major decisions.
“Beth O’Connor was lovely and very helpful and expedited things very quickly. In fact, on the day Beth was helping my mom with her application, my mom fell sick and had trouble breathing. Beth was there for her and helped to ensure mom got the care she needed.”
Joann originally found Veterans Home Care by calling 211, leading her to New Jersey’s senior services. She was then referred to the Veterans Home Care’s VetAssist Program. “When my father’s health was failing, we applied for the VetAssist Program, but at that time, he didn’t meet the financial need requirements. My father’s care exhausted their savings, so by the time Mom needed assistance after my father’s death, I knew VetAssist would be able to help her.”
Joann’s mom, Mildred, was concerned about being a burden to her children as she aged, and is greatly appreciative of the government benefits that Veterans Home Care helped her to secure, thanks to Bill’s military service. “I am so grateful for this program,” says Mildred. “It’s allowed me to receive the care that I need right in my own home, and my aide has become a good friend, too!”
Veterans Home Care®️ and the VetAssist®️ Program are not a government agency, nor are they affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. During this month of celebration and remembrance of our military heroes, consider passing this information along to a well-deserving military hero or their loved ones. It could possibly be the best gift they’ll receive this holiday season!