Planning for Eldercare

According to Department of Veterans Affairs census estimates, there are approximately 13 million veterans and their single surviving spouses age 65 and older. Comparing this to a total of 41 million Americans 65 and older, veterans and their single surviving spouses represent about 1/3 of the senior population. According to VA about 42% of all veterans are 65 and older. This percentage will continue to grow as the bulk of the Vietnam veterans – the largest cohort – are still younger than age 65.

Senior veterans are typically in receipt of four cash income programs from VA. Two of these programs – Pension and Death Pension – are paid to veterans and their surviving spouses who are non-service-connected disabled. The other two of these programs – Compensation and DIC – are paid to veterans or surviving spouses due to disability or death from service connection. These programs are covered in detail in this book. For now let’s look at some statistics.

The table below represents the number of beneficiaries of these four benefit types of income that VA intends on paying in 2013. We had to interpolate the information to determine the numbers in the two age brackets in the table. This was based on how many cases are expected in different “periods of war” age groups. The numbers in each age bracket may not be totally accurate but they represent a good guess. From the table, VA estimates handling about 4,501,200 cases in 2013, and of those about 38% or 1,693,200 beneficiaries are age 65 and older. It is important to note that of those 1.7 million beneficiaries 65 and older, only about 28% or 517,900 beneficiaries will be receiving Pension or Death Pension. Also note that the number of surviving spouses receiving DIC is about 20% more than those receiving Death Pension.

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