The VA dependent parent benefit is a monetary benefit available to veterans who have a parent (or parents) with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia and the parent is financially dependent on them. The dependent benefit is a potential added benefit for veterans who receive VA disability benefits. Stated differently, when a veteran has a dependent parent (or parents), an additional monthly cash allowance can be added to the veteran’s monthly disability compensation to help the veteran support his / her parent. While veterans who receive VA educational benefits are also eligible for the dependent parent benefit, little published information could be found on the specifics.
The dependent parent benefit can be extremely beneficial for veterans who have a parent suffering from dementia. This is because veterans can spend the cash benefit, which is paid directly to them, however they see fit. Since dementia is a progressive disease, worsening over time, the type and amount of care and supervision required increases as time advances. The flexibility of the dependent parent benefit in helping veterans meet the needs of their parents is invaluable. Furthermore, there is no requirement that a parent live with his / her adult veteran child.
• Robert has mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and has a tendency to wander from home and get lost. He lives with his veteran daughter, but she cannot keep her eyes on him at all times. To help prevent her father from wandering, she purchases a wander alert system, which alerts her if a door is opened.
• Edward has late stage Parkinson’s disease dementia, and unfortunately, his care needs are greater than his veteran daughter can handle. He resides in a nursing home and the money from the dependent parent benefit is paid towards the cost of nursing home care.
With the dependent parent benefit, an eligible veteran will receive a monthly cash payment above and beyond his / her disability compensation (or educational benefit). When calculating the additional benefit amount, a veteran’s disability rating is a huge factor in how much the extra monthly cash benefit will be for having a dependent parent. The higher the veteran’s disability rating, the higher the rate of compensation. Furthermore, a veteran who has two dependent parents with dementia rather than just one will receive a higher benefit rate. Other factors that are taken into consideration when determining a veteran’s disability compensation plus dependent compensation includes his / her marital status and if there are dependent children.
That said, as of December 1st 2019, the additional dependent parent cash benefit can vary quite a lot. For instance, on the low end, a veteran with a 30% disability rating can receive an additional compensation rate of $41 / month for one dependent parent and $82 / month for two dependent parents, while a veteran with a 60% disability rating can receive $83 / month for one dependent parent and $166 / month for two dependent parents, and on the high end, a veteran can receive $138.98 / month for one dependent parent and $277.96 for two dependent parents. To see VA disability compensation rates with dependent parent(s) compensation, click here.
The extra cash benefit for having a dependent parent(s) with dementia can be used however the veteran feels is best. Common examples of ways in which money may be used are as follows:
– In-home personal care assistance / homemaker services
– Assistive devices for persons with dementia (location tracking devices, automated pill dispensers, set reminder devices, etc.)
– Home safety modifications
– Adult day care
– Home health care
– Prescription medications to help relieve the symptoms of dementia (cognitive loss, anxiety, depression, etc.)
– In-home or out-of-home respite care to relieve a veteran who is the main caregiver for his / her parent(s)
– Assisted living / Memory care
– Nursing home care
In order to receive the VA’s dependent parent benefit to help support a parent with dementia, a variety of eligibility criteria must be met. This includes requirements for both the veteran and their parent(s). As of 2020, the following criteria must be met.
If a veteran is not already on VA disability or receiving educational benefits, a veteran must first apply and be approved for one of these two benefits before being awarded the dependent parent benefit for a dementia parent. To apply for disability benefits, a veteran can do so online, with one’s local VA office either in person or over the phone, or by submitting a paper application (Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits: VA Form 21-526EZ).
Veterans who are already receiving VA disability or educational benefits must fill out the Statement of Dependency of Parent(s): VA Form 21P-509. Upon completion, the form should be sent to one’s VA regional office. Find offices here. Another option would be to add a parent as a dependent online. However, one cannot add a parent through a common law marriage via this option.
Veterans who have questions about the application process or require assistance can work with an accredited VA representative.