July 2023

Veteran-Directed Care Program

Helping you make the right Long-Term Care decisions


What is Veteran-Directed Care? Veteran-Directed Care gives Veterans of all ages the opportunity to receive the Home and Community Services they need in a consumer-directed way. Veteran-Directed Care is for Veterans who need assistance with activities of daily living (e.g., bathing and getting dressed) or instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., fixing meals); are isolated, or their caregiver is experiencing burden. Veterans in this program are given a flexible budget for services that can be managed by the Veteran or the family caregiver. Veteran-Directed Care can be used to help Veterans continue to live at home or in their community.

Am I eligible?

Since Veteran-Directed Care is part of the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package, all enrolled Veterans are eligible IF they meet the clinical need for the service and it is available. NOTE: This VA program is only available in certain locations. A copay for Veteran-Directed Care services may be charged based on your VA service-connected disability status.


What services can I get?

As part of this program, Veterans and their caregiver have more access, choice and control over their home care services or long-term care services. For example, Veterans can: Decide what mix of services will best meet their needs, hire their own personal care aides (which might include their own family member or neighbor), buy items and services that will help them live independently in the community.


How do I decide if it is right for me?

You can use a Veteran Decision Aid for Care at Home or in the Community (https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/docs/Veteran_Decision_Aid.pdf) to help you figure out what home care services or long term care services may best meet your needs now or in the future. There's also a Caregiver Self-Assessment (https://www.va.gov/GERIATRICS/docs/Caregiver_Self_Assessment.pdf). It can help your caregiver identify their own needs and decide how much support they can offer to you. Having this information from your caregiver, along with the involvement of your care team and social worker, will help you reach short-term and long-term care decisions.


If Veteran-Directed Care seems right for you, talk with your VA social worker and find out if it is available in your location.





Supporting the next generation

Carrying on the entrepreneurial spirit

Last month, Advantage Aging Solutions was looking for ways to show their staff a little appreciation. During Take Your Child to Work day, they happened to have a meeting with Premiere Computer Solutions’ owner, Brian Rode.

His 8 year old daughter, Aubrey, was with him and took notes. During the meeting, it came up that Aubrey loved baking, making jewelry and creating artwork to sell for extra money (following in her dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps). David Gauss came up with the idea to hire Aubrey to make treats and serve them for their staff appreciation day. Aubrey constructed a business plan, scheduled the day and time and set off to work!

She baked dozens of cookies and provided lemonade and fruit to staff. The best part was that she made personalized appreciation certificates for each staff member. This job couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as Aubrey has just been accepted into the Early Learning Coalition’s Kidprenuer Program this summer where she’ll learn how to make a product and run a business from start to finish. The entrepreneurial spirit is crossing generations in this family and Advantage Aging Solutions is proud to support Aubrey’s ambitions.

Medicare Moments

If I’m still working at 65, should I enroll in Medicare?


Did you know that even though most people automatically qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B when they turn 65, many people delay enrolling in Medicare Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period, even if they’re still working and covered by an employer’s group health insurance plan (yours or your spouses)?



What if I delay my enrollment?

If you don’t sign up for Medicare when you’re first eligible and don’t have coverage based on current employment (yours or your spouse’s) you may have to pay a late-enrollment penalty later.


Things to Consider:

You may delay enrolling in Part B but should only do so if your (or your spouse’s) job-based insurance would be the primary payer. If your employer has more than 20 employees, Medicare is secondary, but it may still help pay for some of the costs not covered by your employer’s insurance.


If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, your job-based insurance by itself may not provide sufficient coverage. In this case, enrolling in Part B would help you avoid incurring unnecessary high costs for your health care. If you decide to wait until your (or your spouse’s) job-based insurance comes to an end before enrolling in Medicare Part A and/or Part B, you will have an 8-month Special Enrollment Period to sign up that starts once you stop working or your group health insurance coverage ends. You are still able to enroll any time while you are still working.


What if I have a Disability when I turn 65?

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you turn 65, have kidney failure (End-Stage Renal Disease) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease ALS), you will be automatically enrolled in both Part A and Part B.


To talk to a SHINE Medicare Counselor, call the Elder Helpline 866-467-4624

SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is offered locally by Advantage Aging Solutions.

SHINE provides free and unbiased health insurance counseling through a network of volunteers; empowering Florida seniors to make informed health choices.

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