We take so much for granted. It’s human nature. On some level we know we appreciate whatever it is, silly or serious – the convenience of a TV remote, barbecue-flavor chips, electricity, our children, water, being employed and so on. We appreciate things more when we are confronted with the prospect of losing them. Once that threat is gone, though, we become blasé again.
In particular, I think most of us take our freedom for granted as well as the sacrifices made by others to ensure that freedom. Of course, on Memorial Day, July 4 and Veteran’s Day, we pay tribute to the men and women in all branches of the military who were willing to, and did, pay the ultimate sacrifice for people they never even met so they could experience freedom, be it U.S citizens or citizens of other nations. This recognition is fleeting and once the flags are put away, the wreaths are laid and the fireworks are over, there are no large scale tributes until Memorial Day rolls around again.
If anyone is deserving of ongoing appreciation it is our military veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces. I cannot even imagine being dropped out of a helicopter into a hot, steamy jungle or filing through a smoking, bombed-out European town wondering if we’re about to be ambushed. Hugging coastlines at the bottom of the ocean in a submarine bracing for possible impact or rolling through endless, arid deserts in a huge tank is truly beyond my comprehension. I would be paralyzed with fear. I know it.
Thankfully, for our aging veterans, recognition for their service is being offered through a program called Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension benefit. Simply put, this benefit can be used for assisted living or nursing homes as well as the costs for caregiving in the home. This includes the children of Veterans who are being paid to provide them (the veterans) with healthcare services in the home.
The benefit can pay up to $2,020 a month for a veteran and spouse, up to $1,704 for a veteran and up to $1094 for the widow of a veteran. A veteran does not need to have sustained an injury during their years of service to qualify. As long as they served at least one day of their 90-day minimum military service during a time of war and need assistance with their activities of daily living, they can qualify for the benefit.
Although this program has been established for over 60 years, not a lot of people are aware of its existence. According to Randal Neller, a Veterans Affairs spokesman in Washington, “Of the 1.7 million World War II veterans alive as of 2011, who were in need of caregiving assistance and thus eligible, only 38,076 veterans and 38,685 surviving spouses were granted the benefit that year.”
Hopefully, word will get out in order to alert veterans and their families about this valuable program. For more specific information and criteria on determining eligibility and/or to apply, go to the following website www.VeteranAid.org Please share this link with a veteran or their family. It’s a small way to show we do not take them, or our freedom, for granted.