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March 29 marks the observation of Vietnam War Veterans Day. In honor of this day, the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County is planning a program at 6 p.m. at the armory. Veterans, their families and the public are invited.

STATE VETERANS HOMES

Pennsylvania offers its eligible veterans or surviving spouses residency in one of the six extended-care facilities throughout the state. The varying levels of care provided include personal care, skilled nursing care and memory care. To be eligible you must have an honorable discharge, served in the U.S. or Pennsylvania armed forces, and you must be a resident at the time of entry into the military or be a current resident of Pennsylvania.

We have the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home, the Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie, The Southeastern Veterans Center in Spring City, the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton, the Southwestern Veterans Center in Pittsburgh and the Delaware Valley Veterans Home in Philadelphia.

PAYING FOR CARE

Residents of state veterans homes are expected to contribute to the cost of their care at the home based on their ability to pay. No one is denied admission or residence at the home because of lack of income or assets. Most residents find residence in a state veterans homes is a “good deal” for them and their families, but applicants need to carefully review what’s best for them and their families and compare long-term care costs.

MONTHLY FEES

Here’s how the state veterans home calculates monthly maintenance fees:

The resident’s income from all sources is the main factor considered in setting the monthly maintenance fees.

Assets over limits set by the federal VA for pensions and benefits may be also considered.

Allowances are made for certain deductions, such as insurance, federal pensions, federal benefits and spousal support.

These factors are applied to a calculation to determine the resident’s maintenance fee. Monthly maintenance fees are set upon admission and are recalculated annually. The fees may also be adjusted whenever there are major changes in a resident’s financial situation.

ESTATE BILINGS

Estates of deceased residents are billed for the difference between the cost of care at a state veterans home and what was paid in maintenance fees and other payments while the resident was at the home. Note that the estate billing is an obligation of the resident’s estate. It is not an obligation of the surviving spouse or family.

The estate billing process follows standard legal procedures. Attorneys from the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will work with the representatives of the estate and next-of-kin to address the claim.

The state veterans’ home may be one of several creditors of the resident’s estate. In some cases, the state veterans home’s claim for unpaid cost of care will be the largest debt owed by the estate.

CARING FOR VETERANS

Pennsylvania’s state veterans homes deliver long-term care. The staff is fully licensed, carefully trained and dedicated to treating the residents with the dignity and respect they deserve.

DMVA is committed to maintaining top-notch facilities and is making constant improvements. For example, a new 32-bed dementia care unit was opened at the Soldiers and Sailors Home in 2007, and a new 120-bed Community Living Center is at the Southeastern Veterans Center.

In resident and family satisfaction surveys conducted in recent years, the homes earned ratings well above national averages in many important categories. The veterans homes provide quality care to eligible veterans and surviving spouses. No applicant is denied admission because of lack of income or assets.

To obtain an application for admission, call the Bureau of Veterans’ Homes at (717) 861-8906 or visit www.dmva.state.pa.us.

This information if from the www.dmva.pa.gov website.