RI Veterans: Did you know? – by John A. Cianci

By John A Cianci, Department Veteran Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans 

This week: Special Feature on Veterans Long Term Care Planning Options 

Veterans Option – Remaining Home 

All Veterans Enrolled in the VA Health Care System Are Eligible for Homemaker and Health Aide Care Program

“Does the VA offer any assistance to a Veteran who needs helps to remain living at home?  I have an honorable discharge, but never served in a war.” – Normand’s question from Woonsocket RI

Yes Normand, if you are eligible for VA health care benefits and enrolled in VA healthcare system, the VA has several programs. One program for all enrolled veterans all is the Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care. Here is more information on the program retrieved from the VA website,

What is Homemaker Home Health Aide Care?

A Homemaker or Home Health Aide is a trained person who can come to a Veteran’s home and help the Veteran take care of themselves and their daily activities. Homemakers and Home Health Aides are not nurses, but they are supervised by a registered nurse who will help assess the Veteran’s daily living needs.

This program is for Veterans who need skilled services, case management and help with activities of daily living. Examples include help with bathing, dressing, or fixing meals. This program is also for Veterans who are isolated, or their caregiver is experiencing burden.

Homemaker and Home Health Aide services can be used in combination with other Home and Community Services, which may vary by location.

Homemaker Home Health Aides work for an organization that has a contract with VA. A Homemaker or Home Health Aide can be used as a part of an alternative to nursing home care, and to get Respite Care at home for Veterans and their family caregiver. The services of a Homemaker or Home Health Aide can help Veterans remain living in their own home and can serve Veterans of any age.

Am I eligible for Homemaker Home Health Aide Care?

Since Homemaker Home Health Aide services are part of a service within the VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package, all enrolled Veterans are eligible if they meet the clinical need for the service.

A copay for Homemaker and Home Health Aide services may be charged based on your VA service-connected disability status.

What services can I get?

Services are based on your assessed needs. Talk with a VA social worker to find out what specific help you may be able to receive -Providence VA Medical, Chief of Social Workers, social worker contact information is (401)273-7100 ext. 16101.

For example, an aide may be able to come to your house several times a week or just once in a while.

Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care

Examples of daily activities you may be able to receive help with include:

·  Eating
·  Getting dressed
·  Personal grooming
·  Bathing
·  Using the bathroom
·  Moving from one place to another
·  Getting to appointments

You can continue to receive an aide’s services for as long as you need extra help with your daily activities.

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 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. 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.

Ask a social worker for these resources or download copies from the Making Decisions and Advance Care Planning section at

If Homemaker or Home Health Aide services are right for you, your VA social worker can help you make arrangements for those.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How to apply for VA health care?

Option 1: Apply by phone – Call the VA toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET to get help with your application.

Option 2: Apply by mail – Fill out an Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ), download VA Form 10-10EZ from

You or someone acting as your power of attorney must sign and date the form. And:

Send your completed application here:

Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329

Option 3: Apply in person – Fill out an Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ).

You or someone acting as your power of attorney must sign and date the form. And:

If you’re using a power of attorney, you’ll need to submit a copy of the Power of Attorney form along with your application.

If you sign with an “X,” 2 people you know must witness your signature. They’ll also need to sign and print their names on the form.

Go to your nearest VA medical center or clinic. Bring a signed Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ) with you.

Option 4: Apply with the help of a trained professional – You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for health care benefits.
For free assistance filing for VA healthcare, Italian American War Veterans, (401)677-9VET, email .

How do I prepare before I start my application?

Gather the information, listed below, that you’ll need to fill out an Application for Health Benefits (VA Form 10-10EZ).

You’ll need this information:

Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, and your qualified dependents.

Your military discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)

How long does it take the VA to make a decision?

Less than 1 week

If more than a week has passed since you gave us your application and you haven’t heard back, please don’t apply again. Call the VA toll-free hotline at, 877-222-8387 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

I’m an eligible Veteran, however I’m happy with my current healthcare provider and don’t want to use the VA healthcare system? 

First, you will not be eligible for the program without be enrolled in the VA healthcare system. Even if you do want to use the VA healthcare system, I recommend you enroll, it helps all Veterans. Moreover, enrolling would make future needs of the VA more accessible for you—-when you might change your mind. 

OK, I want to enroll and keep my current healthcare provider, so want do I need to do to be eligible for the program?

Follow the steps above to enroll.

At a minimum, schedule and report for an annual physical in the VA healthcare system. Yes, in my opinion, continue with your existing program, maybe schedule your annual physicals 6 months apart. Like getting a second opinion.

Additionally, you will be issued a Veterans Administration ID card, which will give your access to the military bases for shopping at the PX and commissary, and other benefits, like discounts at businesses like Apple and Denny’s, by showing you are a Veteran. 

More important, signing up helps ALL veterans; funding for local VA services is based on the number of veterans utilizing your local VA. Don’t believe the “myth” I don’t want to take away from veterans who need it. Signing up is a way of assisting those Veterans who need it more than you do because your local VA will be receiving more funding because you are enrolled. 

Have a question, upcoming event, or service being provided to veterans and their families, John can be contacted at (401) 677-4VET or email, Events or meeting notices will be listed at the end of this column. 


John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.


  1. Cynthia M. Owens, Attorney on April 17, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    John is a tireless advocate for military veterans and numerous veterans’ causes. He has a big heart, an excellent moral compass and zero tolerance for abusive and other inappropriate treatment of veterans. Not only is he a decorated combat veteran, but he is also a hero to many veterans and their families. Hats off to this rare gem of a human being!

    • John Cianci on April 18, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Words can not thank Cynthia enough for her kinds words. 19 years ago, we lost my Mom:
      CHAPUT, EVELYN A. (GUARNIERI), 67, of St. Croix USVI and Winchester Rd., North Smithfield,
      passed away Friday, April 17, 2009 at home. She was the beloved wife of Colonel Robert J.
      Chaput, (U.S. Army Ret.), who succumbed to cancer.
      My entire life, she always had words of wisdom and advice on how we should live our lives; this did not end in her final days(1) Take care of yourself, as you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself (2) we need to do more good things for good people.
      Cynthia’s words only reinforce I’m tending in the right direction my Mom wanted me to be in life. Thank you, Cynthia, herself a tireless veteran advocate who provides assistance to Veterans.

  2. Steve Skuba on April 15, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Good morning John. I am a retired VSR and work with East Bay Veterans. One of the things I found in what I do is that Veterans leave little or no information once they pass. I many cases the surviving spouse has no idea they may be able to receive benefits.

    • John on April 15, 2021 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. You are tracking, many spouses of deceased Veterans don’t understand their benefits after their Veteran partner died. For example, a few months ago I helped a widow understand the the survivor benefits she was entitled to. She is now collecting a monthly pension from the VA of almost 1400 a month. Without the pension, within a year or two, she would have depleted her savings and be force to sell the family house.