As aging adults advance into their elder years, they may begin to require long-term care. This does not necessarily mean medical care, but more often assistance with basic tasks of everyday life, such as bathing, dressing, or going to the bathroom.
Thankfully, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers long-term care support for eligible veterans.
The VA’s long-term care program allows for support services in different settings, such as a person’s home, community sites, and nursing homes. It also includes support for family members and other caregivers who help sick and disabled veterans.
The VA can offer long-term care in two main areas: Home and Community Based Services, and Nursing Home and Residential Settings. It also offers VA Pension to wartime veterans and their dependents with a monthly amount that can be increased when the veteran meets housebound or aid and attendance qualifications. Through this pension, veterans can receive a monthly, tax-free pension that can be used to help pay for unreimbursed medical expenses.
Home and Community Based Services generally are provided to elderly and injured veterans who have trouble leaving their homes. Instead of going without care because of mobility issues, important services such as physical rehabilitation, mental health care and social work activities are delivered to them. Often, the coverage is dependent on where the veteran lives, which you can learn more about on the VA website, and the services that are available there. All veterans who are enrolled in a VA health benefits package are eligible for Home and Community Based Services, although individual needs must be demonstrated and services must be available in their respective areas.
Services that can be offered in a standard VA benefits package include:
- Evaluations to assess care needs and follow-up care plans.
- Adult day health care, or centers offering recreation and help with daily tasks.
- Respite care, for family caregivers.
- Skilled home health care, provided by licensed non-VA medical professionals.
If long-term care is needed, make sure to explore other payment options, because it is not just covered through VA health benefits, but also federal and state programs, and some private insurance. For example, Original Medicare can help pay for a portion of services in skilled nursing facilities, and some home health services.
Eligibility and coverage for VA long-term care is generally based on a veteran’s need for ongoing treatment, personal care and assistance, and other factors such as service-connected VA-disability status, and your ability to pay. We know there is a lot to consider when it comes to VA benefits and obtaining long-term care benefits for yourself or a loved one. Do not wait to contact our office with your questions and schedule a meeting with attorney Beth A. Prather.