Today’s Q&A on ElderCareMatters.com is about the VA covering nursing home care?

Question:  Does the VA cover nursing home care?

Answer:  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may provide long-term care for service-related disabilities or for certain eligible veterans. There might be a waiting list for VA nursing homes. The VA also provides some at-home care. The V.A. provides nursing home and other long-term care — the V.A. calls it “extended care” — for many veterans. Nursing home care can be provided in VA or private nursing homes for veterans who are in need of care, but are not acutely ill and not in need of hospital care. Priority is given to veterans with service-connected disabilities. If space and resources are available, other veterans may be considered. Veterans who do not have service-connected disabilities for which they’re entitled to compensation must agree to make a co-payment. They furnish a financial statement, and VA establishes a co-payment based on that information.

To be eligible for nursing home care, you must be enrolled in the VA health care system or be eligible for VA health care without the need to enroll.

Those eligible for V.A. nursing home or non-institutional long-term care include:

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability rating (or combined disability ratings) of 70 percent or higher.
  • Veterans with a 60-percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable, or who have a rating of “permanent and totally disabled.”
  • Veterans with a service-connected disability that’s clinically determined to require nursing home care.
  • Veterans who require nursing home care for any nonservice-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria.
  • Other veterans on a case-by-case basis, with priority given to veterans with service-connected disabilities and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.

In addition, Veterans who do not qualify for extended care may receive Aid and Attendance from the VA, which is a different program with different criteria.  This program is designed to help veterans stay in their homes instead of going to a nursing home.  Unfortunately, the amount a Veteran can receive in Aid and Attendance is insufficient to pay for skilled care. At that point it is frequently necessary for the Veteran to transition to Medicaid for payment of Nursing Home Care.

If you have additional questions about VA benefits, you may want to talk with an attorney near you about this Elder Care Matter, many of whom can be found on ElderCareMatters.com. 

James C. Siebert, Esq.
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates
Arlington Heights, Illinois  60004
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Illinois chapter

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