Last month we took a closer look at Medicaid, asset protection planning and the rules concerning qualification for Medicaid benefits. As a source of payment for long term care, Medicaid will only cover skilled nursing care. If you do not require and/or meet the qualifications for this level of skilled nursing care, there may be other benefit sources available to help cover the costs of long term care.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is an organization that provides health care benefits to veterans. The plan covers a number of health care services, including preventative services, diagnostic and treatment services, and hospitalization. The VA also offers a number of long-term care options through its health plan.
All enrolled veterans are eligible for the following services:
- Geriatric evaluation which provides either an inpatient or outpatient evaluation of a veteran’s ability to care for him or herself;
- Adult day health care which is a therapeutic day care program that provides medical and rehabilitation services to veterans;
- Respite care which provides either inpatient or outpatient supportive care for veterans to allow caregivers to get a break;
- Home care which provides nursing, physical therapy, and other services provided in the veteran’s home; and
- Hospice/palliative care which provides services for terminally ill veterans and their families.
Some services, such as nursing home care and domiciliary care, are limited to certain veterans and are not automatically available to all veterans enrolled in the VA health plan.
In addition, the following veterans automatically qualify for unlimited nursing home care:
- Veterans who are seeking nursing home care for a service-related condition;
- Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more; and
- Veterans who have a service-connected disability of 60 percent and are unemployable.
A service-connected disability is a disability that the VA has officially ruled was incurred or aggravated while on active duty in the military and in the line of duty. The VA must rule that your illness/condition is directly related to your active military service, and it assigns each disability a rating. The ratings are established by VA regional offices around the country.
The VA may provide nursing home care to other veterans if space permits and Veterans with service-connected disabilities receive priority.
There are also state-run veteran’s nursing homes. The VA provides funds to states to help them build the homes and pays a portion of the costs for veterans eligible for VA health care. The states, however, set eligibility criteria for admission.
Finally, a domiciliary is a VA facility that provides care on an ambulatory self-care basis for veterans disabled by age or disease who are not in need of acute hospitalization and who do not need the skilled nursing services provided in a nursing home. Domiciliary care is available to low-income veterans with a disability.
For more information on Veterans Affairs, and to see if you may be eligible for VA benefits for Long Term Care , you should contact the experienced attorneys at Zacharia Brown. You may schedule an appointment with an attorney at Zacharia Brown by visiting our website at PittsburghElderLaw.com or by calling 724.942.6200.