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Knowing Veteran's Benefits Qualifications

Nearly every week I meet someone who is a Veteran of military service. Being former service men and women, most Veterans have the misimpression that because of their military service alone, if they need long term care or respite care they are qualified to receive it at any VA hospital whenever they need it and for however long the duration of care is needed. 

Unfortunately, qualifying for long term care (LTC) as a Veteran is not as simple as most people think. As the Veteran's benefits booklet which is available on the VA web site makes clear, VA nursing home care requires that a Veteran quaify based on more than military service alone. Placement in hursing homes, when clinically indicated, may be available either through the VA's community living centers or contract nursing homes. However, VA nursing home care will be provided only to Veteran's who qualify to receive that care due to a service-connected disability. 

Thus, VA nursing home care will be provided to Veterans who require nursing home care for a service-related disability: and are rated 60 percent service-conected in their condition and are unemployable and require nursing home care for any condition; or have a service-connected disability of 70 percent or more in their condition and require nursing home care for any condition. Otherwise, Veterans may be placed, if clinically indicated, based on space and availability. Similarly, respite care requires chronical illness or disability, and even if the qualifications for care are met, respite care is generally limited to 30 days per year.

Obviously, these qualifications for a Veteran to receive care are far more stringent than most Veterans expect. This makes having a care plan even more important, and knowing what options are available through private insurance is a fundamental part of having a long term care plan for both Veterans and non-Veterans alike.