For veterans living in the Sacramento area, you should know that there are a wealth of veteran benefits available to you through the Veterans Administration. Veteran benefits can generally include medical services in an assisted living facility, in your home, in a nursing home or provided by others, including friends, family members, or healthcare professionals. Ultimately, there are many veteran benefits for which you may be eligible that you are not aware of. So, are you getting all of the veteran benefits you can?
What makes you eligible for long-term care veteran benefits
Some veterans or their families are not aware of the many long-term veteran benefits available through the Veterans Administration. The VA makes “extended care” services available, including nursing home and non-institutional long-term care options. If one of four categories applies to you or a loved one, you may be eligible for extended care services.
Veterans with a service-connected disability rating, or combined disability ratings, of 70 percent or higher you may be eligible. Veterans with a 60-percent service-connected disability rating who are unemployable, or who have a rating of “permanent and totally disabled,” are eligible. Veterans are also eligible if they have a service-connected disability that’s clinically determined to require nursing home care. Veterans who require nursing home care for any non-service-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria are also eligible.
Other ways to demonstrate eligibility
There may be other ways to demonstrate eligibility that are determined on a case-by-case basis. Priority is usually given to veterans who have service-connected disabilities and those who need care for “post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation, and management, or spinal cord injury.”
The long-term veteran benefits for Sacramento residents
Long-term nursing care is available through nursing homes and other types of facilities. The VA has its own nursing homes, as well as private nursing homes that contract with the VA to provide care for veterans. These other facilities are referred to as “community nursing homes” within the VA These facilities are often used by veterans who live in an area where there is no VA facility located nearby. The VA also operates Community Living Centers, which provide short-term residential care in conjunction with ongoing outpatient care.
The average cost long-term care benefits through the VA
The co-pay for extended care services through the VA is based on the income and/or assets of the veteran and the veteran’s spouse. If the services needed are expected to last more than 180 days, then assets will also be considered. The maximum co-pay for extended care services is $97 per day. The exact amount depends on the veteran’s VA health system priority group, the veteran’s financial circumstances, and the type of care or service provided.
Applying for long-term veteran benefits
When you apply for long-term care benefits with the VA, it requires a separate application from enrollment in basic VA Medical Care coverage. When you apply for extended care, you will need to provide your spouse’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number, the current income of both the veteran and the veteran’s spouse; the value of fixed and liquid assets of both veteran and spouse (only if applying for nursing home or other residential care); and information identifying all health insurance, including all parts of Medicare (a copy of an insurance card and the veteran’s Medicare card). You may also be required to prove functional physical and/or mental impairment, serious enough to require nursing home-level care.
Assistance with elder law issues
An elder law attorney is an attorney who is specially trained and experienced in legal issues that affect seniors. As a result of their special knowledge, they are better able to understand the needs of their clients and to anticipate problems many seniors may face, such as nursing home care. The practice of elder law requires not only legal advocacy but also education, counseling and future planning. Elder law attorneys work closely with seniors, including veterans, and their families in order to effectively address each client’s specific needs and goals.
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