VA nursing home care includes several programs and services that can help sick or disabled veterans.
What is a Nursing Home?
A nursing home is a care facility for individuals who do not require hospitalization, but can’t be cared for at home, or need more assistance than the help provided at an assisted living facility. Nursing homes typically have skilled nurses on staff 24 hours a day.
Short-term Nursing Home Care
A VA nursing home (also called a Community Living Center) is a care facility where veterans receive skilled nursing care, including medical assistance and help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and mobility. It is a home-like environment for veterans who need care for a short period of time, although long-term care may also be provided depending on the circumstances. There are approximately 100 Community Living Centers throughout the country. Many of them are near a VA medical center.
Eligibility for a VA nursing home is based on need and availability. To qualify, the veteran:
- Must be enrolled in the VA health care system
- Be physically and mentally stable
Other requirements include the veteran:
- Needs nursing home care for a service-connected disability
- Has a service-connected disability rating of 70% or more
- Has a total disability rating based on unemployability
- Received anything other than a dishonorable discharge, unless otherwise determined by the VA
The VA may require the veteran to pay part of the cost of living in a VA nursing home, depending on the person’s service-connected disability rating and financial situation.
Some examples of VA Community Living Centers:
VA Central California Health Care System – A 60-bed Community Living Center located in Fresno, California. The facility is connected to a VA 114-bed acute care, general medical and surgical center.
VA Ann Arbor Health Care System – A 40-bed Community Living Center connected to a VA 102-bed acute care center. Located in Michigan, the VAAAHS services approximately 70,000 veterans.
Syracuse VAMC – A 48-bed Community Living Center located in Syracuse, New York. It is connected to a 189-bed medical and surgical center, 16-bed psychiatric center and 21-bed spinal cord injury center.
Click here for a complete list of Community Living Centers.
Long-term Nursing Home Care
The VA contracts with community nursing homes around the country to provide long-term care for veterans. Community Nursing Homes offer skilled nursing care, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dementia care and hospice/palliative end of life care.
The VA may pay for some or all of a veteran’s community nursing home costs depending on the veteran’s service-connected disability status, level or disability and financial situation. Veterans who do not financially qualify for VA long-term nursing home care may be able to get financial assistance from Medicaid or the VA Aid and Attendance benefit.
State Veterans Nursing Homes
State Veterans Nursing Homes were created after the Civil War to provide care to homeless and disabled veterans. They can be found in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The facilities are owned and managed by state governments, not the Veterans Administration. Like other types of nursing homes, eligibility is based on need of care and availability. Admissions criteria can vary depending on the State. Some State nursing homes allow non-veterans. The VA may provide financial assistance to help a veteran pay for the nursing home.
An example of a State Veterans Home:
Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home – A 160-bed skilled nursing facility located in El Paso, Texas. The veteran must meet various eligibility requirements such as:
- Needing long-term care as determined by a doctor
- Be a resident of Texas at the time of application for admission, or at date of entry into military service or residing in Texas one year before application for admission
- Not having received a dishonorable discharge
The spouse, unmarried surviving spouse or Gold Star parents may also be eligible for admission.
Other Programs and Services
Commercial Residential Care Program – The VA’s Community Residential Care (CRC) program is for veterans who have medical or psychiatric needs and cannot live alone, but do not require hospital or nursing home care. The veteran will typically require help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and mobility. There are over 550 CRC care facilities around the country that have been inspected and approved by the VA. Types of facilities include board and care homes (residential homes), psychiatric residential care homes and assisted living facilities. The veteran pays for care at a CRC facility, which includes three home cooked meals, help with daily living activities like bathing, dressing and mobility, medication management and transportation.
An example of a CRC program:
VA Boston Health Care System – The Boston CRC program provides supervised housing and medical services to veterans who cannot live on their own. There are currently 20 privately owned CRC homes and group living facilities serving approximately 145 veterans in the Boston area.
To qualify for this program the veteran must:
- Have a monthly income of at least $1,000
- Be enrolled in the VA Boston Health Care System
- Be medically and psychiatrically stable
- Be able to take care of themselves with minimal supervision
- Be drug and alcohol free
Hospice Care – The VA provides comfort and care to veterans with terminal conditions who have less than 6 months to live.
Palliative Care – VA assistance with illness management, help relieving suffering and symptoms. The goal of palliative care is to improve a person’s quality of life.
Financial Assistance for Nursing Home Care
Veterans who need skilled nursing facility care may qualify for financial assistance through the VA’s Aid and Attendance benefit program. Aid and Attendance is a reimbursement for home care, board and care, adult day care, assisted living and skilled nursing facility care. The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible wartime period and received anything other than a dishonorable discharge.
Aid and Attendance pays up to $2,266 per month for a married veteran. The money is tax-free and does not need to be paid back.
Call one of our Benefit Consultants today at (877) 427-8065 to find out more about how Aid and Attendance works and how you or a loved one can qualify for this long-term care financial assistance.