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As you or a senior loved one age, it is important to look to the future and consider how those senior years will unfold. Even the healthiest people will need some form of assistance in the long run, and long-term care can be prohibitively expensive when paid out-of-pocket. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), thankfully, offers veterans a number of health and long-term care benefits through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Learn below about the long-term care benefits available to veterans, and reach out to a qualified West Palm Beach asset protection and elder law attorney if you have any questions.
The VA has a Standard Medical Benefits Package, available to most veterans who served on active duty and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Veterans must apply to enroll in the VA’s health care program in order to receive these benefits. The standard package includes the “Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care Program” (H/HHA) for eligible veterans.
The H/HHA is set up for veterans who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, taking medicine, and eating. Homemaker and Home Health Aides work for approved local organizations that contract with the VA. Aides will also help with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), activities that are not strictly necessary for fundamental functioning but are important for living independently. IADLs include things like taking phone calls, paying bills, and household chores.
To qualify for H/HHA coverage, the veteran must demonstrate a clinical need for H/HHA services. The veteran must be assessed by their VA primary care provider to evaluate their needs, who will then prescribe H/HHA services. Your VA social worker will assist with setting up the appropriate services. Depending on the veteran’s service-connected condition, they may be eligible for free H/HHA services or they may be assessed a copay.
The VA also provides both short-term and long-term care in nursing homes for veterans who are not hospitalized but who are too disabled or elderly to care for themselves. The VA is required to provide nursing home care for veterans who either need nursing home care due to a service-related disability, have a sufficiently high combined disability rating, or who are deemed totally disabled and unemployable due to their disability. All other veterans may be eligible for nursing home services if services are available after the priority groups are taken care of.
There are three national VA programs for nursing home services: VA-owned and operated Community Living Centers (CLCs); State Veterans’ Homes, which are owned and operated by the states; and the community nursing home program. Each program has slightly different eligibility criteria, and the VA will subsidize the benefits provided by each to different degrees depending on the financial circumstances, level of disability, and service-connected status of the veteran. Talk to a knowledgeable elder law attorney to find out which VA program is right for you.
A savvy West Palm Beach elder law attorney can help you and your family plan appropriately to maximize your chances to qualify for Medicaid and other needs-based governmental programs and to explore all of your options for long-term care. If you are in need of a compassionate and effective Florida asset protection and elder law attorney, contact the experienced West Palm Beach elder law attorneys Shalloway & Shalloway at 561-686-6200.