Veterans’ Long-Term Care Insurance
Veterans have several options for covering long-term care expenses incurred. Though certain eligibility and qualifications are required, help is waiting for our veterans. Whether for nursing, pain management or other skilled help, there are many programs worth consideration.
- Written by Eric Estevez
Owner of HLC Insurance Broker, LLC
Eric Estevez is a duly licensed independent insurance broker and a former financial institution auditor with more than a decade of professional experience. He has specialized in federal, state and local compliance for both large and small businesses.Read More
- Edited BySavannah Pittle
Senior Financial Editor
Savannah Pittle is a professional writer and content editor with over 16 years of professional experience across multiple industries. She has ghostwritten for entrepreneurs and industry leaders and been published in mediums such as The Huffington Post, Southern Living and Interior Appeal Magazine.Read More
- Published: September 27, 2023
- Updated: October 25, 2023
- 8 min read time
- This page features 11 Cited Research Articles
- Edited By
Can You Use VA Benefits To Pay for Long-Term Care?
The Department of Veterans Affairs can help pay for long-term care costs for sick and disabled veterans. The covered services include 24/7 nursing and medical care, physical therapy, help with ADLs (activities of daily living), pain management and support for other types of care.
In order to have services paid for, the veteran must sign up for VA health care under their standard health benefits. The settings of these services may include nursing homes, assisted-living centers, private homes, adult health centers and more. Medicaid or private long-term care insurance may cover other services if you’re qualified.
Eligibility requirements regarding the VA long-term care benefits can be complex. Not every situation, program or individual is the same, which makes this a case-by-case issue. It’s imperative to consult with your nearest VA facility or the VA website to get accurate information.
While each situation is different, eligibility will require the following facts to be true: you must be signed up for VA health care, a doctor must conclude that you need qualified services, and the services must be available close to your location. The VA may also consider disability status and insurance coverage when determining eligibility.
- Veteran Status
- Active duty time served in military, naval or air service.
- Time Served
- If enlisted after 9/7/1980 or entered active duty after 10/16/1981, eligibility requires 24 continuous months or your full period of active duty with some exceptions. Reserves or National Guard must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period.
- Service-Connected Disability
- If you receive financial compensation for a service-connected disability may help you qualify for enhanced eligibility status.
- Military Discharge Type
- Must have no dishonorable discharge.
- Priorities and Availability
- Priority groups are based on service history, health, income, Medicaid qualification and other benefits you may receive from other sources. Service-connected disabilities, former POW and Purple Heart medals are examples that can place someone into priority groups.
- Financial Eligibility
- Some priority groups, such as priority group 7, use household income as a factor to determine eligibility.
- Clinical Need
- There are some priority groups that use clinical needs to enhance eligibility. Specifically, priority group 4.
People Who May Qualify
While this is not a complete list, there are several groups of people who may qualify for VA long-term care benefits. As previously noted, in order to qualify for long-term care benefits, a veteran must be signed up for VA healthcare.
- You receive financial compensation (payments) from the VA for a service-connected disability
- You were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
- You were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
- You’re a combat Veteran discharged or released on or after September 11, 2001
- You get a VA pension
- You’re a former prisoner of war (POW)
- You have received a Purple Heart
- You have received a Medal of Honor
- You get (or qualify for) Medicaid benefits
If the above does not apply to you, you may still qualify under income limits. Call your local VA office to confirm.
Learn more about eligibility for transitioning active-duty service members and returning combat Veterans.
Programs To Consider
There are some very specific programs being run by the VA to help with long-term care services and expenses. Each will address the level of needs requirement for a variety of situations.
|VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) Pension||This type of care provides monthly payments, aside from veteran pensions. One must achieve certain qualifications. Veterans who need help with ADLs or are homebound may qualify.|
|State Veterans Homes||According to VA.gov, state veteran homes are facilities that provide home, domiciliary or adult day care. State governments run these facilities, hence the name. Each home is surveyed yearly to ensure standards are being met. The VA can help you locate a veteran home near you.|
|Community Living Centers (CLCs)||Community living centers are VA nursing homes. Veterans can use them for long or short stays. CLCs help with ADLs, skilled nursing care and other medical care.|
|Home-Based Primary Care||While some veterans need more extensive help, others may need help in their homes to due physical limitations. Home-based primary care provides this to veterans for ongoing diseases and ailments that affect their daily health.|
|Veteran-Directed Care (VDC)||VDC gives veterans a budget for services that will help them with ADLs and personal care services. With counseling help, the veterans will hire their own caretakers for personal help.|
Which Types of Long-Term Care Do VA Benefits Cover?
The VA has several long-term care benefits that eligible veterans can take advantage of. They each fulfill a very necessary need for our aging population. They provide some professional medical services in the home, while others have dedicated facilities.
See below for a detailed list of some additional major benefits covered for our qualified veteran population.
|Nursing Home Care||VA nursing homes can provide 24/7 skilled nursing care. The VA contracts with community nursing homes ensuring good odds that you can find one near your residence.|
|Geriatric Evaluation||Qualified veterans are also free to take advantage of a geriatric evaluation. This is a visit from a team of professionals who create a treatment plan. The goal is to reduce the need for other services, as well as maintain good health and quality of life.|
|Respite Care||Respite care provides a break to families who are taking care of veterans. It can give them time away from caregiving for any reason they may need. There are two types of respite care: home respite care and nursing home respite care.|
|Palliative Care and Hospice Care||Hospice care is provided to veterans and their families when a veteran has a terminal condition with less than six months to live and is no longer seeking treatment. Palliative care focuses on the relief of suffering and symptom control. Its purpose is to produce a higher quality of life.|
How To Apply for VA Long-Term Care
In order to apply for LTC benefits, you’ll have to fill out Form VAF-10-10EC. It’s wise to start gathering all of your financial and health insurance information for you and your spouse, as the application will call for this.
Once you’ve completed the application, return the original form and supporting documentation to the social work staff at your local VA medical facility. If you need any further help, you can always call the VA’s toll-free number (877-222-8387) for assistance.
Which Documents Do You Need To Apply?
In order to complete the form, you’ll need to gather current income, deductible expenses, the value of fixed and liquid assets, all health insurance information, Medicare information and spousal or dependent information. On top of this, be prepared with basic info like Social Security numbers for you and your spouse.
In terms of specific documentation, you’ll need to gather official documents relating to any investment property ownership, cash, investments, valuable collectibles, pay stubs, W2s and 1099s. Do not include burial plots, primary residence, primary vehicles and other household expenses. Do not include the income of veteran dependents, as well as some other exclusions found on pages 1 and 2 of the application.
Other Organizations and Resources To Help Fund Long-Term Care Insurance
If VA eligibility is an issue, there are several other organizations that may be able to help you cover long-term care expenses. You may recognize some names, as they have been mainstays in many local communities across the U.S. Every organization will have different eligibility requirements and availability of financial assistance for long-term care.
It is important to consult with an insurance broker, financial advisor or another industry professional to help guide you through this process. Securing long-term care coverage can be a daunting process, and the help of a shrewd professional could prove very wise.
|Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)||VFW is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster camaraderie among U.S. veterans while advocating on their behalf.|
|Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs)||VSOs operate independently and may be of resource to you when finding options for long-term care. Networking and conversing with VSO members can be of great value, as can learning from the experiences of others.|
|American Legion||The American Legion promotes itself to enhance the well-being of American veterans. As noted in its mission statement, The American Legion helps veterans who need advocates for health care services.|
|Disabled American Veterans (DAV)||The DAV helps disabled veterans at any stage in life whenever they need it.|
It is clear there are many resources available for our service members, and the above is not an exhaustive list of the options that may be available to you. Be sure to be very detailed and open-minded throughout the process of researching your long-term care options to find the resources most valuable to you.
Don’t be wary of consulting loved ones or industry professionals during your search, as you can leverage their experiences and add a second or third opinion to your research.
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11 Cited Research Articles
- American Legion. (2023, September 14). Mission, Vision, and Values. Retrieved from https://www.legion.org/mission
- DAV.org. (2023, March). How We Help. Retrieved from https://www.dav.org/what-we-do/how-we-help/
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, November 14). VA Priority Groups. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/priority-groups/
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, October 12). VA Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/long-term-care/.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Community Nursing Homes. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/pages/Community_Nursing_Homes.asp
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Find VA locations. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/find-locations
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Geriatric Evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/pages/geriatric_evaluation.asp
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Hospice Care. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/pages/Hospice_Care.asp
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Instructions for Completing Application for Extended Care Services (VAF 10-10EC). Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/VA_Form_10-10EC.pdf
- The Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d). Respite Care. Retrieved from https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/pages/Respite_Care.asp
- Veterans of Foreign Wars. (n.d). About Us. Retrieved from https://www.vfw.org/about-us