Veterans Benefits: A Brief Overview
Veterans benefits are wide-ranging, and cover education, health care, home loans, burial and more. This article details the health and long-term care coverage available to veterans and eligible family members though the benefit package administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
How the Program Works
In order to ensure that veterans with the greatest medical and financial need have access to the services they require, the VA has established eight levels of priority for the veterans benefits program. Veterans with a service-related disability and those who meet low-income requirements qualify for a higher priority level.
All applicants must undergo a financial assessment to determine which priority group they qualify for. This assessment will also help determine whether you qualify for free services. If your household income and net worth exceed the established threshold, you can still qualify for VA care, but may be required to meet a deductible and agree to co-payments. No monthly premium is required for VA care.
Private health insurance, long-term care insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and other forms of insurance may be used in conjunction with your veterans benefits. If you can afford to keep your current coverage, you should, even if you qualify to receive veterans benefits. Having multiple coverage options is smart; the funding for VA benefits is limited, and with an increase in enrollees and a tiered priority system, it’s prudent to make sure you will have as much coverage as you can afford.
Veterans Benefits Coverage
Regardless of the priority group you qualify for, all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system who are eligible for veterans benefits have coverage for the following, under the Uniform Benefits Package.
- Preventative care and services
- Adult day health care
- Dental care
- Inpatient hospital care
- Ambulatory care
- Emergency care
- Home health (skilled nursing) care
- Prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals
- Durable medical equipment
- Prosthetics and orthodontics
- Diagnostic and treatment services
- Rehabilitation care and services
- Mental health care and services
- Substance abuse services
- Assisted living care (domiciliary care)
- Nursing home care
- Respite and hospice care
The Aid and Attendance Pension benefit is an important veterans’ benefit for families in need of long-term care such as home care, assisted living or a nursing home. While the Department of Veterans Affairs has government-funded assisted living and nursing homes for veterans and eligible family members, it is also possible to receive a tax-free pension to offset the cost of care in a private-pay facility if the claimant chooses such a community.
To be eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, the VA will review four areas of illegibility:
- Wartime Service
- Health of the Claimant
- Monthly Family Income vs. Monthly Medical Expenses
- Household Assets
For more information on veterans benefits coverage and eligibility, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Written by senior housing writer Nikki Jong.