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Qualifying for Veterans Nursing Home Care

Veterans of the Armed Forces have several added benefits when it comes to retirement and long-term care planning. When consulting your Florida elder law attorney about planning for nursing home care, it is important to consider all the options. In addition to treatment in VA operated medical facilities, many veterans also qualify for additional nursing home care benefits. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs manages this benefit; however, individual states also operate state veterans homes. Rules vary from state to state.

Eligibility for VA nursing home care

Not all veterans are eligible for services, but those who are must first locate a “community nursing home.” These private facilities contract with the VA to provide services to veterans. Second, the veteran must be determined eligible. To qualify, the veteran must:

  • Be enrolled in the VA Health System;
  • Be mentally and physically in stable condition;
  • Receive a medical referral documenting the type of care needed;
  • Receive documentation as to the length of stay needed and the anticipated discharge; and
  • Meet a priority guideline.

How nursing homes prioritize admissions

Even if the veteran is fully qualified to receive care, there is not always room for everyone who qualified. Therefore, the following factors may be considered to prioritize admissions:

  • The availability services in the facility where the veteran has applied;
  • The sort of care the veteran needs; and
  • If the facility can actually meet the veteran’s care needs.

How nursing home care is paid

Since not all veterans qualify for VA care, there are certain tiers that apply. If a veteran has less than a 10 percent disability rating, he or she may have a co-pay for nursing home care, much like the VA’s general requirement for those veterans. Those with service-connected disabilities rated over 10 percent generally will not have a co-pay. The exception is where the veteran has income greater than the current VA pension rate. Therefore, to determine eligibility and cost, the veteran will have to submit to a means test to determine income. Much like Medicaid applications, a veteran should be aware of how his or her income may be counted when calculating eligibility.

What options do Florida veterans have in state-run nursing homes?

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs operates six regional VA nursing homes and has a seventh set to open in the near future. Florida also has an assisted living facility for veterans. It is located in Lake City, Florida. The basic eligibility requirements can be found at the FDVA’s website.

When investigating your options for long-term care, you should carefully consider all the options. If you a veteran considering admission to either a community nursing home or Florida State veterans home, you should speak to a Florida elder law attorney at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group who can review your qualifications, income, assets, and help you carefully address your long-term goals. Each program, whether state and federal, has complex rules that must be applied carefully to ensure the maximum benefits for you and your family.

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