How to Use VA Benefits for Long-Term Elder Care

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Long term senior care can be costly and complicated, especially if you don’t know what resources are available to you or your loved one. For U.S. military veterans and their surviving spouses, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers benefits for those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. These benefits packages offer healthcare services and financial assistance to help cover costs of long-term elderly care, both in a residential facility or at home. 

Choosing the best senior care option can be challenging for many families. Aside from the financial aspect and limited informational resources, transitioning an elderly loved one into a long-term elder care facility or making changes to an existing home care situation has obstacles. Oftentimes, the senior is comfortable with what is familiar and is resistant to change. Family members and caregivers will try to be accommodating of this. Providing full-time care while trying to manage other responsibilities in their own lives can prove to be a tricky balancing act. It will likely lead to high levels of personal stress, rising relationship tensions, and burnout. 

Benefits For Elder Care Through Federal Programs

Elder Veteran salutes

The best way to approach the transition to elder care is by arming yourself with information. Knowing all of the choices available to your loved one and carefully considering the options that meet your specific needs is the first step. Having an agency that will come alongside you with resources and support will help make the transition as seamless as possible.   

Let’s start by defining some key terms and guidelines to better understand the options that are available for you or your loved one through the VA organization and Medicare programs.

What Is Long-term Care? 

Long-term care refers to a wide range of services from assistance with activities of daily living (ADL) to medical care for managing illnesses. It is provided for an extended period of time. It can be delivered in a variety of residential settings, including assisted living communities, nursing homes, skilled facilities, or a patient’s home. 

What Is Included in VA Long Term Care?

The VA Medical Benefits Package is available to all enrolled veterans. VA Long Term Care includes services in both facilities and at home. It includes the following:

  • Geriatric evaluation to assess your care needs and to create a care plan
  • Adult day health care
  • Respite care
  • Skilled home health care

What Is the Cost for VA Long Term Care? 

There are 2 primary factors that affect cost for services: the patient’s VA service-connected disability status and their income. Depending on the results of the review, long-term care copays might apply. 

How Do I Apply for VA Long Term Care?

Veterans must be enrolled in VA health care and have standard medical benefits before applying for VA Longerm Care. This means the patient must receive care through a VA facility on a regular basis. 

What Is Medicare?

Medicare is the federal health insurance system for seniors who meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • 65 years or older
  • Under 65 with certain disabilities
  • End-stange renal disease (no age requirement)

What Is included in Medicare Long Term Care? 

Medicare will pay for services delivered in a nursing home or skilled facility (e.g., a rehabilitation facility) for a predetermined number of days per benefit period. It also pays for certain home health services. Covered services usually include intermittent skilled nursing care and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. 

Transitioning to Elder Home Care Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Navigating care for aging loved ones can be financially and emotionally demanding, but you’re not alone. At 1on1 Elder Care, we make you and your loved ones’ care our priority. We advise seniors and their families on how to find and pay for long-term care, while helping them qualify for valuable benefits from programs such as Medicare and Medi-Cal. We specialize in elder home care planning, personalized long-term care solutions, and placement. Make your elder home care choice with confidence.