01 Jun Caring for Veterans: What to Know About VA Nursing Homes in Florida
They put their lives on the line for us. Is it so much to ask they live their final days in care and comfort?
VA nursing homes provide special care for veterans of the Armed Forces.
If you’d like to know if your loved one is eligible, we’ve put together a guide for you. For eligibility and application details for VA nursing homes, read on.
What Are VA Nursing Homes?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can provide care in nursing homes to veterans too disabled or elderly to care for themselves, but not sick enough to be hospitalized. The care they provide can be short or long term.
The priority groups for the nursing home scheme are as follows:
- Veterans needing nursing home care due to a disability sustained during military service
- Veterans with a total disability rating of 70% or higher
- Veterans deemed unemployable or rated permanently and totally disabled, with a disability rating of at least 60%
If your loved one doesn’t fit in any of these categories, they may still receive services if there are still resources available after the needs of these priority veterans are met.
How Are They Different from Normal Nursing Homes?
The first difference is to do with the full or part funding by VA. Beyond that difference, veteran care understands the particular needs of aging loved ones who experience service-related disabilities, be they physical or psychiatric, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
In some cases, veterans have not even spoken to their families about traumatic service experiences. As they age, these memories may appear as flashbacks and night terrors.
Veteran-specific nursing homes know how to best assist in these cases, bringing comfort to your loved one. It also means your loved one spends their days in the company of the only ones who truly understand what they’ve been through – other veterans.
What Types of Care Are Available?
There are three types of nursing care available to veterans. We’ll explain each of them, before focusing on VA nursing homes, now known as Community Living Centers (CLCs).
State Veterans Homes
These are nursing homes operated by the state, with the approval of the VA. In some cases, the VA will actually pay for the care provided to veterans at a state veterans’ home.
Community Living Centers (CLCs)
Within some VA Medical Centers, they have Community Living Centers. Previously they were called Nursing Home Care Units or VA Nursing Homes. These are usually in the VA Medical Center or close by but in a separate complex.
Contract Nursing Care
Some veterans may receive care in public or private nursing homes. Time spent in these homes can be limited to veterans with disability ratings under 70% and those with a disability that is not clearly service-related.
As the care they require is not so specialized, the can be comfortable in these public and private nursing home alternatives.
Who Is Eligible for CLCs?
To be eligible for care in a Community Living Center, a veteran needs to be:
- Psychiatrically or medically unstable
- Enrolled in the VA Health Care System
- Have documentation that outlines whether they need short or long term care
- Demonstrate their priority for a CLC stay
Even if your loved one meets the criteria, it doesn’t guarantee their stay in the CLC. The CLC staff will make an independent decision about their suitability, taking into account factors like availability of their services, the care the veteran needs, and whether that particular CLC can meet the care needs of the veteran in question.
What’s the Application Process like for CLC Care?
To apply for CLC Care, a veteran’s physician will write up an application to formally request care in the CLC. Veterans with service-connected ratings between 10% and 100% are eligible for full payment of their CLC, no matter their income.
Does your veteran has an income high than the VA maximum annual pension? Do they also not have a service-connected disability with a minimum 10% rating? They may have to make co-pays for their care in these cases.
Where Can I Get More Information?
For more information about services available in your area, you can speak with your local County Veterans Services Office in Florida or your VA Medical Center.
You can also speak to other veteran families you know to hear what did and didn’t work for them during the application process. If you already know veterans receiving quality nursing home care, ask their loved ones how they were able to make it happen.
The good news is that there are also specialized services to help you apply for VA nursing home benefits for your loved one.
Where Can I Get Help?
The application process can be stressful. If it’s time to consider a nursing home for your loved one, you’ve already got your hands full. If you need some help with nursing home applications, so you can better juggle work, family and unpaid care of your loved one, it’s time to talk to Elder Benefits.
We help you and your loved ones navigate care options, and with benefits applications. We can get you a quick approval because we understand the application process through years of experience.
Time to Start the Application Process for a VA Nursing Home
There comes a point where the best place for your loved one is VA nursing homes. Somewhere they can be comfortable, and get the highly professional, veteran-focussed care they require.
Your loved one did their service for our country, and it’s time we gave back to them with the right nursing home care. If you’re like most unpaid carers, you’ve already got enough on your hands juggling work, family, and care.
Take the stress out of the care-seeking process and improve your chances of a successful application; talk to Elder Benefits today.