Nursing home placement for veterans residing in NJ is available from two sources within the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs — the veteran’s health care system and the NJ state veteran’s homes system.
Nursing Home Coverage Through the VA Health Care System
Nursing home coverage along with other long-term care services such as home care and assisted living as well as geriatric care management are available through the Veterans Health Administration for qualifying veterans.
In order to get into the veteran’s health care program, the veteran must have service-connected disabilities, or be below a qualifying income level, or be receiving Veterans Pension income. Once in the system, veterans are not guaranteed long-term care services, including nursing home care, unless they meet specific requirements. Here is a list of these requirements for nursing home coverage.
Who is Eligible for Nursing Home Care
- Any veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more;
- A veteran who is rated 100 percent service-connected and is unemployable or has an official rating of “permanent and total disability” can be eligible for free nursing home placement;
- A veteran whose service-connected disability is clinically determined to require nursing home care;
- Non-service-connected disabled veterans and those officially referred to as “zero percent, non-compensable, service-connected” veterans who require nursing home care for any non-service-connected disability and who meet income and asset criteria; or
- If space and resources are available, other veterans on a case-by-case basis with priority given to service-connected veterans and those who need care for post-acute rehabilitation, respite, hospice, geriatric evaluation and management, or spinal cord injury.
The VA’s nursing home health system includes VA-operated nursing homes and contracts with community-located nursing homes. Many VA hospitals operate nursing home care units located in or near the hospital. VA hospitals, without adequate nursing home beds, contract with approximately 2,500 community private nursing homes nationwide to provide services.
State Veterans Homes
In NJ, the state veteran homes fill an important need for veterans with low income and veterans who desire to spend their last years with “comrades” in service. The predominant service offered is nursing home care. The NJ state nursing homes are licensed and conform to the skilled or intermediate nursing services offered in private-sector nursing homes.
Every state has at least one veterans home and some states like New Jersey have three (3) of them. There is great demand for the services of these homes.
Unlike private sector nursing homes where the family can walk in the front door and possibly that same day make arrangements for a bed for their loved one, state veterans homes have an application process that could take a number of weeks or months. NJ’s state homes have a waiting list specific to their Alzheimer’s long-term care units.
No facilities are entirely free to any veteran with an income. The veteran must pay his or her share of the costs of care. In NJ, the veteran’s contribution rates are set at a certain level. Federal legislation allows the federal government to (substantially) subsidize the cost of care for veterans with service-connected disabilities in state veteran homes.
Federal regulations allow up to 25% of the bed occupants at any one time to be veteran-related family members, i.e., spouses, surviving spouses, and/or gold star parents who are not entitled to payment of VA aid.
Domicile residency requirements vary from state to state. New Jersey requires an applicant to be a NJ resident domiciliary.
NJ requires an application to get into a home. Typically a committee or board will approve or disapprove each application.
To discuss your NJ veterans matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at email@example.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Veterans Attorney