Yes, the VA (the formal name is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) has programs to assist veterans with nursing home care. There are three distinct care settings where the VA provides help.
Nursing Home Care Units (NHCUs). NHCUs are nursing facilities located within a VA Medical Center or on the grounds of a VA medical facility. For example, the VA Medical Center in West Los Angeles has an NHCU housing more than 200 residents.
A veteran can receive care at an NHCU if the veteran needs nursing home care because of a service-connected disability. NHCU admission is also available if the veteran needs nursing home care and has a service-connected disability rated at 70% disabling or more. There are often waiting lists for admission to NHCUs.
Community Nursing Homes (CNHs). CNHs are public or private nursing homes serving veterans under contract with the VA. The VA has a list of approved CNHs. Also, a veteran may request that the VA sign a contract to cover the veteran in a nursing home not on the approved list.
A veteran requiring nursing home care for a service-connected disability is eligible for direct admission to a CNH. Other veterans may qualify for CNH care only if they are transferred from another VA or Department of Defense facility, and the VA determines that prolonged nursing home care is necessary.
State Homes. State Homes are care facilities administered by a state, and partially subsidized by the VA. In California there are now three State Homes in Yountville, Barstow and Chula Vista (skilled nursing care is not available at the Chula Vista facility).
Financial Eligibility and Share of Cost
A veteran may need to meet income and asset requirements to become eligible for VA-paid care. At a State Home, a veteran may have to pay a percentage of income as a share of cost.
VA Health Benefits Information
To obtain care benefits information directly from the VA, call 877-222-VETS (toll free) or on the internet go to vba.va.gov