Long Term Care
Aid And Attendance/Housebound
Home Health Aide
Home Based Primary Care
Women’s Health Care
Non-Va Emergency Care And Foreign Medical Care
Health Related Web Based Resources
Not everything that helps maintain/improve your health has to come from the VA. But that’s a good place to start. Veterans Affairs provides various levels of benefits depending on your type of service. If you were injured while on active duty, wounded in combat, or are now a veteran-citizen needing help with prescriptions or medical services unrelated to military experience, you may be eligible.
General eligibility requirements for those who entered service after September 7, 1980 and did not serve in a combat area during OEF/OIF/OND are completion of two years continuous active duty or the full period for which they were called to active duty (other than for training). Discharge under other than dishonorable conditions is also required.
Apply now if you haven’t already. The application is at http://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/vha-1010EZ-fill.pdf or you can enroll by phone at 877-222-8387. You will need your DD-214 (or form WD for WWII vets) and current health insurance card(s). You will also need to provide financial information unless you are a recent combat vet, former POW, or are receiving Medicaid benefits. If you need help with the application, contact the local VA enrollment coordinator (201-487-1390) or the Post or County Service Officer. The completed application can be mailed or brought to the local VA outpatient clinic facility at 385 Prospect Avenue, Hackensack, NJ 07601.
Veterans seeking VA health care are assigned to priority groups according to severity of service-connected disabilities, type/location of service, and economic means. These groups are determined by a complex set of conditions defined by VA. However, even veterans without service connected disabilities may qualify for medical services (inpatient and outpatient) and medication coverage provided they agree to modest co-pays. Certain outpatient services like VA health fairs, preventive screenings (blood pressure, hepatitis B, some cancers, etc.), laboratory, and some prevention counseling are provided without a co-payment being required. Veterans are also eligible for hearing aids or eyeglasses based on medical need. And VA has some dental coverage through Delta Dental. Some travel costs may also be reimbursed.
Below are topics linked to VA web pages with information on health, well-being, and treatment. Pick whatever interests you to learn more.
Your Health Care Benefits
- Learn about Health Benefits
- Apply for Health Benefits
- What if I have additional health insurance?
- How much does VA care cost?
- Where do I get care?
- Refilling Prescriptions
Specialty Health Programs
- A to Z Index of Health Programs & Services
- Long Term Care and Geriatrics
- Mental Health
- Military Exposures (Agent Orange, etc.)
- Military Sexual Trauma
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Suicide Prevention
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Health Care for Specific Groups
- Combat Veterans and their Families
- Elderly Veterans
- Homeless Veterans
- Returning Service Members (OEF/OIF/OND)
- Rural Veterans
- Women Veterans
VET CENTER is an independent agency funded by VA to provide readjustment services to military veterans who have served in any combat zone, with counseling for military trauma (including PTSD) and family problems as a main focus. Family counseling is available for help with readjustment issues. Substance abuse information and referrals are also provided. All services are confidential and no information is communicated to any person or agency (including VA) without written consent from the veteran, except to avert a crisis. Care is community based and offers wellness activities. The website is http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/index.asp and the toll free telephone is 800-905-4675.
The local VET CENTER can be reached at 201-223-7787 and is located at 110 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus, 07094. It’s a safe place where combat vets can share their experiences and concerns with other combat vets.
LONG TERM CARE
The New Jersey Division of Veterans Healthcare Services operates three long term care nursing homes located in Paramus, Vineland, and Menlo Park. The homes have full time staffs of doctors and nurses providing 24/7 care. Medical and rehabilitation services are provided, as well as recreational activities. Honorably discharged veterans of all wars are eligible, as are Guard/Reserve retirees, spouses, widow(er)s, and Gold Star parents. Applicants must meet asset limitation criteria and residents pay according to means based on income. The Paramus home is located across the street from Bergen Regional at 1 Veterans Plaza, 07652. Telephone is 201-634-8200 and Social Services is 201-634-8435. An application is here: Application for Admission. The state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website is http://www.state.nj.us/military/veterans/index.html.
VA also offers other long term care services that include adult day health care, respite care, hospice and palliative care, and home health aide service. These services may be offered directly or by contract with community based agencies. Veterans qualifying for these services may be subject to a copay.
AID AND ATTENDANCE/HO– USEBOUND
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit helps reduce the out-of-pocket costs for veterans who need assistance with daily living. The maximum monthly payment ranges from $1758 for a single veteran to more than $2,700 for a couple where both are veterans. To qualify, a veteran has to have at least one day of active military service during a time of war. The wartime veteran or surviving spouse must need the assistance of another person to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, bathing, etc. Being blind or in a nursing home or residing in an assisted living facility qualifies. This benefit will also help pay for caregivers in the home. The veteran cannot have more than $80,000 in assets and must meet an income requirement (gross income minus out of pocket medical expenses). Claimants need to complete VA Form 21-2680 or write to the VA Regional Office. NOTE: This benefit is tied directly to and dependent on the Veterans Pension benefit – go to the Other Benefits section for more complete information. (It is strongly recommended that claimants contact their post or county Service Officer before submitting documents to VA.)
HOME HEALTH AIDE
Care may be available to older veterans who need skilled services/assistance with daily living needs like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, etc. and cannot qualify for Aid and Attendance. Home Health Aides come to the veteran’s home to help with daily activities and are supervised by a registered nurse. Services can be provided 6 – 10 hours per week. Exact needs will be assessed by a VA social worker. This benefit is not based on income and there is usually a small co-pay involved. For more information go to Home Health Aide.
HOME BASED PRIMARY CARE
May be available when the veteran has complex health care needs and clinic based care is not effective. This is similar to Home Health Aide but care is supervised by a VA physician. Services include primary care visits at home, therapy visits from a physical, occupational, or speech therapist, mental health care, etc. Needs are assessed by a social worker and care management team, and there is usually a copay. Go to Home Primary Care for more information.
SKILLED HOME HEALTH CARE is short term health care for veterans who are homebound or live far from a VA facility. Services are similar to Home Health Aide and Home Based Primary Care. Find more information at Skilled Home Health Care.
There are more HOME and COMMUNITY BASED health care services available to help chronically ill or disabled veterans of any age remain in their homes. Check them out at Home and Community Services.
WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE
Every VA Medical Center has a Women Veterans Program Manager to advise women veterans and coordinate care. Many women’s health services can be provided at the VA outpatient clinic located at 385 Prospect Avenue in Hackensack (201-487-1390). The contact number for the Women Veterans Program Manager is 973-395-7108. A link to VA women’s health services is http://www.newjersey.va.gov/services/women/index.asp. The local VA Medical Center in East Orange is 973-676-1000 ext 1695.
The Center for Women Veterans (www.va.gov/womenvet) monitors and coordinates VA health care and benefit services, and programs for women veterans. It also has links to other resources available for women veterans.
The American Legion has published a Guide for Women Veterans which is available at http://www.legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/WomenVeteransbrochure_07.pdf. This booklet contains information on women’s health and other topics.
ALCOHOL/SUBSTANCE AB– USE
VA includes this sensitive topic under its Mental Health tab (above), but this provides a direct link where you will find information and tools. The page also has an anonymous screening (not seen or stored anywhere) to help you decide if you might have a problem or become susceptible to these conditions. http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/substanceabuse.asp Both the State and the County have multiple programs for veterans who have or think they may have a problem. The State hotline is 866-838-7654. For Bergen County, call 201-634-2740 or contact the County Division of Veterans Services at 201-336-6325. Your local Vet Center (201-223-7787) can also help. Your anonymity will be protected.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for Americans, and military veterans make up 20 percent of suicide deaths each year. Vets4Warriors is a free, confidential peer-to-peer support service. The Vets4Warriors call center is staffed by veterans and family members representing all branches of the services. You can connect with them anytime by phone (1-855-838-8255), by online chat on the Vets4Warriors website at Vets4Warriors.com, or by e-mail at Info@Vets4Warriors.com. In more urgent situations, if someone you know is in distress or may be contemplating suicide, they can contact the Military Crisis Line immediately via phone, online chat, or text message. Just call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1; visit www.militarycrisisline.net; or text 838255. Trained professionals are always there — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more mental health guides and tips, visit the Military.com Mental Health and Wellness section.
NON-VA EMERGENCY CARE AND FOREIGN MEDICAL CARE
VA may reimburse or pay for emergency care to certain eligible veterans when VA or other federal facilities are not available. This benefit is dependent on various conditions so it is imperative that VA be notified as soon as possible after emergency treatment is sought. Reimbursement criteria for veterans living or traveling outside the United States differ from domestic. Veterans living or planning to travel outside the U.S. should register with the Denver Foreign Medical Program office, P.O. Box 469061, Denver, CO 80246-9061. 303-331-7590. Information is at: http://www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/fmp/fmp.asp.
Bergen County offers an important health related service to veterans. Transportation to VA medical centers in New Jersey is available Monday through Friday via the county division of community transportation and state department of military and veterans affairs. If you need assistance or information check Division of Community Transportation or call 201-368-5955. The application is here: 2015 Senior Citizens & Disabled Residents Transportation Assistance Program (SCDRTAP) Application. Some out of pocket transportation expenses may also be reimbursable by VA.
For veterans and families struggling with medical expenses, VA has the MEDICAL CARE HARDSHIP PROGRAM. The program is focused on helping people with paying off their medical bills and health care expenses. The VA Medical Care Hardship program can also help struggling veterans qualify for healthcare benefits. There are some conditions to receiving aid, but in general people who have had a recent change in their income, such as a job loss or reduction in total household income from say a reduction in work hours, will be eligible. They can look into this program even if they were previously denied enrollment based on their household income at the time. So individuals can in effect reapply multiple times. Hardships will tend to be approved if the veteran’s current year income is substantially lower than the previous year.
Catholic Charities has a link to a website detailing different health care programs and services including free/low cost clinics that veterans and families in need who may not qualify for comprehensive VA services can apply for. Being Catholic is not a requirement for taking advantage of these services. Information is at: http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/help_with_medical_bills.html. This site carries advertisements. It also has links to services not related to Catholic Charities.
Below are VA compensation rates for veterans with disabilities. These are included for information purposes only. The Department of Veterans Affairs will make the final determination as to what, if any, compensation is due an individual or family member. If the VA has denied a claim or awarded an amount with which you disagree, contact the Post or County service officer for information on how to file an appeal.
Disability Compensation is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Service members who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training or survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. DIC for parents is an income based benefit.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg.
HEALTH RELATED WEB BASED RESOURCES
Technology is being used as a helpful tool by many health organizations to diagnose and treat veterans. Video documentaries, self assessments, and interactive workbooks are geared toward behavioral health and wellness. Veterans need to know that there is no stigma for seeking help with behavioral issues whether it’s stress, smoking, or substance abuse.
The AfterDeployment website has many topics, ranging from anxiety to spirituality to work adjustment. The topics have modules within them that define and explain the topic, provide self assessments, identify signs/triggers, and suggest treatment options. This website can also help older veterans and it will be referenced in other sections of this guide. It’s found at http://afterdeployment.t2.health.mil/.
The PTSD Coach Online website provides tools to help you manage stress and is for anyone who needs help with upsetting feelings. Trauma survivors, families, or anyone coping with stress can benefit from this. It’s at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/apps/ptsdcoachonline/default.htm.
The Make the Connection website allows veterans and their families to privately explore information, research content on mental health issues and treatment and access support that can help them improve their lives. You can connect with other veterans and find the resources they use to get their lives on a better track. http://maketheconnection.net/
The Achieving Personal Balance Program of the New Jersey Prevention Network is a gender-specific program for military men and women deploying for multiple tours and experiencing life as a cycle of war zone, home, back to war zone. It is designed to develop and apply coping strategies to deal with stress at work and at home. It is available to those serving or who have served. Visit www.njpn.org/military.
Caregiver Education and Training Programs are training opportunities which include pre-discharge care instruction and specialized caregiver programs in multiple severe traumas such as TBI or blindness. In addition to training assistance for caregivers can include counseling, travel expenses, stipends, and respite care. The VA Caregiver website is: www.caregiver.va.gov.
Operation Comfort Warriors is an American Legion program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded, injured or ill military personnel by providing them with comfort items not usually supplied by the government. The Legion contacts officials at military hospitals, warrior transition units and surrounding communities, and obtains lists to determine which items are needed by wounded, injured or ill service members. The Legion procures and ships the items. To request assistance, go to http://www.legion.org/operationcomfortwarriors/assistance, and fill out the application. Someone from The American Legion in your area will contact you soon using the information you provide. Please be sure to include the area code for phone numbers and an email address if possible. IMPORTANT: The application for assistance is not meant to be used in an immediate crisis or as an immediate intervention in an emergency. If you have an emergency or you or the person you are requesting assistance for are suicidal call 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 (TALK) and press option 1 for the Military Crisis Line, or call your local emergency services provider.