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Home Care for Veterans: Benefits, Eligibility, and Care Options

13 minute readLast updated May 5, 2023
Written by Melissa Bean, senior living writer
Medically reviewed by Amanda Lundberg, RN, family medicine expertAmanda Lundberg is a registered nurse with over 10 years of experience in clinical settings, working extensively with seniors and focusing on wellness and preventative care.
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Aging, chronic illness, and service-connected disabilities can bring new challenges to the forefront for a veteran. Most older adults want to remain in their familiar home, but a change in ability can make that difficult without added support. As a veteran, your loved one may qualify for specialized VA home care, VA home health care, or other home-based VA programs that aren’t available to their civilian counterparts. All of these programs fall under the VA’s Home and Community Based Services.

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Key Takeaways

  1. The VA offers in-home care programs that cover a wide range of care needs. Each program has unique eligibility guidelines for veterans.
  2. Veterans can choose which program fits their needs best. Through the VA’s Home and Community Based Services, you can receive basic ADL assistance or specialized medical care.
  3. Eligibility determines how much a veteran is responsible for paying. There may be a copay for certain services, but this depends on your loved one’s VA service-connected disability status.
  4. VA-accredited resources can help you apply for VA benefits. A Place for Mom’s trusted partners offer personalized guidance to veterans.

Veterans home care benefits

Your loved one may be able to access home care through the Homemaker and Home Health Aid program or the Veteran Directed Care program. Keep in mind that home care is generally geared toward nonmedical support for the veteran, while home health care delivers medical care in a home setting.

For example, if your loved one only needs help with personal care needs and activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing or dressing, one of the following home care options may be a good fit.

Note: While in-home care (both medical and nonmedical) may typically be associated with older adults, these VA programs are generally open to veterans of any age.

Homemaker and Home Health Aide program

This VA program involves a skilled aide coming to the veteran’s residence to support the veteran with daily activities, such as grocery shopping or personal grooming. The aide may visit often or once in a while depending on the needs of the veteran.[01] With this program, the veteran may continue receiving services for as long as they need assistance with daily tasks.

This program benefits veterans in a couple different ways: It allows the veteran to live at home for longer, and it allows a family caregiver to reduce the stress and physical strain of caregiving.[02]

Veteran Directed Care

The Veteran Directed Care program gives the veteran a set budget to spend on services chosen by the veteran or their representative. The selected services should assist the veteran with personal care activities such as preparing food or showering.

Some veterans may prefer the flexibility this program offers compared to the rigidity of the Homemaker and Home Health Aide program. A counselor with the VA will typically help the veteran and their family set up a spending plan. The counselor can also generally assist the veteran and their family with hiring workers to provide services.[03]

Can you afford home care?

Let our free assessment guide you to the best senior living options, tailored to your budget.

How much does the VA pay for in-home care?

The amount the VA pays for home care for veterans can vary greatly based upon the specific program the veteran uses, eligibility status, disability status, copays, and other factors. 24/7 in-home care costs may be higher than those who need fewer hours of care.

If you have a VA case manager or VA social worker, they may be able to help you understand your eligibility and how much the VA can cover to meet your individual needs. If not, you can contact the VA online or by phone 24/7 at 800-698-2411 for additional assistance. People who need an interpreter can call also call 800-698-2411, but they’ll need to select 0 to connect with an agent and request an interpreter for their language.

Who is eligible for the veteran home care programs?

Veterans are eligible for home care programs if they meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in VA health care
  • Identified as meeting the clinical criteria for each program
  • Eligible for community care
  • Live in an area with service or program availability

When considering these programs, your loved one should keep in mind that there may be an applicable copay for services through the Homemaker and Home Health Aide program. This depends upon your loved one’s VA service-connected disability status.[01], [03]

Caregivers can learn more about these programs through the VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274, or by contacting their Caregiver Support Coordinator. It’s important to note that in-home care can be a great alternative if your parent is refusing to move to assisted living.

Veterans home health care benefits

The VA’s Skilled Home Health Care program focuses on home health care rather than home care. Designed for veterans who need medical support and wish to remain at home, this program brings skilled medical services to the veteran’s residence.

Veterans may receive the following support at home as part of this program:

  • Case management, including patient education, home safety evaluations, and social work support
  • Skilled nursing care, such as IV antibiotics, wound care, catheter care, home infusions, and more
  • Specialized therapies, including occupational therapy and speech therapy[04]

To qualify for this program, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in VA health care
  • Eligible for community care
  • Meet the clinical requirements of the Skilled Home Health Care program

Please note that this program may be limited to areas of service availability.

Does the VA pay for home health care?

Yes, the VA may pay for home health care for eligible veterans who meet specific requirements. The amount paid can vary based on a variety of factors, such as the amount of care needed and disability status.

A VA social worker or VA case manager may be able to give personalized information about the coverage of home health care for your unique situation. If you don’t currently have a social worker or case manager, you may also be able to learn information through the Ask VA online portal, by calling the VA benefits hotline at 800-827-1000, or by reaching out to your local VA facility on the VA locations list.

Other VA Home and Community Based Services

Home care may be ideal for seniors with disabilities and others who cannot travel easily to the local VA medical center because of a cognitive issue or a physical issue. This is especially true if a veteran no longer chooses to drive and doesn’t have connections to accessible transportation options.

HBPC provides veterans home care benefits through the following activities:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Mental health support
  • Social work support

HBPC provides medical support through the following services:

  • Case management by a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant
  • Primary care visits at home with a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant
  • Nursing care

To qualify for this program, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in VA health care
  • Meet the clinical requirements for the program
  • Have services available in their area

Expert advice for affordable home care

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Hospice Care at home

If a veteran has a terminal condition and is approaching the end of life, the VA’s Hospice Care service may be an option for them to receive care at home.

To qualify for this type of care, your loved one has to meet the following criteria:

  • Diagnosed by a doctor with a prognosis of less than six months to live
  • Have no interest in treatment other than palliative care
  • Enrolled in VA Health Care
  • Demonstrate a clinical need for hospice care

Unlike other VA home-based programs, there are no copays for Hospice Care through the VA.[05]

Home Respite Care

Family caregivers for veterans often give all of themselves to care for their loved one. This strain on body, mind, and spirit can lead to caregiver burnout. The VA recognizes these challenges and offers the Home Respite Care service to help family caregivers take care of themselves and relieve stress.

Through this VA service, a person comes to the veteran’s home and temporarily takes over caregiving duties, allowing you to do what’s necessary to stay well. Whether you need to go to a doctor’s appointment or visit with a dear friend over a cup of coffee, you can rest easy knowing your loved one isn’t home alone.

To qualify for the VA’s Home Respite Care, a veteran must meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in VA Health Care
  • Meet the clinical criteria for this service

Can a veteran’s spouse or a surviving spouse receive care through the VA?

Maybe — this depends upon the spouse’s unique situation and ability to meet eligibility requirements. VA programs are often designed specifically for qualified veterans to receive care. If the veteran’s spouse or a surviving spouse is also a veteran, they may qualify for VA health care through their own service.

Typically, non-veteran spouses may not be eligible to seek health care through the VA. However, non-veteran spouses may be able to receive VA health care benefits if they qualify for the following:

Who can help me understand and access VA benefits?

It can be challenging to navigate the many VA benefits, programs, and services available for veterans. Providing the correct documentation and filling out the right forms can feel overwhelming when a veteran needs help.

Make the journey easier by working with A Place for Mom’s trusted, VA-accredited partner Patriot Angels (833-879-6017).

Note: A Place for Mom may be compensated if you choose to use Patriot Angels’ services.

In some cases, veterans may prefer to seek home care outside of the VA. The Senior Living Advisors at A Place for Mom can help your family discover veteran-friendly home care options that meet your unique needs.


  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Homemaker and home health aide care.

  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022, August 15). VA caregiver support program: VA in-home and support services.

  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Veteran-directed care.

  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Skilled home health care.

  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Hospice care.

  6. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Respite care.

Meet the Author
Melissa Bean, senior living writer

Melissa Bean is a former veterans content specialist at A Place for Mom, where she crafted easy-to-understand articles about VA resources, senior care payment options, dementia caregiving, and more. Melissa pairs over a decade of writing experience with her time as a military spouse, during which she organized and led a multistate military family support group.

Edited by

Danny Szlauderbach

Reviewed by

Amanda Lundberg, RN, family medicine expert

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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