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VA Home Care Programs: Benefits and Eligibility

Written by Grace Styron
 about the author
8 minute readLast updated April 29, 2023
Reviewed by Letha Sgritta McDowellLetha Sgritta McDowell is an attorney practicing in both Virginia and North Carolina. She is a fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Council, a certified elder law attorney, and a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Feeding, bathing, and dressing an aging loved one can be stressful, time-consuming, and physically draining. For senior veterans, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several home care programs for eligible veterans and their family caregivers. Whether you simply want some time back to yourself, or your loved one’s needs are greater than you can manage on your own, VA home care programs can provide services ranging from help with housework and running errands to basic personal care and specialized medical assistance for your loved one, all within the comfort and familiarity of their own home.

Key Takeaways

  1. The VA provides eligible veterans with benefits that can help cover most in-home care costs. There are several different programs available, but veterans must meet certain requirements to qualify.
  2. Some benefit programs provide only nonmedical home care. Other programs are available for medical care at home; your loved one may be eligible for both kinds of benefits.
  3. Certain benefit programs focus on supporting the caregiver. As a family caregiver of an eligible veteran, you may be eligible to access resources, education, support, and services from the VA.
  4. The amount the veteran is responsible for is based on their eligibility. Some programs require a copay, which will be determined by your loved one’s disability status.

Does the VA pay for in-home care?

Some VA benefit programs may cover the entire cost of in-home care for eligible veterans. If your loved one is the surviving spouse of a veteran, there may be VA benefits available for them, too, provided they meet eligibility requirements. However, benefits can vary quite a bit depending on whether your loved one needs home care (nonmedical) or home health care (medical) services. Some benefits may also involve copays or deductibles; the amount often depends on your loved one’s service-connected disability status.

VA nonmedical home care benefits

Let’s say your veteran loved one has no major health concerns but needs help performing their activities of daily living (ADLs), which include bathing, grooming, dressing, eating, and using the restroom. Nonmedical home care may be a suitable option for them. Along with ADL assistance, home care can offer help with other responsibilities such as light housekeeping, laundry, cooking, transportation, and running errands.
The following VA programs can provide home care benefits to eligible senior veterans:
  • The Homemaker and Home Health Aide program is designed for veterans who need personal care services. The specific services a veteran receives are based on an initial needs assessment typically conducted by a registered nurse (RN). Care is overseen by an RN and provided by trained professionals called homemakers and home health aides. If your loved one chooses to, they can even combine the Homemaker and Home Health Aide program with other VA Home and Community Based Services programs. But keep in mind that this program may require small copays.[01]
  • The Veteran Directed Care program is also intended for veterans who need personal care services, with specific services being based on a needs assessment. However, instead of the program providing all of the veteran’s services, the Veteran Directed Care program is consumer-directed. The program gives the veteran a set budget, and the veteran is in charge of developing a spending plan and hiring their own care providers with the help of a counselor. This program also allows an approved family member to provide care.[02]
Remember, these two programs don’t provide skilled medical care. Instead, they provide nonmedical services to help ensure a veteran is safe, comfortable, and able to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. If your loved one has a significant illness, injury, or other health condition, they’ll likely benefit more from VA home health care benefits.

VA home health care benefits

Designed for eligible veterans who need short-term or ongoing medical care, the Skilled Home Health Care program is delivered by a home health agency that has a contract with the VA. Similar to the Homemaker and Home Health Aide program, the Skilled Home Health Care program can be used in conjunction with other VA Home and Community Based Services programs. Those who qualify may also have to pay a copay.
Home health services offered through this program can include the following:
  • Skilled nursing
  • Wound care
  • Catheter care
  • Injections and IV antibiotics
  • Case management
  • Specialized therapies [03]

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VA Home and Community Based Services

The VA offers a variety of other supportive services that can benefit both you and your veteran loved one.

Adult day health care centers (ADHCs)

ADHCs offer family caregivers a moment of respite and enable veterans socialize with their peers in a safe, supervised environment. Services can be provided at VA medical centers, state veterans homes, or community organizations that have partnered with the VA. Some ADHCs provide care for the full day while others only offer half-day care. Most centers will work with you and your loved one to create a regular schedule based on needs and availability.[04]

Home based primary care (HBPC)

With services ranging from nursing care and medication management to social work and mental health care, the HBPC program is designed to deliver routine health care services to your loved one in their home. The program can provide the home-based care that your loved one needs and relieve any burden you may be feeling as their family caregiver. Services also include regular in-home visits from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. Note that a copay may be charged depending on your loved one’s service-connected disability status and financial information.[05]

Home hospice care

If your loved one has a serious health condition that’s progressed to the point of being terminal, they may qualify for hospice care. The VA’s home hospice care program can relieve suffering, help control symptoms, and provide general comfort during your loved one’s final days of life. Hospice can also provide family members with bereavement support. Many people prefer to receive hospice care in their own home, but it can also be provided in an outpatient clinic or inpatient setting. And, fortunately, there are no copays for VA hospice care.[06]

Telehealth and remote monitoring care

Although availability depends on your loved one’s location, VA home telehealth services allow veterans to meet with their health providers virtually using a computer, telephone, or some type of mobile device. Visits typically take place via video, and other family members and caregivers can join the call, too, with the patient’s permission. Between virtual visits, health care providers can monitor your loved one’s health, including their vital signs, through the VA’s remote monitoring care program. Health data is, of course, only collected with your loved one’s consent. While there’s no copay charge for telehealth services, there may be one if your loved one utilizes in-home video visits in addition to basic telehealth services.[07]

Respite care

To be able to take care of someone else, you need to be feeling well yourself. Respite care gives you time to refresh and relax so you can get back to feeling your best. If you’re caring for a family member who’s a veteran, you might be able to receive up to 30 days of respite care per year through the VA. It can also be used if you’re planning on going out of town or have been hospitalized for any reason, and it’s available in a variety of settings. Respite care can be provided in a private residence, an adult day health center, or in a nursing home . Copays are determined by your loved one’s financial status and service-connected disability status.[08]

Caregiver support program

The VA Caregiver Support Program consists of the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) and the Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS). Provided you meet certain qualifications and your loved one is enrolled in VA health care, you may be able to apply to either program and start receiving VA-sponsored caregiver support.[09]
The PCAFC can provide the following:
  • A monthly stipend which you can use at your discretion
  • Health care insurance through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)
  • Respite and mental health care
  • Education and training
  • Travel benefits to help pay for transportation to your loved one’s medical appointments [09]
The PGCSS can provide the following:
  • One-on-one coaching and skills training
  • Group support and peer mentorship
  • Online programs
  • Self-care support [09]

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Eligibility for VA home care programs

Navigating VA benefits and eligibility can be difficult. You can reach out to your local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) for help with understanding and applying for benefits for your loved one. For most programs, you can apply online, by mail, or in person.

Eligibility for VA home care programs

To find out if your loved one is eligible for a VA home care benefits program, you’ll need to check a few things. Veterans are only eligible if they:
  • Have already enrolled in VA health care
  • Are eligible for community care
  • Meet the clinical criteria for the program, which can vary depending on location [01,02]

Eligibility for VA caregiver support programs

Anyone caring for a veteran who’s enrolled in the VA health care program can apply for the Program of General Caregiver Support Services.[09]
For you to qualify for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers, your loved one must:
  • Be enrolled in VA health care or currently on active duty with a medical discharge
  • Have a serious injury or illness that’s connected to their service
  • Need in-person personal care for at least six months because they can’t perform their ADLs or they require extensive supervision
  • Receive ongoing care from a primary care team
  • Receive care provided at home [10]
To qualify for the PCAFC as a caregiver, you must:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be related to the veteran by blood or marriage or live with them full-time
  • Be able to complete caregiver education and training
  • Complete caregiver training to further prove that you’re capable of carrying out the responsibilities of a family caregiver [10]

Next steps for understanding and accessing VA home care programs

When an aging parent or loved one depends on you, navigating their needs on your own can be immensely challenging, stressful, and even risky. To help ensure you’re making the best decisions for your loved one, consider reaching out to a Senior Care Advisor. An advisor will ask about your loved one’s situation and recommend senior care options that best fit your family’s needs — all at not cost to you.


  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care.

  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Veteran-Directed Care.

  3. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Skilled Home Health Care.

  4. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Adult Day Health Care.

  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Home Based Primary Care.

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

  7. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, February 15). Telehealth.

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

  9. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2023, April 18). VA Caregiver Support Program.

Meet the Author
Grace Styron

Grace Styron is a writer at OurParents specializing in assistive technology, memory care, and home care. Before writing about healthy aging, she worked for an online women’s lifestyle magazine and as a grant writer for a nonprofit regenerative permaculture farm in Virginia. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.

Edited byKristin Carroll
Reviewed byLetha Sgritta McDowell

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