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Residential aged care and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Although residential aged care facilities are the responsibility of the Department of Health, veterans and families can still get help from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to access care.

Last updated: December 10th 2021
You may still be able to access Department of Veterans Affairs funded services while living in residential aged care. [Source: Shutterstock]

You may still be able to access Department of Veterans Affairs funded services while living in residential aged care. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ pays for some of the costs of residential aged care for certain clients
  • It may also fund aids, appliances and care you need to receive outside the facility
  • There are services which can support the social needs of veterans in residential care

In some cases the DVA may fund the cost of residential care, aids or appliances you need, or may help you to get to appointments which you need to travel outside of your residential facility for.

Costs, assessments and the DVA

The DVA will pay for the entire cost of residential aged care for former prisoners of war and Victoria Cross recipients.

Other veterans and war widows or widowers will have to contribute to the cost of care in a nursing home, which is subsidised by the Commonwealth.

To determine how much you will need to pay there is an income and assets assessment applied to all Australians – veterans and non-veterans.

You can request an assessment from the DVA if you receive the service pension, income support supplement, DVA age pension, DVA disability pension or war widow(er)’s pension, or if you are a former Australian Defence Force prisoner of war.

All you need to do is complete the residential care forms and send them to the DVA, which will then assess the value of your income and assets and forward the information on to Services Australia.

Services Australia will then tell you how much you will need to pay for your care and accommodation fees.

If you don’t qualify for a DVA assessment you will be assessed by My Aged Care.

Services in residential aged care

Depending on the level of care you need and your agreement with your nursing home provider, you may still access DVA funded services while living in residential aged care.

If you are a veteran, war widow or war widower with lower level care needs you will be able to access allied health services as well as aids and appliances through the DVA, as long as you have a referral from an authorised referral source.

The maintenance, repair and replacement of items provided to you by the DVA will also be the responsibility of the DVA.

The DVA may also contribute to the cost of transport, meals and accommodation for some clients who live in aged care facilities but need to travel to approved medical appointments.

In any case where you don’t qualify for aids, appliances or care through the DVA these supports will be covered by the aged care facility you live in. It’s likely that if your residential home can provide these things then the DVA will not fund them, as that would be duplicating funding.

Visiting services

Just because you move into an aged care facility, doesn’t mean you can’t have contact with the broader community and as a veteran it may be important to you to have specialised peer support which is not regularly part of aged care services.

All members of the veteran community are able to invite representatives from ex-service organisations to visit them at their aged care home. You do have to ask for this service yourself as the aged care facility is not able to provide your details to these organisations for privacy reasons.

Either you or a member of your family should contact the local branch of the organisation you want a visit from directly to arrange it. However, the staff at your facility may be able to help to contact the ex-service organisation if you ask for help.

Another service you might like to connect with is the Community Visitor Scheme, which is available to all veteran and non-veteran aged care residents of Commonwealth Government funded facilities, who feel lonely and don’t have regular contact with family or friends.

The Scheme involves visits from volunteers who are matched with you based on your interests, hobbies and background, so that you can have engaging conversations about your experiences and topics which you want to talk about.

To contact a Community Visitor Scheme coordinator contact the relevant network in your State or Territory.

To contact the DVA about any aged care related topics, including residential care and home care packages, you can call 1800 838 372.

Do you have any other questions about residential aged care for veterans? Ask us in the comments below.

Related content:
What is ACFI and how does it affect my care?
What is the most important thing when looking for care?
What to consider when deciding on a nursing home

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