VA Spouse Medical Benefits: Coverage for Rehab and Therapy Treatment

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a federal body dedicated to providing quality care to veterans. One issue the VA has been increasingly focusing on is the high rate of substance abuse among veterans. In fact, studies have shown that veterans are more likely than the general public to suffer from substance abuse disorders (SUDs).1

Veterans are particularly vulnerable to developing SUDs due to the challenges they face upon leaving active duty. Transitioning to a new way of life with less structure and support can put veterans at a higher risk of turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Awareness is key when it comes to helping veterans learn more stress management strategies and combatting the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression stemming from traumatic experiences in war zones.1,2

Aiming to address these issues, the VA has launched a number of programs and initiatives designed to support veterans with substance abuse prevention and treatment services.3

What is VA and Benefits for Spouses? 

The VA is an agency of the United States government that was established in 1930 to offer veterans of the U.S. military access to VA benefits and services, such as healthcare, disability compensation, and education. The agency provides a wide range of specialized services for service members, veterans, their families, and dependents who are eligible for benefits under the various programs available through the VA. In addition to these traditional services, the VA also offers assistance to spouses of veterans who qualify for certain benefits.4

The VA’s Spouse Benefits Program is designed to provide assistance in areas such as health care coverage, disability compensation, education assistance, home loan guarantees, life insurance coverage and VA death benefits for spouses. For spouses of veterans with service-connected disabilities or those who have died due to a service-connected illness or injury, there are a number of additional benefits available through the VA‘s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program. The amount of VA benefits can vary depending on several factors such as the veteran’s disability rating or length of marriage before their death or illness.4,5

Does VA Cover Rehab Treatment (Addiction Treatment) for Spouses? 

The VA does cover SUD treatment for veterans’ spouses but under specific circumstances. This type of benefit is available to eligible veterans who qualify and can serve to provide additional benefits in certain cases.6

In some cases, spouses of veterans may also be eligible for addiction treatment coverage through the VA if their veteran partner has already qualified for benefits under this program. In order to qualify for this coverage, both parties must meet certain eligibility criteria set by the VA. Generally speaking, applicants must be married at the time of application and dependent on the veteran financially in order to be considered eligible.6

The amount of coverage offered will vary depending on each individual case but can include a variety of different treatments such as psychotherapy, intensive outpatient programs, group therapies, and pharmacological treatments. In addition, VA facilities may provide additional resources such as housing assistance or job placement services to help individuals dealing with addiction return back into society after their rehabilitation is complete.7

What Benefits Do Veterans’ Spouses Receive? 

Veterans’ spouses receive a variety of benefits from the VA, ranging from health care coverage to education assistance and access to VA-sponsored programs. Generally speaking, these benefits are available to spouses of veterans who are severely disabled or deceased as a result of service-related causes.7

  • Health Care Coverage: In terms of health care coverage, VA medical benefits are available for eligible dependents of both disabled and deceased veterans. This may include access to inpatient and outpatient medical services, mental health care, dental care, and even prescription drugs. Additionally, there is specialized care available for conditions related to trauma or other psychological issues resulting from military service.8
  • Education Assistance: The VA offers several types of educational assistance programs including the Veteran Readiness & Employment Program (VR&E), and Tuition Assistance Top-Up Program (TATUP). These can help cover tuition fees at colleges and universities as well as vocational training programs.9
  • Other Programs: The VA may also provide access to other important benefit programs designed specifically for dependents of veterans or those with service-connected disabilities such as housing grants, caregiver assistance programs, burial benefits, travel reimbursements for medical treatment purposes, and more.7

Veterans’ Spouse Benefits Eligibility for Substance Abuse Treatment 

VA spouses who need treatment for SUDs may be eligible for benefits if their partner has been approved for disability compensation due to an injury or illness sustained during or exacerbated by active-duty service. To qualify, veterans must have a total combined disability rating of at least 30%.7

For struggling individuals seeking assistance in managing or treating substance abuse issues, it’s important to verify eligibility requirements through your local VA office prior to applying for any benefits-related services. Once eligibility is established, treatment-seeking individuals may find additional information and resources through VA’s SUD Treatment Program.6,10

Spouses of Disabled Veterans  

Disabled veterans’ spouses may be eligible for a number of VA benefits, including:8

  • Compensation for disability
  • Healthcare benefits
  • Different types of insurance
  • Help with employment
  • Vocational training and education

Surviving Spouses

Surviving spouses of veterans may benefit from a number of VA benefits as well, including:8

Divorced Spouses

VA’s help may also extend to divorced spouses of veterans under certain circumstances. Divorced spouses may request care through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). The ex-partner may use the benefits of this program for a maximum of three years from the veteran’s discharge date.10

Do Rehab Centers Need to be In-Network to Accept VA Insurance?

Rehab centers that accept VA insurance typically need to have an in-network agreement with the VA. In order for rehab centers to become in-network, they must meet certain requirements set forth by the VA. These requirements are designed to ensure that veterans receive high-quality care and services from providers.11

The first requirement is that the rehab center must be accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or The Joint Commission. This ensures that the facility meets certain standards for providing services and engaging in professional practice. Additionally, staff at these facilities must be licensed, certified, or registered as appropriate for their respective professions.12

Rehab centers seeking to become in-network providers for VA insurance must also demonstrate compliance with ethical standards outlined by HIPAA and other applicable laws and regulations related to patient privacy and safety. This ensures that veterans will receive high-quality care that is ethical, professional and safe.12

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a private network of rehabilitation facilities that are in-network with the VA. From Desert Hope, a treatment facility in Las Vegas, NV, to Recovery First in Hollywood, FL, treatment-seeking veterans can find the specialized SUD treatment they need.

Types of Addiction Treatment That VA Health Benefits May Cover 

The VA Health Benefits may provide coverage for the following SUD treatments, although this depends heavily on the treatment-seeking individual’s particular circumstances and eligibility criteria.13

  • Inpatient or Residential: Inpatient or residential addiction treatment is designed to provide 24/7 care in a secure environment. During this type of treatment, individuals receive therapy and participate in group activities while living at the facility for extended periods of time.13
  • Partial Hospitalization (PHP): PHPs are intensive outpatient treatments that provide more clinical supervision than traditional outpatient programs. PHP puts an emphasis on medication management, with individuals attending treatment five days per week for 4-6 hours each day. Individuals typically receive individualized treatment plans based on their personal needs and goals.13
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): IOPs are less intense versions of PHPs, typically offered 3-4 days per week for 2-4 hours each day. IOPs provide support for individuals who require more structure than traditional outpatient treatments but don’t require full-time residential care.13
  • Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient SUD treatments offer fewer hours of therapy than partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient programs but provide more flexibility since individuals can continue to work and attend school. Outpatient services usually include individual counseling sessions along with group meetings focused on relapse prevention techniques.13
  • Therapy: Therapy is an important part of many different types of SUD treatments. In both inpatient and outpatient settings, treatment-seeking individuals may be able to participate in counseling sessions that allow them to talk openly about their thoughts and feelings related to recovery. They may also learn to develop new coping mechanisms when faced with triggers or difficult situations in everyday life.13

Do VA Health Benefits Cover Mental Health Treatment? 

Whether it’s PTSD that stems from service-related trauma or another mental health condition like depression, the VA will provide resources and coverage for those who need it. Under the law, certain elements of the treatment will be covered by the VA if the struggling veteran or their spouse are eligible for VA benefits.13,15

This may include counseling and psychotherapy sessions, hospital stays related to mental health issues and medication. To learn more about VA benefits regarding mental health treatment, treatment-seeking veterans can contact their local Veterans Affairs Medical Centers where staff members are available to answer questions and provide assistance.13,15

How Much of the Rehab Cost Does VA Health Benefits Cover? 

VA benefits can provide a great deal of assistance for struggling veterans and their spouses seeking treatment for SUDs. Based on eligibility, the VA may work with veterans to partially or fully cover the cost of rehabilitation expenses. While certain treatments may be covered in their entirety, others may only have partial coverage depending on the type of care needed and the treatment-seeking veteran’s specific circumstances. Veterans and their spouses can check with the VA to understand their specific coverage when seeking rehabilitative care for their SUD.6,11

What Should I Do If the VA does not cover substance abuse treatment?

If the VA doesn’t cover SUD treatment, treatment-seeking veterans and their spouses may still have options available. It’s important to contact your local VA to identify other services and resources that can be accessed. Many organizations in communities offer free or low-cost counseling and drug rehabilitation programs that may provide assistance and support.11

One of the options is to look into the Veteran Community Care (VCC) program. Through this program, treatment-seeking veterans may be connected with private providers who can offer sliding scale fees and other cost-reduction arrangements. These services may sometimes be offered as an alternate source of care for issues not covered by the VA.16

How to Apply for Veterans’ Spouse Benefits? 

There are two ways for veterans’ spouses or other dependents to apply for VA benefits:7

  • If applying for the first time, veterans may request extra compensation for their dependents.
  • If a veteran is already receiving VA benefits and they have a combined disability rating of at least 30%, their dependents already have the right to extra compensation.

Finding VA Benefits Insurance Rehab Coverage 7

It’s important for veterans seeking to find the right rehabilitation facility and program to ensure that their VA benefits insurance covers the cost prior to booking. To fully understand what treatments are covered and what their options are, treatment-seeking veterans may contact the VA, call AAC’s helpline directly or fill out an SSVOB form to begin the process.

Treatment-seeking individuals can benefit from discussing their options and circumstances with one of AAC’s experienced rehab navigators. The navigator may help the treatment-seeking individual find information about what the admission looks like and how to prepare for admission. The navigator can also help struggling individuals find specific programs such as men-only treatment or rehabilitation for struggling couples, or even supervised detoxification from opioids. Once the treatment-seeking individual has verified their insurance and VA eligibility, they can be admitted to a facility with the help of a compassionate admissions team.

Frequently Asked Questions