VA Spouse Medical Benefits: Coverage for Rehab and Therapy Treatment
With all the stressors that veterans must deal with over the course of their career, it’s not surprising that they would face struggles with mental health and substance use issues. Approximately 1.3 million people over the age of 18 have a substance use disorder.1(p4) Of this number, veterans used the following substances: 1(p4)
- 343,000 veterans struggled with the misuse of illicit drugs.
- 1 million veterans struggled with alcohol misuse issues.
- 98,000 veterans had issues with both illicit substances and alcohol.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is run by the federal government, and it administers benefit programs for veterans, their families, and their survivors.2 Some of these benefits include education, disability compensation, a pension, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivor support, medical care, rehab services, and burial benefits.2
What is the VA and Benefits for Spouses?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to those who had gone to war.3 The promise was that veterans would be cared for, honored, and served.3 To help carry out that goal, the VA has 4 primary entities. These are:3
- Veterans Health Care: This provides healthcare benefits for veterans.
- Veterans Benefits: Through this program, veterans have access to a range of benefits.
- National Cemeteries: Veterans have dignity in burial.
- The Fourth Mission: This program involves improving the response to war and terrorism.
A VA spouse also has access to certain benefits, healthcare, and privileges.4
Does VA Cover Rehab Treatment (Addiction Treatment) for Spouses?
Veteran spouses may qualify for the same benefits that a veteran receives.4 Some of these benefits include healthcare.4
Under the umbrella of healthcare for veterans and their families is substance abuse treatment, including a range of treatment options.5
What Benefits Do Veterans Spouses Receive?
Veterans and their spouses receive a variety of services and benefits. Some of these VA spouse benefits include:6
- Medical benefits for current injuries and illnesses.
- Preventive medical treatment.
- Services that assist your ability to function.
- Services that improve your quality of life.
Veterans Spouse Benefits Eligibility for Substance Abuse Treatment
You may be eligible for VA benefits as a spouse if your husband or wife served in the active military, naval, or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.7 However, if your spouse enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered after October 16, 1981, there are further criteria that may apply to your situation.7 You can verify insurance benefits with a rehab facility if you’re unsure about your spouse’s exact dates of service or active-duty status.
Spouses of Disabled Veterans
Many times, veterans survive the conflicts of war but come back to their spouses with grave, disabling injuries. If you’re a spouse to a disabled veteran, you may wonder whether you’re eligible for any benefits in this case.
Veterans who become disabled in the line of combat or who have a condition that gets worse due to their service are eligible to receive benefits as mentioned above.8 Their spouses and other dependents also have all the rights to these benefits.8
Whether your spouse died in the line of duty or passed away from another cause, you have the benefits of a surviving spouse.9 VA death benefits for spouses include the categories discussed, such as healthcare, substance use treatment, and more.9
After a divorce, VA benefits for a veteran’s spouse may change significantly. Depending on how many years you were married and which health insurance you have, you may continue to receive benefits.10 During divorce proceedings, the couple can decide to designate the spouse as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary. 10
If you were receiving TRICARE insurance, you may be able to continue that coverage after a divorce if you were married at least 20 years, the veteran has 20 years of service or more, you haven’t remarried, and you haven’t enrolled in an employer-sponsored health plan. 10
Do Rehab Centers Need To Be In-Network to Accept VA Insurance?
Working with an in-network rehab facility will save you when it comes to out-of-pocket costs. Many substance abuse treatment centers work with the VA to provide veterans with quality care for a drug or alcohol addiction. American Addiction Centers (AAC) has several top-rated treatment centers across the country that are in-network with the VA. In addition, some AAC facilities specialize in caring for veteran needs. These centers include:
- Desert Hope Treatment Center in Las Vegas, NV
- Greenhouse Treatment Center in Grand Prairie, TX
- River Oaks Treatment Center in Riverview, FL
- Oxford Treatment Center in Oxford, MS
- Sunrise House Treatment Center in Lafayette Township, NJ
- Recovery First Treatment Center in Hollywood, FL
Types of Addiction Treatment That VA Health Benefits May Cover
Participating in a substance use treatment program through the VA may cover any of the following programs:
- Detox treatment: Detox consists of going through withdrawal from whatever substance you are currently reliant on. In a detox program, you will have medical monitoring and may be given medication.11
- Inpatient or residential rehab treatment: An inpatient program involves staying in a residential setting with close supervision by medical staff. You may stay for up to 12 months or until you are ready to move to the next level down. During this time, you will participate in therapy.12(long)
- Outpatient rehab treatment: At an outpatient treatment program, you will attend less often than any of the other programs, indicating that you are far along in the recovery process. You will meet for therapy about once a week. 13(outpatient)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): An IOP is also an outpatient program, but it is more intense. It consists of several hours of therapy a week.14
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): A PHP takes place in a hospital-like setting, but you return to your own home at night. It’s similar to an inpatient program.15
- Evidence-based therapy: There are several types of behavioral therapies that you will have access to during your treatment in a VA substance abuse treatment center. These are evidence-based and serve to provide you with the tools to make long-term changes.16
Does VA Health Benefits Cover Mental Health Treatment Facilities?
A mental health disorder may co-occur with substance misuse. Additionally, veterans may struggle with mental health conditions due to being in service. You can get mental health treatment for conditions, such as:17
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Bipolar disorder.
Your VA benefits may cover dual diagnosis treatment. Make sure to discuss your options with an admissions navigator. They can verify the extent of your coverage.
How Much of the Rehab Cost Does VA Health Benefits Cover?
How much your VA health benefits will cover depends on several factors and can vary from person to person. It may depend on the rehab facility you choose and the level of service you need.
What Should I Do if the VA Does Not Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?
If you find out that the VA does not cover your substance use treatment or doesn’t cover all of it, you can check for additional options with the rehab facility directly. Some rehab centers will provide financial aid or offer scholarships for those who qualify.
How To Apply for Veterans’ Spouse Benefits
To get started with the process of receiving veteran benefits, surviving spouses can fill out an application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21P-534EZ).18
Finding VA Benefits Insurance Rehab Coverage
Before moving forward with rehab treatment, you should check your benefits to ensure that you have coverage. You can do that by filling out the form below, or you can contact the rehab facility directly, and an admissions navigator will verify your insurance instantly.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Veteran adults.
- gov. (n.d.). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021). About VA.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021). VA benefits for spouses, dependents, survivors, and family caregivers.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). Substance use treatment for veterans.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021). About VA health benefits.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). Eligibility for VA health care.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). VA disability.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). About VA DIC for spouses, dependents, and parents.
- com. (2022). Military benefits after divorce.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA). (2019). What happens next?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Types of treatment programs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Treatment approaches for drug addiction DrugFacts.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Clinical issues in intensive outpatient treatment for substance use disorders.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Treatment settings.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). Substance use treatment.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022). Mental health.
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2022) Veterans benefits administration.