Elderly Veterans Must Move After VA Mistake

Oct 27, 2013

Some elderly veterans in Connecticut may not want to move out of a place they've called home for several years, said a Congressional delegation.
Credit SSgt Brittany Jones / Creative Commons

An audit found a big mistake by the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Twenty-three veterans in Connecticut have been living at retirement homes, and the VA has been paying for them to reside there. But according to the VA, it's only authorized to pay for skilled nursing care. Retirement homes or assisted living facilities are not covered.

The veterans were notified in letters earlier this month telling them the payments would stop at the end of the year. Connecticut's representatives to the U.S. House believe the VA should make an exception.

This week, they sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, asking him to reverse VA Connecticut's decision. The letter from Congressmen Jim Himes, Joe Courtney, John Larson, Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty asked the VA Secretary to authorize payments for the veterans to remain at the rest homes if they choose.

The VA discovered it was erroneously making the payments since 2001. The delegation said this error was the "sole responsibility" of the VA, which combined contracts associated with placement in these homes with contracted community nursing homes. They also said that the VA continued to offer contracts to the rest homes until last year.

In the letter sent to one of the veterans, the VA told the residents they can be relocated to a contracted community nursing home at the VA's expense, or remain in their current rest home -- but if that's the case, they would have to pay on their own. The delegation said some of the veterans may not want to move out of a place that they've called home for several years, and that it wouldn't be in the best interest of their mental or physical well-being.