Medical Benefits for VA Spouses: Coverage for Therapy and Rehab Treatment

Learn more about medical benefits for veterans and their spouses, and how you can find rehab and therapy coverage for substance use disorders.

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Veterans often suffer from a wide variety of physical, mental, and emotional health issues due to their service in the armed forces. One of the most common problems that veterans face is substance abuse. Unfortunately, this can lead to a variety of serious consequences, such as homelessness, unemployment, and legal trouble. It can also lead to broken families, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and physical health problems.1

Drinking large amounts of alcohol on a continual basis leads to an abuse disorder. Alcohol is regularly the primary substance that veterans rely upon, Yet, it’s not unusual for them to be struggling with both drugs and alcohol simultaneously, making their addiction more intricate and challenging to treat effectively.2

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes the importance of providing a comprehensive range of healthcare services to veterans and their spouses, including therapy and rehabilitation services for substance abuse. VA spouses are also eligible to receive medical benefits that cover therapy and rehabilitation treatment for substance abuse.3

What Are VA Spouse Benefits?

VA disability benefits provide financial and healthcare support to those who qualify. To access the Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program, veterans must either be enrolled in or meet specific criteria for acceptance into the VA health care system defined by law.4

VA spouse benefits provide financial assistance and other services to the spouses of veterans who have been disabled, killed in action, or otherwise died while serving in the military. These benefits are designed to help surviving spouses and families of veterans who have made sacrifices in service to their country.4

Elderly or surviving spouses of veterans may also be eligible for certain benefits. These benefits are provided to the legal spouses of service members and veterans with a disability rating or need for regular care that are rated at 30% or more by the VA.4

Will VA Cover Rehab Addiction Treatment for Spouses?

For veterans who qualify, VA benefits may be supplemented by adding a dependent, spouse, child, or parent for more compensation. In certain cases, the Veterans Administration can also cover addiction treatment expenses of spouses.5 

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of services to provide assistance to veterans and their families in dealing with addiction. The VA provides both residential and outpatient treatment services, including medically-supervised detoxification, medications to manage withdrawal symptoms, individual and group counseling, and education about addiction.6

The VA may also provide support for spouses who are not veterans but are dealing with an addiction. This can include individual counseling and support groups to help the spouse manage their addiction and learn healthier coping skills. In addition, the VA may provide financial assistance to help spouses pay for treatment.5

What Are the Benefits Veterans Spouses Can Receive?

Veterans’ spouses may receive a variety of benefits, depending on their circumstances. These can include health care coverage through the VA, insurance for dependents, education assistance, and access to VA-sponsored programs. This assistance can be invaluable in helping spouses adjust to life with an impaired veteran partner.4 

To qualify for VA benefits, spouses must meet specific criteria. The requirements vary according to the type of benefit. Generally, these involve demonstrating financial need and having an ongoing marital relationship with a veteran who meets VA eligibility.5

If a spouse does not qualify for TRICARE’s substance abuse treatment program, they may be able to receive health insurance coverage through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA). This could open up many pathways towards recovery and sustainable wellbeing.7,8

This program is exclusively intended for surviving spouses of veterans who are disabled or have passed away while serving their country in active duty.8

Substance Abuse Treatment Benefits Eligibility for Veterans Spouse

A veteran’s spouse may qualify for substance abuse treatment, if their partner has been approved for disability benefits due to an injury sustained or exacerbated by active-duty service. To be eligible for extra disability compensation benefits for their partner and other dependents, veterans must have obtained a total combined disability rating of at least 30%.6

Disabled Veterans’ Spouses

Disabled veterans’ spouses may be eligible to receive an array of VA benefits, such as:9

  • Disability compensation.
  • Survivors’ benefits.
  • Health care.
  • Insurance coverage.
  • Employee services.
  • Training and education.

Surviving Spouses

VA benefits for a surviving spouse may include a broad range of advantages and privileges, such as:9

  • The Department of Defense’s TRICARE program
  • Health care through the CHAMPVA program.
  • Disability-related programs connected to Veterans services.

Divorced Spouses

Ex-partners of veterans are eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP), which is essentially TRICARE’s Continuation of Health Coverage plan. This benefit may be used up to three years following a veteran’s discharge date.10

To remain eligible for life on CHCBP, a divorced veteran’s spouse must satisfy two stipulations: stay unmarried and be granted a share of military retirement.10

Do Only In-Network Rehab Centers Accept VA Insurance?

The VA has established a network of rehab centers across the country that provide comprehensive care to veterans, including physical therapy. Veterans can be referred to these in-network VA rehab centers by their VA primary care doctor or a specialist within the VA health system. In-network rehab centers must meet certain standards of quality and follow specific guidelines established by the VA to provide quality care for veterans.11

Qualifying for VA health care grants access to a myriad of medical services that contribute to an individual’s recovery and well-being. Just as with any other form of insurance, obtaining treatment from in-network rehabilitation centers is typically much more cost-effective than those outside the provider’s network.11

American Addiction Centers boasts two facilities in-network with VA: Desert Hope, located in Las Vegas, NV, and Recovery First, situated in Hollywood, FL. These specialized locations specialize in serving veterans’ unique needs.

Types of Substance Abuse Treatment VA Health Benefits May Cover

VA health benefits may cover a wide array of different substance abuse treatment programs, including:12

  • Detox: These services provide medically-supervised withdrawal from drugs and/or alcohol in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Short-term inpatient treatment: These programs are designed to provide intensive and supportive therapy over a period of one month or less.
  • Long-term inpatient treatment: These programs provide more comprehensive and intensive therapy over a period of several months.
  • Partial Hospitalization (PHP): These programs provide intensive treatment during the day, and patients return home at night.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Patients in these programs typically attend at least nine hours of therapy per week, and sessions may include individual, group and family counseling.
  • Outpatient treatment: These programs are designed to provide individual and group therapy on a weekly basis in an outpatient environment.
  • Aftercare: After the primary care phase of treatment is complete most programs offer ongoing support and aftercare.  This may include drug testing, counseling, and peer support groups.

Do VA Health Benefits Provide Coverage for Mental Health Treatment Facilities?

VA health benefits provide coverage for mental health treatment, including treatment of dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Eligible veterans may receive mental health care through the VA if they have a mental disorder caused or aggravated by their military service.12 

This includes depression, substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues. The VA offers a wide range of mental health services, including counseling, group therapy, medication management, and other treatments.13

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

Veterans in need of substance-abuse treatment often depend on their insurance to pay for the associated costs. However, complimentary VA health care is only available if an illness or injury can be attributed to a service member’s active duty military service.4

For veterans who are living on a restricted budget, investing in private treatment services is not always possible. Fortunately, if one qualifies for VA health benefits and has been approved, the costs of therapy will be partially or fully covered by VA, making recovery much more accessible. Inpatient care can be expensive but also delivers far greater chances of success when compared to outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs.11,12

At the beginning of treatment, detoxification is a crucial step that ensures recovering individuals pass through withdrawal safely and smoothly. When medically supervised and assisted with proper medication, this process can be conducted in a secure environment.14

What to Do if VA Doesn’t Cover Substance Abuse Treatment?

Substance abuse that persists over time leads to a substance use disorder, an unrelenting and recurrent condition where individuals compulsively seek out drugs even if they know the consequences can be dire. Rehabilitation programs designed around successful treatment tactics help people with addiction issues conquer it and keep it at bay.12 

Many veterans must turn to VA benefits in order to cover the expenses of treatment, as costs can be quite high. Fortunately, TRICARE and other U.S. military healthcare programs may provide coverage for certain treatments related to substance abuse issues.7

If a patient doesn’t feel that their specific mental health needs aren’t being addressed by the VA or are not covered, it’s critical to know they have other options to seek treatment. Many veterans have found success with private mental health providers, especially when it comes to treating substance abuse disorders. Private providers offer a range of treatment options that the VA may not cover, such as inpatient or residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and specialized services for co-occurring disorders.

Veterans can also contact community health centers, state and local behavioral health agencies, or nonprofit organizations that provide substance abuse treatment and other mental health services. These organizations often offer sliding fee scales or provide free care to veterans, so it is important to ask about financial assistance or eligibility requirements if you are interested in pursuing this route.11

How Do I Apply for VA Spouse Benefits?

Dependents have two ways to apply for benefits – both spouses and direct family of veterans can take advantage of this valuable resource:6 

  • Veterans who are applying for benefits for the first time also have an opportunity to request extra compensation on behalf of their dependents.
  • If a veteran already receives benefits with a combined disability rating that equals 30% or more, then any of the veterans’ dependents will be automatically eligible for additional compensation.

How to Find VA Benefits Insurance for Rehab Coverage

The VA provides veterans with an array of advantages, from mental and physical health care to monthly disability checks. Before deciding on a rehab center or program, it’s essential to double-check the coverage levels and in-network treatment options.6 

To ensure you are making an informed decision, contact a provider such as American Addiction Centers for more information. The admissions navigator team is available via a tailored hotline to assist those seeking treatment in researching their payment options and evaluating whether or not their insurance covers detoxification and rehabilitation services.6

Frequently Asked Questions