The Bluegrass State is home to more than 331,000 veterans and their families, and for Kentucky veterans, many resources and services are available to make life healthier and more enjoyable. The Commonwealth of Kentucky has committed to honoring its veterans, and has put in place numerous resources and support services to make sure those who served are properly thanked for their sacrifices.
If you’re not sure where to start in accessing your benefits, or those of your spouse or parent, a good place to start is the Kentucky Department of Veteran Affairs (KDVA). This office provides professional, free assistance to veterans in obtaining and using federal and state benefits to which they are entitled. Their accredited experts help veterans and their dependents make successful claims for benefits such as access to veterans nursing homes, burial with honors in veterans cemeteries, counseling, and assistance for homeless and women veterans. The KDVA runs 18 Field Offices strategically located throughout the state with Veterans Benefits Field Representatives located within each nursing home and one at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West in Hopkinsville.
Veterans in Kentucky have access to VA healthcare through three different VA Medical Centers and 21 local Community-Based Outreach Clinics (CBOC) and outpatient clinics. Each of the VA Medical Centers has a patient advocate on staff, and any difficulties you encounter may most likely be resolved through their help.
The Lexington VA Medical Center has two divisions and serves more than 83,000 Lexington-area veterans. The Leestown Division, located at 2250 Leestown Road, offers inpatient Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse treatment, nursing home care, hospice and respite services, home based primary care, prosthetics and orthotics, geriatrics, optometry, mental health as well as primary care and women’s health. The Cooper Division, located at 1101 Veterans Drive, offers emergency care, inpatient medical-surgical care, acute psychiatry, intensive and progressive care units, ambulatory surgery, medicine and surgery specialty clinics, and hemodialysis. The medical center is designated as a Polytrauma Site, where a team of experts treats severely injured soldiers.
The Robley Rex VA Medical Center is located at 800 Zorn Avenue in Lousiville and provides services to more than 150,000 veterans living in a 35-county area of the Kentuckiana area. In 2012, the Center was named as one of the nation’s top performers on key quality measures by The Joint Commission, the leading U.S. accreditor of health care organizations, for its 95 percent performance thresholds for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.
Seniors looking for housing options for their golden years have many quality choices – including senior communities in the larger cities like Louisville and Lexington. Additionally, the state operates three veterans housing centers. Veterans must be Kentucky residents with an other-than-dishonorable discharge to be admitted, and costs are based on the veteran’s ability to pay.
- Eastern Kentucky Veterans’ Center in Hazard, KY
- Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, KY
- Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, KY
A fourth new 120-bed State Veteran Home is opening soon (early 2017) in Radcliff, and will incorporate the Community Living model of smaller “households,” each housing 10 veterans and featuring an enclosed courtyard and covered porch, and all private rooms and private baths, country style kitchen/dining area, along with a relaxing great room.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky also offers additional benefits that are helpful to veterans and their families, including:
- Military retirement pay is tax-exempt if a veteran retired before January 1, 1998, and partially exempt if he or she retired after December 31, 1997.
- Waiver of tuition for dependents of certain veterans (deceased or disabled Kentucky residents), meaning a student may attend, for free, any two- or four-year schools or vocational technical schools funded by the Kentucky Department of Education.
- Discounted hunting, trapping, or fishing licenses for Kentucky veterans with 50% of more service-connected disability.
- Free interment services in one of the state’s four veteran cemeteries.
Written By Megan Hammons