Military veterans living in state-run nursing homes will now have to pay a fee for care.
It’s part of new legislation signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal.
Up until now, the state has provided public nursing-home services at no cost to veterans. And by filing for a federal VA benefit, veterans receive about $23 a day meant to go toward their daily nursing home care. But since Georgia is the only state that does not levy the charge, veterans have been able to pocket that cash. Starting late this fall, Georgia will charge the equivalent of that $23 to cover the cost of care.
Dan Holtz with the Department of Veterans service says the state will use the new funds to expand the number of veterans receiving care at the two state run nursing homes in Augusta and Milledgeville:
“We could get additional patients, reopen the building closed in Milledgeville, increase the census in Augusta and we’d be able to treat more veterans and provide more care to the folks who really need it.”
Thomas Marshburn is a Gulf War veteran living at the state-run nursing home in Milledgeville. He says he understands the importance of the fee, but he’ll have to re-work his budget to afford the new expense:
“I feel like we should have to pay something, matter of fact, I was quite surprised when I came here I didn’t have to pay anything. I just I felt like they should have given us more warning. It’s going to hurt, but I’m going to have to cut back somewhere else.”
Residents of the state’s two veteran homes received a memo from the Georgia Commissioner of Veterans Service about the law and the new fee last week.