State Funded Rehabs for Veterans
One of the biggest barriers to getting help with conquering drug addiction is money. Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that addiction services be covered, some private rehab facilities remain out of reach for uninsured and low-income individuals.
Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and the Military
Drug use and SUD rates among active-duty service members and military veterans are high in relation to the ratio of military personnel and the civilian population. The government admits that the issue is real and is actively working to address the problem.
For example, one among many research-based proposals is to combine SUD treatment with treatment for PTSD. Another is to add a drug and alcohol assessment tool to their website.
Substance Use Disorders, Withdrawal, and Rehab
Drug or alcohol dependence and addiction affect your brain but in different ways. Dependence is characterized by developing a tolerance for drugs or alcohol that requires the user to consume more of the substance over time to get the same high. Use disorders are classified as continued use despite negative consequences, such as legal or relationship problems.
Signs that you have AUD/SUD include:
- Drinking or using more, or more often, than you intend
- Inability to stop or control use despite repeated attempts
- Work or relationship problems
- Legal or financial problems
- Lying about or hiding use
- Neglecting people or responsibilities in order to use or because of use
One of the problems with getting help for substance use disorders is the pain and discomfort of withdrawal. The presence of withdrawal symptoms is one of the signs that you may have a substance use problem.
Although there are variations between types of drugs used, symptoms generally include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleep disturbances
- Slowed activity levels
- Drug or alcohol cravings
The armed services have created guidelines to help cope with substance withdrawal symptoms that include approved medications to help with symptoms.
The best way to deal with drug or alcohol misuse and related disorders is to seek professional help and support. Fortunately, there are publicly funded options that make treatment accessible to anyone who needs care. One such solution is the creation of state-funded rehab centers.
What Are State-Funded Rehabs?
State-funded drug rehab is available in every U.S. state. It’s a public option that is funded through a combination of state taxes, federal grants, and donations. These programs are also covered if the individual is eligible for VA health benefits or is already enrolled in the Medicaid program for their state.
Although access is usually restricted to those who are already in the system, such as incarcerated individuals and families who qualify for assistance through their local social service agency, veterans and others who meet income guidelines may still qualify for free or low-cost care.
Public rehabilitation programs offer many of the same services as private institutions. These include sober living facilities, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programs. However, the number of people needing services in relation to funds available to cover the cost of treatment means that access may be prioritized in order from the most to least severe cases. If your treatment is deemed medically necessary due to concurrent, serious health complications, you’ll be at the front of the line for publicly funded addiction treatment services.
The rather long waiting lists are among the disadvantages of government-funded rehab programs. Other drawbacks include bare-bones services and few amenities. You may be able to qualify for inpatient treatment, but you’ll be housed in a hospital setting rather than the home-like environment of a private treatment center.
There are also fewer staff members in relation to the number of clients needing care, and the programs are of a shorter duration. The qualifications and other information regarding services and eligibility by state are listed here.
In comparison, the average stay in a private facility is between 60 and 90 days. At a state-funded facility, you’ll likely receive 30 days or less of inpatient care.
Although this is not considered optimal in terms of long-term recovery potential, it’s a good start. Thirty days are enough time to detoxify from drugs or alcohol, stabilize your brain chemistry, and work with a therapist to discover the root of your addictions. You can follow up care with outpatient services and get additional support through a 12-step program. These are also free and open to all.
There are several other advantages to entering a state-funded rehab.
Benefits of Entering State-Funded Drug Treatment Programs
The first and most important advantage is that these programs are free and open to all who need them. As long as you qualify for a rehab program, you’ll have options. Since there are programs available in each state, finding a treatment facility close to home is easier.
Depending on where you live, that’s not always true with private treatment centers. If you live in a rural area, sometimes your only option lies in another county or state. That can make things difficult if you need help and have limited funds or want to try outpatient care. If you have family, school, or work obligations that would make inpatient care difficult, it’s important to find help that’s closer to home.
Options for Low- or No-Cost Drug Rehab
Having a public option removes some of the main barriers to drug rehab, which are cost and proximity. However, the length of stay and available options are often dictated by where you live, available funding, and the number of people waiting for treatment.
On a more positive note, access to professional help of any duration puts you on the road to long-term recovery and supports relapse prevention.
The types of rehab available through state funding are generally the same as you’ll find at private rehabilitation centers. They both require accreditation and oversight through a governing body, and they offer the same types of services to varying degrees.
The ACA specifies that Medicaid and Medicare, along with private insurers, must pay for drug rehab and mental health services. Eligibility for Medicaid varies from state to state. If you’re indigent and/or homeless but not receiving Medicaid, there are still options available for care and treatment. However, some programs might require you to pay for part of your treatment.
There are some rehabs that are completely free, though. These are usually created through grants, scholarships, and through donations to non-profits and faith-based organizations. Here are the types of free or reduced-cost rehab facilities and a general overview of available services at each.
Public Outpatient and Inpatient Treatment Programs
Outpatient treatment is usually accessible through your community mental health services program or social services department. If you’re receiving government assistance, your caseworker can help you find outpatient care in your area.
This treatment option usually runs two to five days a week, and sessions can be as short as two hours a day or as long as six hours. Programs include education on substance misuse, and clients can sign up for day or evening classes. This level of flexibility is what makes outpatient rehab such a good option for those who are unable to attend an inpatient or residential program.
During your initial evaluation for the rehab program, you may also be assessed for co-occurring conditions like PTSD, depression, or medical problems associated with substance use disorders. If any signs of a health or mental health disorder are evident, you’ll be referred to the appropriate care provider to enter treatment for those conditions.
Most states also have state-funded inpatient rehab programs. However, there’s a chance that you may have to join a waiting list. Inpatient care requires a stay in a facility for a set number of days in order to successfully complete the course of treatment. You’re able to remain in a sober environment around the clock with limited interaction with people and no outside stressors or triggers.
These programs typically run for about 30 days, during which you’ll have access to medically assisted detox, dual diagnosis treatment with a licensed therapist, and peer-to-peer group therapy. Alternative treatments, such as art and music therapy, may or may not be included. It depends on the availability of funding, which varies from program to program and state to state.
Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Drug Rehab
Active-duty military personnel and veterans have additional resources available for mental health care, including drug and alcohol rehab. These are arranged through the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, which provides several options.
If you have a primary care physician with the VA, you can get screening and a referral for substance use disorder treatment. If you’re without a PCP or have no history with VA medical services, you can contact their local VA medical center or search the VeteransRehab website for information about a community-based rehab program for veterans in your area.
Programs are in place for veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, or Operation Iraqi Freedom. You can contact their local VA coordinator for these operations to obtain information for rehab services and dual diagnosis treatment for combat-related conditions.
Veterans who don’t have VA health care benefits and individuals who are homeless or experiencing housing insecurity can still receive services through the VA. There are more than 300 community-based veterans centers throughout the United States that also provide free counseling and AUD/SUD screenings for combat veterans.
Additionally, the VA has created programs to provide services for homeless veterans and those without VA health care benefits. Even if you aren’t qualified for care at a VA medical or drug treatment facility, they can still direct you to free or low-cost rehab and other services in your locality.
Completely free options, 12-step programs have been around for decades and continue to help millions of people every day. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Al-Anon provide support and resources for those who are struggling with substance use disorders and their families.
These programs are confidential, effective, and available in almost every city and town in the United States as well as overseas. Meetings are held during days or evenings at schools, churches, community centers, and local public libraries. Wherever you live, chances are that there’s an AA or NA meeting near you.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups offer you a chance to interact with others who share your struggle. Group sponsors provide mentorship, peer support, and someone to call when you need it most. By joining a 12-step program, you can maintain your sobriety after completing a rehab program or find help to begin recovery while you’re waiting for space to open up at an addiction treatment center.
Do Veterans Qualify for State Funded Rehab?
Anyone who meets the criteria for substance use disorder and income guidelines qualifies for government-funded drug rehab and other mental health services. Although guidelines can vary depending on the state and individual facilities, qualifications for state-funded rehab generally include:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship and residence in that state
- Family size
- Proof of income, including SSI or unemployment compensation
- Health insurance coverage (or verification that you lack insurance)
Regardless of whether you’re a veteran receiving care at a private facility or you’re staying at a state-sponsored treatment center, your services are confidential in most cases. There are exceptions for emergencies such as public health situations and providers’ belief that clients intend to harm themselves.
Where to Find Help for Substance Use Disorder
When you or someone you love needs help to overcome substance use disorder, we’re ready to help. At VeteransRehab.org, our main goal is to connect active-duty military, veterans, and families with resources for mental health issues.
Contact us today to learn more about state-funded rehab options for low-income veterans.