As a veteran, you are eligible for healthcare from the US government. In this article by Respect Caregivers editorial staff, we explore how to apply for VA health care including eligibility criteria and procedures.
Veterans get health care benefits from the Veterans Health Administration (VA). The Veterans Health Administration is the most extensive combined health care system in the US, containing more than 1,700 medical centers and clinics to help American veterans and their families.
To receive the benefits from the VA, veterans have to follow specific procedures. In this article, you can learn these procedures and apply them.
How To Apply for VA Health Care
Any veteran with a military service past can apply for health care benefits from the VA. A person should have served in the military and parted from it with valid reason except for dishonorable discharge.
People who have completed their entire period of service for the National Guard or National Reserve are also qualified to apply for it.
To apply for VA medical benefits, a person should hold these documents and submit them to the care system, including:
- Proof of discharge from the military. You can submit a DD-214 document for it.
- You will need information about your finances such as wages or salary. You may have to submit the document containing you or your spouse’s gross income.
- You will need information about your additional health insurance. You can submit coverage through domestic insurance or any other coverage that you receive through your spouse.
- Document of your most recent tax return.
To enroll and apply for VA Form 1010EZ to receive medical benefits from Veteran Administration, you must qualify and complete these things in your application, including:
- You can apply by phone. Try calling toll-free 877-222-8387.
- You can apply online by visiting the VA website.
- You can also apply for it in person. You can visit the local VA center, obtain the application there, and submit it after filling in the details attached with necessary information documents.
After veterans apply and receive the approval the enrollment from VA, they should follow these procedures including:
- You should wait for some time to receive a welcome call from the VA. You can get necessary information about their health programs, the person who will call you explained about providing assistance in scheduling appointments with your doctor. They will also provide you with any potential questions about the programs and health care benefits.
- After applying for VA benefits, you can review the Veterans Health Benefits Handbook that you will get in your mail. The handbook can answer your most questions and help you understand a bit more about the program. It also includes information regarding particular health care benefits programs.
- You should obtain a VHIC or Veterans Health Identification Card, veterans use this card for ID, and it is necessary to check in for your health care appointments at medical centers of VA. You can receive the card from the local VA or contact your enrollment coordinator.
- Veterans can request their first appointment. You can try attending the first VA doctor’s appointment after receiving an email about it. You can request it when you apply for benefits. You can also request it on your welcoming call.
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What Benefits Are Available to Veterans?
Most veterans apply for VA health care benefits after knowing the different benefits they can get; some benefits include:
- Long term care
- Medical equipment
- Prevention care
- Prescription medication
- Home health care
- Primary and specialty care
- Hearing and vision benefits
- TBI rehabilitation
- Treatment for PTSD
- Substance abuse treatment
- Dental care
Who Is Eligible for the Basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans?
Veterans such as armed force members who served active duty or full-time National Guard duty can apply for the primary medical benefits.
VA offers many different services and programs for other people such as women, disabled people, injured people, or service members.
Other people such as disabled surviving spouses or children of military servicing members are also eligible for the VA benefits.
People apply for benefits by mail, in person, or with the help of a trained professional.
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How Do I Prepare Before I Start My Application?
Before you apply for VA benefits, you will need to find out your eligibility for VA health care benefits. You have to gather the following necessary information that you will need at the time of filing your application for VA benefits, including:
- Your military discharge papers.
- You may need social security numbers for your spouse or partner, children, and yourself.
- You will need gross household income for your spouse, your children, and yourself from the previous calendar year. You should also collect the papers, including information about your income from a job. Gross household income is an income of a person without any tax or other deduction.
- Insurance card information if you have any. You may need to provide coverage details from any insurance company like Medicare.
- You will need Deductible expense information for your past years. You may also have to provide the educational cost and specific health care cost details.
How Are Costs and Benefits Determined?
The disability rating of veterans decides the cost of VA benefits. The different costs help the most needed person to get benefits first. If veterans have a disability rate of 50% and above, their VA medical care is free.
If you have a disability rate of less than 50%, you may be responsible for a specific copay for your benefits program. The VA receives a limited amount of funding which is why it is difficult to provide benefits to each veteran. The VA prioritizes veterans who need the most benefits.
The VA divides the veterans’ group into eight Priority Groups including:
- Priority Group 1: In this group, veterans with a disability connection with military service or duty have a rating of 50 or higher. You can get this priority If the VA determines you as a person who can not work due to disabilities or injuries gained from military service.
- Priority Group 2: The VA determines veterans with a disability connected with their service have ratings between 30% to 40% as the Priority Group 2.
- Priority Group 3: In this group, the VA prioritizes veterans as former Prisoners of War, veterans with a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor, Veterans with a discharge from the military because of disability, or veterans with disability rating between 10% to 20%.
- Priority Group 4: In this group, the VA places veterans with aid and attendance benefits or household assistance.
- Priority Group 5: The VA determines veterans who do not have a disability related to service as group 5 and provides them VA pension benefits.
- Priority Group 6: In this group, the veterans have zero disability rating connected to military service. However, it includes veterans who served in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
- Priority Group 7: The VA places veterans with a gross household income less than the set limit determined by VA.
- Priority Group 8: The VA places veterans with a gross household income above the set limit determined by VA.
Veterans can use the tips and processes from this article to apply for VA benefits. However, after you enroll in the VA health care system, you will not need to reapply for the benefits.
You can get further information from the VA health care professional about enrollment. You may need to update your financial information in the future. After completing your list of questions about VA benefits, you should apply for it.
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