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Health Benefits Glossary

A

Access

Access is the Veteran's ability to obtain medical care at his/her desired location. The ease of access is determined by things such as availability of health care services, location of health care facilities, transportation, hours of operation, and cost-effective delivery of health care. Efforts to improve access often focus on improving efficiency of health care delivery processes.

Adjunct Condition

An adjunct condition, for medical treatment purposes, is a non service-connected condition that may be associated with and held to be aggravating an adjudicated service-connected condition. VA bills health insurance plans for treatment of an adjunct condition and as applicable, may charge a copay for treatment of the adjunct condition.

Adult Day Health Care

Adult Day Health Care is a therapeutic day care program, providing medical and rehabilitation services to disabled Veterans in a group setting.

Agent Orange

Agent Orange was a defoliant used during the Vietnam War.
For more detailed information and new changes see: Agent Orange Home Page


AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

AIDS can qualify as a service connected disability. Improved Pension may also be paid if AIDS is the disability preventing the Veteran from working.

For more information http://www.hiv.va.gov/

Aid & Attendance Allowance

An additional benefit paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. This allowance is paid in all Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and Pension Programs. It is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability. Special Monthly Compensation (L) can at times be designated an aid & attendance benefit.

See Aid & Attendance and Housebound

See also Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

Allowable Deductions

Allowable deductions are those payments made by Veterans for certain non-reimbursed medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and educational expenses. Veterans are able to exclude allowable deductions from their total gross household income in determining their eligibility for VA health care benefits.

See Financial Assessment

Appeal

A process used to request VA reconsider a decision.

Applicant

A person who has submitted a formal request for VA health care benefits and/or for enrollment in the VA health care system.

Authentication

VA Authentication Federation Infrastructure is a service that makes it easier for citizens to get access to online government services (VA and DoD) with a single government and non-government-issued set of electronic credential (such as, a user name and password combination) to conduct transactions.

Automobile Adaptive Equipment

Automobile adaptive equipment is used to permit physically challenged persons to enter, exit, and or operate a motor vehicle or other conveyance. It includes, but is not limited to, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seats, and other special equipment necessary to assist the eligible person. The term also includes air-conditioning when necessary for the health and safety of the person, and any modification of the size of the interior space of the automobile or other conveyance if needed because of the physical condition of such persons when deemed essential.

For more information regarding automobile adaptive equipment, visit http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/psas/AAE.asp

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B

Bereavement Counseling

Assistance and support to people with emotional and psychological stress after the death of a loved one. Bereavement counseling includes a broad range of transition services, including outreach, counseling, and referral services to family members.

Burial

Burial benefits include a gravesite in any of our national cemeteries with available space, the opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.

See the National Cemetery Administration's site.
See also our Fact Sheets for more information.

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C

Catastrophically Disabled

A Veteran who has a permanent, severely disabling injury, disorder, or disease that affects their ability to carry out the activities of daily living.  The Veteran is affected to such a degree that he/she requires personal or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed, or require constant supervision to avoid physical harm to self or others.

CHAMPVA

Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a health benefits program in which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shares the cost of certain health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

See Guide

Chronic Care

Long-term care of individuals with long-standing, persistent diseases or conditions. Chronic care includes care specific to the problem, as well as other measures to encourage self-care, promote health, and prevent loss of function.

Clothing Allowance

Reimbursement for clothing which gets permanently damaged by a prosthetic or orthopedic appliance that is worn or by a prescribed medication you used on skin.

Combat Service

A status applied for a Veteran who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war recognized by the VA.

Commonwealth Army Veterans

The term "Commonwealth Army Veterans" refers to persons who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the Philippines. These Filipino forces were made a part of the U.S. Armed Forces by a military order of the President dated July 26, 1941. These Veterans were discharged or released from this period of service under conditions other than dishonorable.

Community Residential Care

Health care supervision provided to eligible Veterans not in need of hospital or nursing home care but who, because of medical and/or psychosocial health conditions as determined through a statement of needed care, are not able to live independently.  Veterans would not have suitable family or significant others to provide the needed supervision and supportive care. The Veteran must be capable of self-preservation with minimal assistance and exhibit socially acceptable behavior.

Compensation

This benefit program evaluates disability resulting from all types of diseases and injuries encountered as a result of military service. The degrees of disability that are determined by VA represent, as far as can practicably be determined, the average loss in wages resulting from such diseases and injuries and their complications in civil occupations. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.

Compensable Disabilities

A VA rated service-connected disability for which monetary compensation is authorized for payment. You might even be entitled to compensation when your disabilities are rated 0% disabling.
Here are the three situations that would be compensable.

  • You have a condition rated 10% disabling or greater.
  • You have a condition rated at 0%, but it's a disability that entitles you to special monthly compensation.
  • You have two or more 0% disabilities, and their combined effect interferes with your ability to work. (In this case, VA would pay at the 10% rate.)

Compensation and Pension examinations

These examinations are requested by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). This is a physical exam to determine service related illness or injuries for determination of a Veteran’s entitlement to compensation and pension benefits.

Congressional Appropriation

The funding allocated by Congress to VA for providing benefits and medical services to eligible VA beneficiaries.

Congressional Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor award is paid by Compensation & Pension Service.
Eligibility Criteria, see 38 CFR § 3.802
Rates see Special Benefit Allowances Rates

U.S. Army Center of Military History Medal of Honor Citations
VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Consultation

Service provided by a physician whose opinion or advice regarding evaluation and/or management of a specific problem is requested by another physician.

Contract Provider

Any hospital, skilled nursing facility, extended care facility, individual, organization, or agency that has a contractual agreement with VA for providing medical services to Veterans.

Copay

A specific monetary charge for either medical services or outpatient medications provided by VA to Veterans whose financial assessment determines they are able to pay.

Covered Benefit

Medically necessary health benefits services included in the Medical Benefits Package as defined within 38 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 17.38

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D

Deductible

An amount that a Veteran must pay for covered services in a specified time period before VA benefits begin.

Dependent

Spouse or unmarried child (to include a biological, legally adopted, or step child under the age of 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school, or a child who was permanently and totally disabled before the age of 18)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

This benefit program pays a monthly payment to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a Veteran because of a service-connected death of a Veteran.

See the Fact Sheets (Benefits at Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) rates in certain cases when death is not service connected).
Restoration of Entitlement

Diagnosis

The identification of a medical condition, cause or disease

Diabetes Mellitus (Type II)

As a presumptive condition for in-country Vietnam Veterans see: Agent Orange Home Page for more detailed information.

Disability Compensation

Disability Compensation is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.

Disability Examinations Questionnaires

Physical examinations, when made by the VA, are done under criteria worked out by both the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration.

See Disability Benefits Questionnaires

Disenrollment

The discontinuation of a Veteran's enrolled status. Disenrollment may result because the Veteran requests cancellation of enrollment or when updated information determines that the enrolled Veteran is no longer eligible for enrollment.

Domiciliary

A VA facility that provides care on an ambulatory self-care basis for Veterans disabled by age or disease.  Veterans are not in need of acute hospitalization and do not need the skilled nursing services provided in a nursing home.

DS Logon

DS Logon stands for Department of Defense Self-Service Logon, and is a secure logon ID created by the Department of Defense (DoD) to increase the level of security for users of various VA and DoD websites beyond simple username/passwords.

See DS Logon Level 2 (Premium) Account

Durable Medical Equipment

Equipment intended for frequent use in the treatment of a medical condition or injury. Examples include wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, etc.

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E

Earned Income

Money you receive from working.

Emergency

Medical condition displaying acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that a prudent layperson, possessing an average knowledge of heath care and medicine, could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in 1) placing the health of the individual in serious jeopardy, 2) serious impairment to bodily functions, or 3) serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

Enrollee

A Veteran who is enrolled in the VA health care system.

Enrollment

The process for providing Veterans access to VA health care services covered by the medical benefits package.

Enrollment Priority Group

The enrollment Priority Group level, as determined by the Secretary Veterans Affairs, at which Veterans will be accepted for enrollment into the VA health care system.

See Priority Group Table.

Environmental Contaminants

Environment hazards and potential harmful substances such as pesticides and chemical and biological warfare agents.

Examinations

Physical examinations, when made by the VA, are done under criteria worked out by both the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration.

See Disability Benefits Questionnaires (55 disability examination worksheets).

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F

Filipino Veterans

New Philippine Scouts or Commonwealth Army (USAFFE) and Recognized Guerillas.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.

Foreign Medical Program (FMP)

The Foreign Medical Program is a health care benefits program for U.S. Veterans with VA-rated, service-connected disabilities who are residing or traveling abroad (Canada and Philippines excluded). Under FMP, VA assumes payment responsibility for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of those service-connected conditions.
Visit our FMP page

Former Prisoner of War (POW)

Former prisoners of war (POW) are Veterans who, during active military service, were forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy government or its agents or a hostile force.  

Additionally, Veterans serving in the active military service during peacetime, who were forcibly detained or interned by a foreign government or its agents or a hostile force are also considered former POWs if the circumstances of the internment were comparable to wartime internment (for example: Iran, Somalia or Kosovo).
Former POW & their Survivors Home Page

Also see 38 CFR §§3.307 (Presumptive service connection for prisoner-of-war related diseases) and 3.309(c) (Disease subject to presumptive service connection)

Forms

VA forms have been organized for your use. Some are available via the web at http://www.va.gov/vaforms.

Application for enrollment is now on-line.

Formulary

A formulary is a list of medicines from which your VA provider can choose to treat your medical condition. This list of medicines has been looked at and approved by a group of highly trained VA physicians and clinical pharmacists. New medicines are usually added to the formulary based on a complete review of published medical studies as well as available patient safety data.

Medicines are grouped by VA as Formulary, Formulary-Restricted or Non-Formulary. Formulary-Restricted medicines usually can be used only by those providers with specific experience in how these medicines are prescribed and monitored. For example, oncologists usually are the only VA providers who can prescribe medicines used to treat cancer. Non-Formulary medicines are prescribed for those patients who either have failed or could not tolerate any of the VA Formulary medicines.

Financial Assessment

A means of collecting income information used to determine a Veteran's eligibility for health care benefits and copay requirements.

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G

Geographic Means Test (GMT) Income Thresholds Copay Required

A copay status assigned to a Veteran whose household income is above the VA means test income thresholds but below the GMT income thresholds. GMT copay for inpatient care is reduced by 80%, but all other copay amounts remain the same. GMT income thresholds are based upon established geographic income thresholds.

GMT - Below the Means Test Income Thresholds

Veterans whose household income is below the VA National income thresholds such that they are unable to defray the expenses of care. Therefore, they are not subject to copay charges for hospital and outpatient medical services.

GMT - Above the Means Test and GMT Income Thresholds

Veterans whose household income is above the VA National income thresholds and income ABOVE the geographically-based income thresholds for their resident location.  These Veterans  do not otherwise qualify for placement in a higher enrollment Priority Group. These Veterans must agree to pay copays for hospital care and outpatient medical services.

GMT - Above the Means Test and Below the GMT Income Thresholds

Veterans with household income ABOVE the VA National income thresholds and income BELOW the geographically-based income thresholds for their resident location.  These Veterans do not otherwise qualify for placement in a higher enrollment Priority Group. These Veterans must also agree to pay copays for hospital care and outpatient medical services, but their inpatient medical care copays are reduced 80 percent.

Geriatric Evaluation

Geriatric evaluations part of the basic benefits package. It is a comprehensive assessment of a Veteran's ability to care for him/herself, physical health, and social environment, which leads to a plan of care. The plan could include treatment, rehabilitation, health promotion, and social services.

Gross Household Income

Generally, gross income of the Veteran, spouse and dependent children is counted for determining a Veteran's eligibility for VA health care benefits. This includes earned and unearned income but excludes most need-based payments such as welfare and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Gulf War

The "Gulf War" began on August 2, 1990. Since an end of the conflict has not been declared by Congress, everyone who has been on active duty since it began may qualify as wartime Veterans, regardless of duty assignment, when seeking VA benefits.

See Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses.
See Gulf War Veterans' Health
Also see GulfLink

Gulf War Illness

Veterans with service during the Gulf War are eligible to receive treatment for conditions related to this service. If the treatment provided is for an illness or symptom that may possibly be associated with environmental contamination, copay for medical care and medication copay will not be charged.

See Public Health

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H

Hardship

If a Veteran’s current year income is substantially reduced from the prior year. Future exemption from medical and hospital care copayments for a determined period of time are considered.

Head or Neck Cancer

Veterans with cancer of the head and neck, and a history of receipt of Nasopharyngeal (NP) radium therapy, are eligible for treatment. There are very specific dates and locations where this activity occurred. Eligibility for this special class needs to be verified. (Not all Veterans receiving head and neck cancer treatment fall into this treatment category.)

Veterans with exposure to NP radium treatments are eligible to receive treatment for conditions related to this exposure, including head and neck cancer.

If the Veteran is being treated for any condition during this episode of care that is related to Head and Neck Cancer, the Veteran does not have to pay a co-pay for the visit or the medication.

See Fact Sheet

Health Care

See the Veterans Health Administration website

Health Care Programs for Elderly Veterans

The Veterans Health Administration offers many health care programs for elderly Veterans. See the VHA Geriatrics and Extended Care on this issue.

Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program

The Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program is designed to address the community re-entry needs of incarcerated Veterans. HCRV's goals are to prevent homelessness, reduce the impact of medical, psychiatric, and substance use problems upon community re-adjustment, and decrease the likelihood of re-incarceration for those leaving prison. HCRV services include:

  • Outreach and pre-release assessments services for Veterans in prison
  • Referrals and linkages to medical, psychiatric, and social services, including employment services upon release
  • Short term case management assistance upon release

While VHA may not provide medical services that are part of care to be provided by correctional institutions, VHA may provide outreach and pre-release assessment.

Health Insurance

See CHAMPVA

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA is a federal law enacted in 1996. It was designated to improve availability and portability of health coverage and the efficiency of the health care system.  It does this by standardizing the electronic exchange of health information, and protecting the security and privacy of member-identifiable health information.

Hearing Aids

VA will provide hearing aids to Veteran’s who are 30% or more service-connected, are service-connected for hearing conditions that warrant hearing aids or have medical conditions that cause the need for hearing aids.  Otherwise, hearing aids are provided only in special circumstances, and not for normally occurring hearing.

Home Health Care

Skilled nursing and other therapeutic services provided by VA or a home health care agency in a home setting.  Home health care is  an alternative to confinement in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Homeless

VA provides specialized homeless services at its medical centers and through community-based partners with a goal that no Veteran will have to become or remain homeless. The number for the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans is 877-424-3838.  See VA Homeless Program <http://www.va.gov/homeless/> for more information.

See the Fact Sheets for more information.
Also see VA Homeless Program

Homemaker/Home Health Aide Services

The Homemaker / Home Health Aide (H/HHA) Program provides services as an "alternative" to nursing home care. The H/HHA Coordinator, along with the interdisciplinary team, makes a clinical judgment that the Veteran would otherwise require nursing home equivalent care.

Hospice/Palliative Care

Hospice/Palliative Care programs offer pain management, symptom control, and other medical services to terminally ill Veterans or Veterans in the late stages of the chronic disease process.

Housing and Urban Development Geographic Index

Congress wanted to grant relief from making VA copay for some Veterans with marginal incomes. They recognized that income alone is not always a fair measure of one's standard of living, due to sometimes large differences in the cost of living in different areas of the country. Congress modified VA's system of determining Veterans' ability to pay for health care by creating a geographically-based income limit, and reducing inpatient copay for those Veterans whose income falls below these new geographic income thresholds. The new geographic income thresholds are adjusted for all standard metropolitan statistical areas (SMSAs) and are updated periodically to reflect economic changes within the SMSAs. The geographic means test income thresholds are based upon the geographically based low- income thresholds set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for public housing benefits.

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I

Incarcerated Veterans

VA is authorized to provide hospital and outpatient care to any incarcerated Veteran upon their release from prison or jail when they are being released into a temporary housing program, such as a community residential reentry center, halfway house, work release center or similar residential facility.

Incarcerated Veterans may also be eligible for the Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program which is a program designed to provide community re-entry needs of incarcerated Veterans. 
For more information, visit http://www.va.gov/homeless/reentry.asp

Inpatient Care

Services received during a patient's hospital stay.

Ionizing Radiation

Atomic Veterans may have been exposed to ionizing radiation in a variety of ways at various locations. Veterans exposed at a nuclear device testing site (the Pacific Islands, e.g., Bikini, NM, NV, etc.) or in Hiroshima and/or Nagasaki, Japan, may be included. Atomic Veterans with exposure to ionizing radiation are eligible to receive treatment for conditions related to this exposure. For more information and a list of conditions recognized by VA, visit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/Compensation/index.asp

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L

Low-Income Thresholds

Veterans with gross household income  under the  income limits are eligible to receive certain health related benefits at no cost to the Veteran. The low income thresholds are set by law and varies according to the Veteran's family size and benefit applied for.

See Financial Assessment

Long Term Care

See Geriatrics and Extended Care

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M

Means Test

Veterans will no longer be required to complete the annual financial assessment known as a Means Test. Instead, VA will receive income information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA), and will contact the Veterans only if the information received indicates a change in their VA health benefits may be appropriate; however, Veterans who are eligible for enrollment only because their income is below an established threshold will be required to complete a means test when applying for VA health care enrollment.

See Financial Assessment

Medical Benefits Copay Exempt

Veterans not required to make copays for medical care provided by VA include:

  • Veterans with a compensable service-connected rating or
  • Veterans in receipt of VA pension benefits or whose income does not exceed the applicable VA means test income thresholds;
  • Veterans requiring services/medications for treatment of a service-connected condition; or for conditions related to exposure to ionizing radiation, sexual trauma experienced while in the military; nose or throat radium treatments while in the military requiring services/medication for head or neck cancer; or for participation in Project 112/SHAD experiments, exposure to herbicides while serving in Vietnam;
  • Former POW's;
  • Veterans in receipt of a Purple Heart medal and Veterans who were discharged from the military for a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; and
  • Combat Veterans who were discharged after November, 11, 1998, who require services/medications for conditions that are potentially related to combat service, as follows:
    • If discharged on or after January 28, 2003 for five years post discharge.
    • If discharged from active duty before January 28, 2003, and if application for enrollment is made on or after January 28, 2008, until January 27, 2011.

Medical Benefits Copay Required

A copay status assigned to a Veteran who is required to make medical care copay based on financial status relative to the applicable annual income limits.

Medicaid

A jointly funded federal and state program that provides hospital expense and medical expense coverage to persons with low-income and certain aged and disabled individuals.

Medical Benefits Package

The term "Medical Benefits Package" refers to a group of health care services that are provided to all enrolled Veterans.

Medical Records (Other than Service Medical Records)

Those applicants who have medical records to substantiate any and all treatment by private doctors and hospitals are encouraged to submit them with their application to expedite processing.

Medical Need

The determination that care or service(s) are required to promote, preserve, or restore a Veteran's health as specified within 38 CFR 17.38(b). A treatment, procedure, supply, or service is considered medically necessary as determined by the patient's care provider, and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice.

Medicare

A federal program that provides health care coverage for people aged 65 and older, as well as some younger individuals with specific health problems. Medicare Part A covers hospitalization, extended care and nursing home care.  Medicare Part B covers outpatient services, and is subject to a monthly premium.

Merchant Marine

Members of the Merchant Marine are considered Veterans.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military. It includes any sexual activity where someone is involved against his or her will – he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities. Other experiences that fall into the category of MST include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; and/or threatening or unwelcome sexual advances.

To learn more, visit our Military Sexual Trauma

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N

Nasopharyngeal Radium Therapy

Military physicians used NP radium to treat aerotitis media (barotrauma) in submariners, aviators, and divers due to enlarged tissue in the throat combined with rapid pressure changes.

Net Worth

Net worth means the market value of everything you own, minus what you owe.

Noncompensable

VA determined condition is service-connected, but does not meet the scheduler requirements for a monetary compensation.

Nonservice-Connected Pension

The Veterans Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or non-service connected disability requirements.

Nonservice-Connected Veteran

A Veteran who has been discharged from active military duty, and does not have a VA adjudicated illness or injury incurred in or aggravated by military service.

Nursing Home

The term "nursing home care", (now referred to as community living center care), means the accommodation of convalescents or other persons who are not acutely ill and not in need of hospital care.

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O

Open Enrollment

The process of accepting applications for enrollment at any time during the year.

Outpatient Care

Refers to health care a patient receives without being admitted to a hospital. Examples include office visits, x-rays, lab tests and some surgical procedures.

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P

Palliative Care

Care provided primarily to relieve symptoms of a disease or condition rather than for curative purposes.

Pension

The Veterans Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability is a benefit paid to wartime veterans with limited income who are no longer able to work.
Veterans receiving VA pension benefits are assigned to no lower than Priority Group 5 for VA health-care enrollment purposes.

Philippines, Veterans from the

New Philippine Scouts or Commonwealth Army (USAFFE) and Recognized Guerillas.

See the Fact Sheets

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur after a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster.

See National Center for PTSD

Preferred Facility

The VA health care location where the Veteran prefers to receive care. A preferred facility may be any VA health care location, for example, VA health care facility, independent clinic, or community based outpatient clinic.

Preventive Care

Health Care that emphasizes prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Priority Groups Table

The enrollment Priority Group level, as determined by the Secretary Veterans Affairs, at which Veterans will be accepted for enrollment into the VA health care system.

See Priority Group Table

Prisoner of War (POW)

Congress defined a prisoner of war as a person who, while serving on active duty, was forcibly detained by an enemy government or a hostile force, during a period of war or in situations comparable to war.

Former American Prisoners of War (POWs) are assigned to no lower than Priority Group 3 for VA health-care enrollment purposes. Former POWs are exempt from inpatient, outpatient medical care and medication copays, but may be subject to copays for extended care services. They also are eligible for any needed dental care.

Project 112/SHAD

Project SHAD, an acronym for Shipboard Hazard and Defense, was part of a larger effort called Project 112, which was conducted during the 1960s. Project SHAD encompassed tests designed to identify US warships' vulnerabilities to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents, and to develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining a war-fighting capability.

Prosthetic Devices

A device which replaces all or a portion of a part of the human body. A prosthetic device can be used when a part of the body is permanently damaged, is absent, or is malfunctioning.

Purple Heart

A "Purple Heart" is a medal given by the military to a service person injured as a direct result of combat. Purple Heart recipients are assigned to no lower than Priority Group 3 for VA health-care enrollment purposes.

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R

Referral

The process of referring a Veteran from one practitioner to another for health care services.

Respite care

Gives the caregiver of a Veteran a planned period of relief from the physical and emotional demands associated with providing care.

Restore Health

The process of improving a Veteran's quality of life or daily function level that has been lost due to illness or injury.

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S

Service-Connected Veteran

A Veteran who has an illness or injury incurred in or aggravated by military service as determined by VA.

Sexual Trauma

Military sexual trauma (MST) is the term that the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred while the Veteran was in the military. It includes any sexual activity where someone is involved against his or her will – he or she may have been pressured into sexual activities (for example, with threats of negative consequences for refusing to be sexually cooperative or with implied faster promotions or better treatment in exchange for sex), may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities. Other experiences that fall into the category of MST include unwanted sexual touching or grabbing; threatening, offensive remarks about a person’s body or sexual activities; and/or threatening or unwelcome sexual advances.

Southwest Asia

An area of land located in the southwestern part of Asia to include the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the portion of the Arabian Sea that lies north of 10 degrees North latitude and west of 68 degrees East longitude.  It also includes the total land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Specially Adapted Housing/Special Home Adaptions

VA provides grants to Servicemembers and Veterans with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities to help purchase or construct an adapted home, or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability. Two grant programs exist: the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant and the Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.

Special Mode of Transportation

Special mode of transportation is defined as an ambulance, ambulette, air ambulance, wheelchair van, or other mode of transportation specially designed to transport disabled persons (this does not include a mode of transportation not specifically designed to transport disabled persons, such as a bus, subway, taxi, train, or airplane). A modified, privately-owned vehicle, with special adaptive equipment and/or capable of transporting disabled persons is not a special mode of transportation.

Spina Bifida

The Veterans’ Benefits Act of 1997 granted benefits for children of Vietnam Veterans who were suffering from spina bifida (38 U.S.C. §1805).

See the Veterans Health Administration web site for Spina Bifida or Agent Orange

State Veterans Homes

The eligibility for State Veterans Homes varies from state to state. Typically, Veterans and sometimes their spouse can be admitted to a State Veterans Home. The costs of living in a State Veterans Home are usually paid by Medicaid, long term care insurance and private funds. VA pays a modest share of the cost for each Veteran living in a State Veterans Home. You can find information on the State Veterans Home(s) for your state by looking in the state government pages of the telephone book. VA social workers at the VA medical center where you're being treated can also provide information about State Veterans Homes.

Survivor and Eligible Dependents VA Benefits

Please see Survivors and Eligible Dependents VA Benefits

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T

Transportation

See Veteran Transportation Service

Travel Costs

Veterans who meet a certain criteria may be reimbursed for travel costs to receive VA medical care. Reimbursement is paid at 41.5 cents per mile -and is subject to a deductible of $3 for each one-way trip and $6 for a round trip; with a maximum deductible of $18 per calendar month. Two exceptions to the deductible are travel for Compensation and Pension exam and special modes of transportation, such as an ambulance or a specially equipped van. These deductibles may be waived when their imposition would cause a severe financial hardship.

See Beneficiary Travel Benefits

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U

Urgent Care

Services received for an unexpected illness or injury that is not life threatening but requires immediate outpatient medical care that cannot be postponed. An urgent situation requires prompt medical attention to avoid complications and unnecessary suffering or severe pain, such as a high fever.

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V

VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits

The VA form completed by Veterans to apply for VA health care benefits. The form includes demographic, military, insurance and financial information

VA Form 10-10EZR, Health Benefits Renewal

The VA Form used by Veterans to submit their updated personal, insurance and financial information to VA.

Veteran

This term means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014

Expanded availability of hospital care and medical services for eligible Veterans through the use of agreement with non-Department of Veterans Affairs entities. Authorization for non-VA care will be approved for Veterans residing more than 40 miles from the nearest VA facility, including Community Based Outreach Clinics and for Veterans that cannot get an available appointment within established wait time goals.

Veterans Health Benefits Handbook

A personalized Veterans Health Benefits Handbook  that is tailored specifically for each Veterans who are enrolled for VA health care.  The handbook provides detailed contains updated and new information on VA health care benefits.

Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

Veterans use the VIC as proof of identity at VA health care facilities for lab work, diagnostic tests, appointments, prescriptions and other services.

Veteran Health Registries

Certain veterans can participate in a VA health registry and receive free medical examinations, including laboratory and other diagnostic tests deemed necessary by an examining clinician. VA maintains health registries to provide special health examinations and health-related information. To participate, contact the Environmental Health (EH) Coordinator at the nearest VA health care facility or visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures, where a directory of EH Coordinators is maintained.

See Health Registries

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W

Women's Issues

See Health Care for Women Veterans

World War II

World War II, also called the Second World War, conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during 1939– 1945. Veterans may qualify for health care and compensation benefits if you participated in certain radiation-risk activities, such as nuclear weapons testing, during military service.

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