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Combat Veterans

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  • Returning Service Members: Enhanced Eligibility for VA Health Care

Returning Service Members: Enhanced Eligibility for VA Health Care

If you served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and were discharged on or after January 28, 2003, you have special eligibility to enroll in the VA health care system for 5 years from your date of discharge or release.

You can receive cost-free medical care for any condition related to your service in theater and access to VA’s full Medical Benefits Package.


The 5-year eligibility period begins on your discharge or separation date from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date. National Guard and Reserve personnel who were activated and served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998 may also be eligible for enhanced health care benefits.


More information about Combat Veteran eligibility for VA health care is available on the Health Benefits website