Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors
VA operates the nation's largest integrated health care system with more than 1,500 sites of care, including hospitals, community clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. For additional information on VA health care, visit: www.va.gov/health.
A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA health care benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.
Minimum Duty Requirements: Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
For most Veterans, entry into the VA health care system begins by applying for enrollment. Veterans can now apply and submit their application for enrollment (VA Form 1010EZ), online at www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/. Veterans can also enroll by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time, or at any VA health care facility or VA regional benefits office. Once enrolled, Veterans can receive health care at VA health care facilities anywhere in the country.
Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are afforded privacy rights under federal law. VA's Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how VA may use and disclose Veterans' medical information, is also available on line at www.va.gov/vhapublications/viewpublication.asp?pub_ID=1089
The following four categories of Veterans are not required to enroll, but are urged to do so to permit better planning of health resources:
During enrollment, each Veteran is assigned to a priority group. VA uses priority groups to balance demand for VA health care enrollment with resources. Changes in available resources may reduce the number of priority groups VA can enroll. If this occurs, VA will publicize the changes and notify affected enrollees. A description of priority groups follows:
Group 1: Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or more and/or Veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions.
Group 2: Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 30 or 40 percent.
Veterans receiving increased compensation or pension based on their need for regular Aid and Attendance or by reason of being permanently Housebound. Veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.
Veterans eligible for enrollment: Nonservice-connected and
Veterans NOT eligible for enrollment: Veterans not meeting the criteria above:
VA's income thresholds can be located at:www.va.gov/healthbenefits/cost/income_thresholds.asp
Veterans, including activated reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible for the enhanced Combat Veteran benefits if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
Effective Jan. 28, 2008, combat Veterans discharged from active duty on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible for enhanced enrollment placement into Priority Group 6 (unless eligible for higher enrollment Priority Group placement) for five-years post discharge.
Veterans receive VA care and medication at no cost for any condition that may be related to their combat service.
Veterans who enroll with VA under this Combat Veteran authority will remain enrolled even after their five-year post discharge period ends. At the end of their post discharge period, VA will reassess the Veteran's information (including all applicable eligibility factors) and make a new enrollment decision. For additional information, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387), Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
Service-Disabled Veterans: who are 50 percent or more disabled from service-connected conditions, unemployable due to service-connected conditions, or receiving care for a service-connected disability receive priority in scheduling of hospital or outpatient medical appointments.
Women Veterans are eligible for the same VA benefits as male Veterans. Comprehensive health services are available to women Veterans including primary care, specialty care, mental health care and reproductive health care services
VA provides management of acute and chronic illnesses, preventive care, contraceptive services, menopause management, and cancer screenings, including pap smear and mammograms, and gynecology. Maternity care is covered in the Medical Benefits package.Women Veterans receive maternity care from an OB/GYN, and care for their newborn children is covered for seven days after birth. Infertility evaluation and limited treatments are also available. Women Veterans Program Managers are available at all VA facilities to assist women Veterans in their health care and benefits. For more information, visit www.womenshealth.va.gov.
VA health care professionals provide counseling and treatment to help Veterans overcome psychological issues resulting from sexual trauma that occurred while serving on active duty, or active duty for training if service was in the National Guard or Reserves. Veterans who are not otherwise eligible for VA health care may still receive these services. Appropriate services are provided for any injury, illness or psychological condition resulting from such trauma. For additional information visit: www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp
VHA has established SCI Centers at 24 VA medical centers and trained SCI Primary Care Teams at each medical center without an SCI Center. Services include: orthotics, prosthetics, sensory aids, assistive technology, videofluoroscopic studies of swallowing, pulmonary function tests, chronic pain management, gynecology, mental health, environmental modifications, peer counseling, reproductive assessment, substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation, swallowing evaluation and training, geriatrics and gerontology, medical nutrition therapy, rehabilitation engineering, speech and language pathology, dental services, and services to address parenting issues. VAMCs without a SCI center provide access to primary care through physician, nurse and social worker to meet the primary care needs and these staff make appropriate referrals to their designated SCI Center when a Veteran has more complex needs.
Each VA medical center has an OEF/OIF/OND Care Management team in place to coordinate patient care activities and ensure that Servicemembers and Veterans are receiving patient-centered, integrated care and benefits. OEF/OIF/OND clinical case managers screen all returning combat Veterans for the need for case management services to identify Veterans who may be at risk so VA can intervene early and provide assistance. Severely ill or injured Servicemembers/Veterans are provided with a case manager and other OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers/Veterans are assigned a case manager as indicated by a positive screening assessment or upon request. OEF/OIF/OND case managers are experts at identifying and accessing resources within their health care system as well as in the local community to help Veterans recover from their injuries and readjust to civilian life.
Most Veterans not receiving VA disability compensation or pension payments must provide a financial assessment to determine whether they are below VA income thresholds. VA is currently not enrolling new applicants who decline to provide financial information unless they have a special eligibility factor exempting them from disclosure. VA's income thresholds are located at:www.va.gov/healthbenefits/cost/income_thresholds.asp".
The financial assessment includes all household income and net worth, including Social Security, retirement pay, unemployment insurance, interest and dividends, workers' compensation, black lung benefits and any other income. Also considered are assets such as the market value of property that is not the primary residence, stocks, bonds, notes, individual retirement accounts, bank deposits, savings accounts and cash.
Some Veterans are required to make copays to receive VA health care and/or medications.
Inpatient Care: Priority Group 7 and certain other Veterans are responsible for paying 20 percent of VA's inpatient copay or $231.20 for the first 90 days of inpatient hospital care during any 365-day period. For each additional 90 days, the charge is $115.60. In addition, there is a $2 per diem charge.
Priority Group 8 and certain other Veterans are responsible for VA's inpatient copay of $1,156 for the first 90 days of care during any 365-day period. For each additional 90 days, the charge is $578. In addition, there is a $10 per diem charge.
Extended Care: Veterans may be subject to a copay for extended care services. The copay is determined by a calculation using information from completion of VA Form 10-10EC, Application for Extended Care Services. VA social workers or case managers will counsel Veterans or their family representatives on their eligibility and copay requirements. The copay amount is based on the Veteran's financial situation determined upon application for extended care services and can range from $0 to a maximum copayment amount of $97 a day.
NOTE: Veterans determined to be Catastrophically Disabled are exempt from copays applicable to the receipt of noninstitutional respite care, noninstitutional geriatric evaluation, noninstitutional adult day health care, homemaker/home health aide, purchase skilled home care, home-based primary care, hospice services and any other noninstitutional alternative extended care services.
Outpatient Care: While many Veterans qualify for free healthcare services based on a VA compensable service-connected condition or other qualifying factor, most Veterans are asked to complete an annual financial assessment, to determine if they qualify for free services. Veterans whose income exceeds the established VA Income Thresholds as well as those who choose not to complete the financial assessment must agree to pay required copays to become eligible for VA healthcare services.
NOTE: Copay amount is limited to a single charge per visit regardless of the number of health care providers seen in a single day. The copay amount is based on the highest level of service received. There is no copay requirement for preventive care services such as screenings and immunizations.
Outpatient Visits Not Requiring Copays: Certain services are not charged a copay. Copays do not apply to publicly announced VA health fairs or outpatient visits solely for preventive screening and/or vaccinations, such as vaccinations for influenza and pneumococcal, or screening for hypertension, hepatitis C, tobacco, alcohol, hyperlipidemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer by fecal occult blood testing, education about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening, HIV testing and counseling, and weight reduction or smoking cessation counseling (individual and group). Laboratory, flat film radiology, electrocardiograms, and hospice care are also exempt from copays. While hepatitis C screening and HIV testing and counseling are exempt, medical care for HIV and hepatitis C are NOT exempt from copays.
Medication: While many Veterans are not charged for medication, nonservice-connected Veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8 are charged $9 for each 30-day or less supply of medication provided on an outpatient basis for the treatment of a nonservice-connected condition. Veterans enrolled in Priority Groups 2 through 6 are charged $8 for each 30-day or less supply of medication; the maximum copay for medications that will be charged in calendar year 2012 is $960 for nonservice-connected medications.
NOTE: Copays apply to prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, cough syrup or vitamins, dispensed by a VA pharmacy. Copays are not charged for medications injected during the course of treatment or for medical supplies, such as syringes or alcohol wipes.
HSA/HRA: Health Savings Accounts (HSA) cannot be utilized to make VA copays. In addition, if the Veteran receives any health benefits from the VA or one of its facilities, including prescription drugs, in the last three months, he/she will not be eligible for an HSA. Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) is not considered health plans and third party payers cannot be billed.
VA is required to bill private health insurance providers for medical care, supplies and prescriptions provided for treatment of Veterans' nonservice-connected conditions. Generally, VA cannot bill Medicare, but can bill Medicare supplemental health insurance for covered services. VA is not authorized to bill a High Deductible Health Plan (which is usually linked to a Health Savings Account).
All Veterans applying for VA medical care are required to provide information on their health insurance coverage, including coverage provided under policies of their spouses. Veterans are not responsible for paying any remaining balance of VA's insurance claim not paid or covered by their health insurance, and any payment received by VA may be used to offset "dollar for dollar" a Veteran's VA copay responsibility.
Reimbursement of Travel Costs Eligible Veterans may be provided mileage reimbursement or, when medically indicated, special mode transport (e.g. wheelchair van, ambulance) when traveling for approved VA medical care. Mileage reimbursement is 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 or the amount after six one-way trips (whichever occurs first) per calendar month. The deductible may be waived when travel is in relation to a VA compensation or pension examination; travel is by special mode; or when imposition would cause a severe financial hardship.
Eligibility: The following are eligible for VA travel reimbursement:
Beneficiary travel fraud can take money out of the pockets of deserving Veterans. Inappropriate uses of beneficiary travel benefits include: incorrect addresses provided resulting in increased mileage; driving/riding together and making separate claims; and taking no cost transportation, such as DAV, and making claims. Veterans making false statements for beneficiary travel reimbursement may be prosecuted under applicable laws.
Reporting Fraud: Help VA's Secretary ensure integrity by reporting suspected fraud, waste or abuse in VA programs or operations.
VA Inspector General Hotline
P.O. Box 50410
Washington, DC 20091-0410
VAOIG hotline 1-800-488-8244
Fax: (202) 565-7936
Veteran Health Registries
Certain Veterans can participate in a VA health registry and receive free evaluations, including a medical evaluation and laboratory tests deemed necessary by an examining clinician. VA maintains health registries to provide special health evaluations 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.
Gulf War Registry: For Veterans who served on active military duty in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War, which began in 1990 and continues to the present, including Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). The Gulf War registry was established after the first Gulf War to identify possible diseases resulting from U.S. military personnel service in certain areas of Southwest Asia. These diseases were endemic to the area or may have been due to hazardous exposures, including heavy metals. Furthermore, air pollutants, i.e., carbon monoxide sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxides, singly or in combination, could have caused chronic health problems.
Depleted Uranium Registries: Depleted uranium is natural uranium leftover after most of the U-235 isotope has been removed, such as that used as fuel in nuclear power plants. DU possesses about 60 percent of the radioactivity of natural uranium; it is a radiation hazard primarily if internalized, such as in shrapnel, contaminated wounds, and inhalation. In addition to its radioactivity, DU has some chemical toxicity related to being a heavy metal (similar to lead).
Veterans who are identified by the Department of Defense (DoD) or have concerns about possible depleted uranium exposure are eligible for a DU evaluation. VA maintains two registries for Veterans possibly exposed to depleted uranium. The first is for Veterans who served in the Gulf War, including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The second is for Veterans who served elsewhere, including Bosnia and Afghanistan.
Agent Orange Registry: For Veterans possibly exposed to dioxin or other toxic substances in herbicides used during the Vietnam War between 1962 and 1975, regardless of length of service; exposure on land in Vietnam, or on a ship operating on the inland waterways of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; service along the demilitarized zone in Korea between April 1, 1968 and Aug. 31, 1971; possible exposure on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand between Feb. 28, 1961 and May 7, 1975; or possible exposure due to herbicides tests and storage at military bases in the United States and locations in other countries. DoD has provided a list of locations and dates where herbicides, including Agent Orange, were used. This DoD list is available at www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures. For those sites not listed, the Veteran should provide some proof of exposure to obtain a registry examination. Information is also available through VA's Special Issues Helpline at 1-800-749-8387.
Ionizing Radiation Registry: For Veterans possibly exposed to and who are concerned about possible adverse effects of their atomic exposure during the following activities – On-site participation in: an atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device, whether or not the testing nation was the United States; occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki from Aug. 6, 1945, through July 1, 1946; or internment as a POW in Japan during World War II, which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines resulted in an opportunity for exposure to ionizing radiation comparable to that of Veterans involved in the occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki. In addition, VA regulations provide that "radiation-risk activity" refers to service at: Department of Energy gaseous diffusion plants at Paducah, Ky., Portsmouth, Ohio; or the K-25 area at Oak Ridge, Tennessee for at least 250 days before Feb. 1, 1992. If the Veteran was monitored for each of the 250 days using dosimetry badges to monitor radiation to external body parts or if the Veteran served for at least 250 days in a position that had exposures comparable to a job that was monitored using dosimetry badges in proximity to: Longshot, Milrow or Cannikin underground nuclear tests at Amchitka Island, Alaska, before Jan. 1, 1974 or Veterans in receipt of nasopharyngeal (NP) – nose and throat - radium irradiation treatments while in the active military, naval, or air service.
VA provides outreach and readjustment counseling services through 300 community-based Vet Centers located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and America Samoa.
Eligibility: Veterans are eligible if they served on active duty in a combat theater during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or the campaigns in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Global War on Terror. Veterans, who served in the active military during the Vietnam-era, but not in the Republic of Vietnam, must have requested services at a Vet Center before Jan. 1, 2004. Vet Centers do not require enrollment in the VHA Health Care System.
Services Offered: Vet Center counselors provide individual, group, and family readjustment counseling to combat Veterans to assist them in making a successful transition from military to civilian life; to include treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and help with any other military related problems that affect functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life. Other psycho-social services include outreach, education, medical referral, homeless Veteran services, employment, VA benefit referral, and the brokering of non-VA services. The Vet Centers also provide military sexual trauma counseling to Veterans of both genders and of any era of military service.
Bereavement Counseling related to Servicemembers: Bereavement counseling is available through VA's Vet Centers to all immediate family members (including spouses, children, parents, and siblings) of Servicemembers who die in the line of duty while on active service. This includes federally-activated members of the National Guard and reserve components. Vet Center bereavement services for surviving family members of servicemembers may be accessed by calling (202) 461-6530.
Vet Center Combat Call Center (1-877-WAR-VETS) is an around the clock confidential call center where combat Veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat Veterans from several eras as well as family members of combat Veterans.
For additional information, contact the nearest Vet Center, listed in the back of this book, or visit www.vetcenter.va.gov.
Veterans receiving VA care for any condition may receive VA prosthetic appliances, equipment and services, such as home respiratory therapy, artificial limbs, orthopedic braces and therapeutic shoes, wheelchairs, powered mobility, crutches, canes, walkers, special aids, appliances, optical and electronic devices for visual impairment and other durable medical equipment and supplies. Veterans who are approved for a guide or service dog may also receive service dog benefits including veterinary care and equipment.
VA medical services include diagnostic audiology and diagnostic and preventive eye care services. VA will provide hearing aids and eyeglasses to the following Veterans:
Nonservice-connected (NSC) Veterans are eligible for hearing aids or eyeglasses on the basis of medical need. All such Veterans (including Medal of Honor recipients who do not have entitling conditions or circumstances and catastrophically disabled Veterans) must receive a hearing evaluation by a state-licensed audiologist prior to determining eligibility for hearing aids or an appropriate evaluation by an optometrist or ophthalmologist prior to determining eligibility for eyeglasses to establish medical justification for provision of these devices. These Veterans must meet the following criteria for eligibility based on medical need:
For additional information, contact the prosthetic chief or representative at the nearest VA health care facility or go to www.prosthetics.va.gov.
VA provides up to $6,800 lifetime benefits for service-connected Veterans and up to $2,000 for nonservice-connected Veterans to make home improvements and/or structural changes necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the Veteran's home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities.
Modifications can include but are not limited to:
For application information, contact the Chief, Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service at the nearest VA health care facility.
Special Eligibility for Children with Spina Bifida: VA provides comprehensive health care benefits, including outpatient, inpatient, pharmacy, prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies for certain Korea and Vietnam Veterans' birth children diagnosed with Spina Bifida (except spina bifida occulta).
Special Eligibility for Veterans Participating in Vocational Rehabilitation: Veterans participating in VA's vocational rehabilitation program may receive VA health care benefits including prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies.
Limitations on Benefits Available to Veterans outside the U.S.: Veterans outside the U.S. are eligible for prosthetics, medical equipment, and supplies only for a Service-connected disability.
Severely disabled blind Veterans may be eligible for case management services at a VA medical center and for admission to an inpatient or outpatient VA blind or vision rehabilitation program. In addition, blind Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system may receive:
Eligible visually impaired Veterans (who are not severely visually disabled) enrolled in the VA health care system may be eligible for services at a VA medical center or for admission to an outpatient VA blind rehabilitation program and may also receive:
Veterans eligible for VA medical care may receive general mental health treatment as needed, including specialty services. Mental health services are available in primary care clinics (including Home Based Primary Care), general and specialty mental health outpatient clinics, inpatient mental health units, residential rehabilitation care facilities, specialty medical clinics, and Community Living Centers – a wide array of settings where Veterans receive health care. The list of services and programs that Mental Health supports include specialized PTSD services, treatment for Veterans with psychological conditions resulting from a history of military sexual trauma, psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services, substance use disorders, suicide prevention programs, geriatric mental health problems, violence prevention, evidence-based psychotherapy programs, integrated care services, and mental health disaster response/post deployment activities.
Specialized programs, such as mental health intensive case management, psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery centers, work programs and psychosocial rehabilitation are provided for those with serious mental health problems.
VA's Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program entitles the designated Family Caregiver access to mental health. These services may be offered at the VA and/or contracted agencies. General Caregivers (of all era Veterans) can receive counseling and other services when necessary if the treatment supports the Veteran's treatment plan. For more information on VA Mental Health services visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov/VAMentalHealthGroup.asp
Veterans Crisis Line: Veterans experiencing an emotional distress/crisis or who need to talk to a trained mental health professional may call the Veterans Crisis Line lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When callers press "1", they are immediately connected with a qualified and caring provider who can help.
Chat feature: Veterans Chat is located at the Veterans Crisis Line and enables Veterans, their families and friends to go online where they can anonymously chat with a trained VA counselor. Veterans Chat can be accessed through the suicide prevention Website www.Veterancrisisline.net by clicking on the Veterans Chat tab on the right side of the Webpage.
Text feature: Those in crisis may text 83-8255 free of charge to receive confidential, personal and immediate support.
European access: Veterans and members of the military community in Europe may now receive free, confidential support from the European Military Crisis Line, a new initiative recently launched by VA. Callers in Europe may dial 0800-1273-8255 or DSN 118 to receive confidential support from responders at the Veterans Crisis Line in the U.S. For more information about VA's suicide prevention program, www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/.
Make the Connection Resources: help Veterans and their family members connect with information and services to improve their lives. Visitors to MakeTheConnection.net will find a one-stop resource where Veterans and their family and friends can privately explore information, watch stories similar to their own, research content on mental health issues and treatment, and easily access support and information that will help them live more fulfilling lives.
At the heart of Make the Connection are powerful personal testimonials, which illustrate true stories of Veterans who faced life events, experiences, physical injuries or psychological symptoms; reached out for support; and found ways to overcome their challenges. Veterans and their families are encouraged to "make the connection" - with strength and resilience of Veterans like themselves, with other people who care, and with information and available resources for getting their lives on a better track.
Coaching Into Care: works with family members or friends who become aware of the Veteran's post-deployment difficulties, and supports their efforts to find help for the Veteran. This national clinical service provides information and help to Veterans and the loved ones who are concerned about them. More information about the service can be found at www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching/contact.asp
Mental Health Residential Rehab Treatment Program
Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (MH RRTP) (including Domiciliary RRTPs) provide residential rehabilitative and clinical care to Veterans who have a wide range of problems, illnesses, or rehabilitative care needs which can be medical, psychiatric, substance use, homelessness, vocational, educational, or social.
The MH RRTP provides a 24-hour therapeutic setting utilizing a peer and professional support environment. The programs provide a strong emphasis on psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services that instill personal responsibility to achieve optimal levels of independence upon discharge to independent or supportive community living. MH RRTP also provides rehabilitative care for Veterans who are homeless.
Eligibility: VA may provide domiciliary care to Veterans whose annual gross household income does not exceed the maximum annual rate of VA pension or to Veterans the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines have no adequate means of support. The copays for extended care services apply to domiciliary care. Call the nearest benefits or health care facility to obtain the latest information.
VA provides vocational assistance and therapeutic work opportunities through several programs for Veterans receiving VA health care. Each program offers treatment and rehabilitation services to help Veterans live and work in their communities. Participation in the following VA Work Restoration Programs cannot be used to deny or discontinue VA disability benefits. Payments received from Incentive Therapy and Compensated Work Therapy transitional work are not taxable.
Incentive Therapy (IT) provides a diversified work experience at VA medical centers for Veterans who exhibit severe mental illness and/or physical impairments. IT services may consist of full or part time work with nominal remuneration limited to the maximum of one half of the Federal minimum wage.
Compensated Work Therapy/Sheltered Workshop operates sheltered workshops at approximately 35 VA medical centers. CWT sheltered work shop is a pre-employment vocational activity that provides an opportunity for work hardening and assessment in a simulated work environment. Participating Veterans are paid on a piece rate basis.
CWT/Transitional Work (CWT/TW) is vocational assessment program that operates in VA medical centers and/or local community business and industry. CWT/TW participants are matched to real life work assignments for a time limited basis. Veterans are supervised by personnel of the sponsoring site, under the same job expectations experienced by non-CWT workers. CWT/TW participants are not considered employees and receive no traditional employee benefits. Participants receive the greater of Federal or state minimum wage, or more depending on the type of work. Over 40 percent of participants secure competitive employment at the time of discharge.
CWT/Supported Employment (CWT/SE) consists of full-time or part-time competitive employment with extensive clinical supports. The focus of CWT/SE is to assist Veterans with psychosis and other serious mental illnesses gain access to meaningful competitive employment. CWT/SE follow along support services are generally phased out after the Veteran is able to maintain employment independently.
Dental benefits are provided by VA according to law. In some instances, VA is authorized to provide extensive dental care, while in other cases treatment may be limited by law. This Fact Sheet table describes dental eligibility criteria and contains information to assist Veterans in understanding their eligibility for VA dental care.
By law, the eligibility for Outpatient Dental Care is not the same as for most other VA medical benefits. It is categorized in classes. Those eligible for VA dental care under Class I, IIC, or IV are eligible for any necessary dental care to maintain or restore oral health and masticatory function, including repeat care. Other classes have time and/or service limitations.
You are eligible for:
Have a service-connected compensable dental disability or condition.
Any needed dental care.
Are a former prisoner of war.
Any needed dental care.
Have service-connected disabilities rated 100% disabling, or are unemployable and paid at the 100% rate due to service-connected conditions.
Any needed dental care. [note: Veterans paid at the 100% rate based on a temporary rating, are not eligible for comprehensive outpatient dental services.
Apply for dental care within 180 days of discharge or release from a period of active duty (under conditions other than dishonorable) of 90 days or more during the Gulf War era.
One-time dental care if a DD214 certificate of discharge does not indicate that a complete dental examination and all appropriate dental treatment had been rendered prior to discharge.*
Have a service-connected noncompensable dental condition or disability resulting from combat wounds or service trauma.
Needed care for the service-connected condition(s). A Dental Trauma Rating (VA Form 10-564-D) or VA Regional Office Rating Decision letter (VA Form 10-7131) identifies the tooth/teeth eligible for care
Have a dental condition clinically determined by VA to be associated with and aggravating a service-connected medical condition
Dental care to treat the oral conditions that are determined by a VA dental professional to have a direct and material detrimental effect to a service-connected medical condition.
Are actively engaged in a 38 USC Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation program.
Dental care to the extent necessary to:
Are receiving VA care or are scheduled for inpatient care and require dental care for a condition complicating a medical condition currently under treatment.
Dental care to treat the oral conditions that are determined by a VA dental professional to complicate your medical condition currently under treatment.
Are an enrolled Veteran who may be homeless and receiving care under VHA Directive 2007-039..
A one-time course of dental care that is determined medically necessary to relieve pain, assist in gaining employment, or treat moderto severe gingival and periodontal conditions.
*Note: Public Law 83 enacted June 16, 1955, amended Veterans' eligibility for outpatient dental services. As a result, any Veteran who received a dental award letter from VBA dated before 1955 in which VBA determined the dental conditions to be noncompensable are no longer eligible for Class II outpatient dental treatment.
Veterans receiving hospital, nursing home, or domiciliary care will be provided dental services that are professionally determined by a VA dentist, in consultation with the referring physician, to be essential to the management of the patient's medical condition under active treatment.
For more information about eligibility for VA medical and dental benefits, contact VA at 1-877-222-8387 or www.va.gov/healthbenefits
VA provides nursing home services to Veterans through three national programs: VA owned and operated Community Living Centers (CLC), State Veterans' Homes owned and operated by the states, and the community nursing home program. Each program has admission and eligibility criteria specific to the program. Nursing home care is available for enrolled Veterans who need nursing home care for a service-connected disability, and those rated 60 percent service-connected and unemployable; or Veterans or who have a 70 percent or greater service-connected disability. VA provided nursing home care for all other Veterans is based on available resources.
VA Community Living Centers: Community Living Centers (CLC) provide a dynamic array of short stay (less than 90 days) and long stay (91 days or more) services. Short stay services include but are not limited to skilled nursing, respite care, rehabilitation, hospice, and continuing care for Veterans awaiting placement in the community. Long stay services include but are not limited to dementia care and continuing care to maintain the Veteran's level of functioning. Short stay and long stay services are available for Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and require CLC services.
State Veterans' Home Program: State Veterans homes are owned and operated by the states. The states petition VA for grant dollars for a portion of the construction costs followed by a request for recognition as a state home. Once recognized, VA pays a portion of the per diem if the state meets VA standards. States establish eligibility criteria and determine services offered for short and long-term care. Specialized services offered are dependent upon the capability of the home to render them.
Community Nursing Home Program: VA health care facilities establish contracts with community nursing homes. The purpose of this program is to meet the nursing home needs of Veterans who require long-term nursing home care in their own community, close to their families and meet the enrollment and eligibility requirements.
Admission Criteria: The general criteria for nursing home placement in each of the three programs requires that a resident must be medically stable, i.e. not acutely ill, have sufficient functional deficits to require inpatient nursing home care, and be determined by an appropriate medical provider to need institutional nursing home care. Furthermore, the Veteran must meet the specific eligibility criteria for community living center care or the contract nursing home program and the eligibility criteria for the specific state Veterans home.
Home and Community Based Services: In addition to nursing home care, VA offers a variety of other long-term care services either directly or by contract with community-based agencies. Such services include adult day health care, respite care, geriatric evaluation and management, hospice and palliative care, skilled nursing and other skilled professional services at home, home health aide services, and home based primary care. Veterans receiving these services may be subject to a copay.
In the case of medical emergencies, VA may reimburse or pay for emergency non-VA medical care not previously authorized that is provided to certain eligible Veterans when VA or other federal facilities are not feasibly available. This benefit may be dependent upon other conditions, such as notification to VA, the nature of treatment sought, the status of the Veteran, the presence of other health care insurance, and third party liability.
Because there are different regulatory requirements that may affect VA payment and Veteran liability for the cost of care, it is very important that the nearest VA medical facility to where emergency services are furnished be notified as soon as possible after emergency treatment is sought. If emergency inpatient services are required, VA will assist in transferring the Veteran to a Department facility, if available. Timely filing claim limitations apply. For additional information, contact the nearest VA medical facility. Please note that reimbursement criteria for Veterans living or traveling outside the United States fall under VA's Foreign Medical Program (FMP), and differ from the criteria for payment of emergency treatment received in the United States.
VA will provide reimbursement for medical services for service-connected disabilities or any disability associated with and found to be aggravating a service-connected disability for those Veterans living or traveling outside the United States. This program will also reimburse for the treatment of foreign medical services needed as part of an approved VA vocational rehabilitation program. Veterans living in the Philippines should register with the U.S. Veterans Affairs office in Pasay City, telephone 011-632-838-4566 or by email at email@example.com. All other Veterans living or planning to travel outside the U.S. should register with the Denver Foreign Medical Program office, P.O. Box 469061, Denver, CO 80246-9061, USA; telephone 303-331-7590. For information visit: www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/fmp/fmp.asp
Some Veterans traveling or living overseas can telephone the Foreign Medical Program toll free from these countries: Germany 0800-1800-011; Australia 1800-354-965; Italy 800-782-655; United Kingdom (England and Scotland) 0800-032-7425; Mexico 001-877-345-8179; Japan 00531-13-0871; Costa Rica 0800-013-0759; and Spain 900-981-776. (Note: Veterans in Mexico or Costa Rica must first dial the United States country code.)
VA offers Veterans, Servicemembers, their dependents and Caregivers their own personal health record through My HealtheVet, found at www.myhealth.va.gov.
My HealtheVet's free, online Personal Health Record is available 24/7, wherever there is Internet access. Those with an upgraded account (obtained by completing the one-time In-Person Authentication* process) can:
With My HealtheVet, Veterans can access trusted health information to better manage personal health care and learn about other VA benefits and services.
My HealtheVet helps Veterans partner with VA health care teams by providing tools to make shared, informed decisions. Simply follow the directions on the Website to register. VA patients registered on My HealtheVet can begin to refill VA medications online. Veterans can also use the VA Blue Button to view, print, or download the health data currently in their My HealtheVet account. Veterans can share this information with family, Caregivers or others such as non-VA health care providers. It puts the Veteran in control of information stored in My HealtheVet. Accessible through My HealtheVet, VA Blue Button also provides Veterans who were discharged from military service after 1979 access to DoD Military Service Information. This information may include Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) codes, pay details, service dates, deployment, and retirement periods.
*To access the advanced My HealtheVet features, Veterans will need to get an upgraded account by completing a one-time process at their VA facility called In-Person Authentication. Visit My HealtheVet at www.myhealth.va.gov, register and learn more about In-Person Authentication PLUS the many features and tools available 24/7 anywhere with Internet access. Veterans with questions should contact the nearest My HealtheVet Coordinator.
VA has long advocated for Caregivers as vital partners in providing care worthy of the sacrifices by America's Veterans and Servicemembers with each VA medical center containing a designated Caregiver support point of contact to coordinate Caregiver activities and serve as a resource expert for Veterans, their families and VA providers. Several programs are available for all Veteran Caregivers including:
In-Home and Community Based Care: Skilled home health care, homemaker/home health aide services, community adult day health care and Home Based Primary Care.
Respite Care: Designed to relieve the family Caregiver from the constant burden of caring for a chronically ill or disabled Veteran at home. Services can include in-home care, a short stay in an institutional setting or adult day health care.
Caregiver Education and Training Programs: VA currently provides multiple training opportunities which include pre-discharge care instruction and specialized Caregiver programs in multiple severe traumas such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Spinal Cord Injury/Disorders, and Blind Rehabilitation. VA has a Caregiver assistance healthy living center on My HealtheVet, www.myhealth.va.gov, as well as Caregiver information on VA's main Webpage.
Family Support Services: These support groups can be face-to-face or on the telephone. They include family counseling, spiritual and pastoral care, family leisure and recreational activities and temporary lodging in Fisher Houses.
Travel: VA's Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program entitles the designated family Caregiver to beneficiary travel benefits. These benefits include:
Other Benefits: VA provides durable medical equipment and prosthetic and sensory aides to improve function, financial assistance with home modification to improve access and mobility, and transportation assistance for some Veterans to and from medical appointments.
On May 5, 2010, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 was signed into law. Title I of the Act will allow VA to provide unprecedented benefits to eligible Caregivers (a parent, spouse, child, step-family member, extended family member, or an individual who lives with the Veteran, but is not a family member) who support the Veterans who have given so much for this Nation. The law distinguishes between Veterans who incurred or aggravated a serious injury in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001 (post-9/11 Veterans), and those Veterans whose injuries were incurred prior to Sept. 11, 2001 (pre-9/11 Veterans).
The new services for this group include: