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Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for free emergency health care

Veterans Crisis Line 988
Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.

Effective Jan. 17, VA will provide, pay for, or reimburse the cost of eligible veterans’ emergent suicide care and treatment at a VA, or non-VA facility for up to 30 days, and outpatient care for no more than 90 days, including social work.

This includes ambulance transportation costs, inpatient, or crisis residential care.

Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.

This expansion of care will help prevent veteran suicide by guaranteeing no cost, world-class care to veterans in times of crisis. It will also increase access to acute suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in VA.

VA has submitted an interim final rule to the federal register to establish this authority under section 201 of the Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment (COMPACT) Act of 2020. The final policy, which took effect on Jan. 17, allows VA to:

  • Provide, pay for, or reimburse for treatment of eligible individuals’ emergency suicide care, transportation costs, and follow-up care at a VA or non-VA facility for up to 30 days of inpatient care and 90 days of outpatient care.
  • Make appropriate referrals for care following the period of emergency suicide care.
  • Determine eligibility for other VA services and benefits.
  • Refer eligible individuals for appropriate VA programs and benefits following the period of emergency suicide care.

Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:

  • Veterans who were discharged or released from active duty after more than 24 months of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces, including reserve service members, who served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation either directly or by operating an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Former members of the armed forces who were the victim of a physical assault of a sexual nature, a battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment while serving in the armed forces.

 

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