Connecting Veterans to their healthcare services through outreach initiatives and opportunities.
Am I eligible for VA health care benefits?
You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served in the active military, naval, or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge.
If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, you must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty, unless any of the descriptions below are true for you.
This minimum duty requirement may not apply if any of these are true:
- You were discharged for a disability that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, or
- You were discharged for a hardship or “early out,” or
- You served prior to September 7, 1980
If you’re a current or former member of the Reserves or National Guard, you must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. If you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only, you don’t qualify for VA health care.
Frequently asked questions.
Below you will find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA benefits.
There are 2 ways you can try to qualify:
Yes. You may qualify for enhanced eligibility status (meaning you’ll be placed in a higher priority group, which makes you more likely to get benefits) if you meet at least one of these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
- You receive financial compensation (payments) from VA for a service-connected disability
- You were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
- You were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
- You’re a recently discharged combat Veteran
Learn more about enhanced eligibility for returning combat Veterans
- You get a VA pension
- You’re a former prisoner of war (POW)
- You have received a Purple Heart
- You have received a Medal of Honor
- You get (or qualify for) Medicaid benefits
- You served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- You served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
- You served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
If none of the above apply to you, you may still qualify for care based on your income. Learn more about how the amount of money your family makes can affect whether you qualify for VA benefits.
Learn more about income limits
When you apply for VA health care, you’ll be assigned 1 of 8 priority groups. This system helps to make sure that Veterans who need immediate care can get signed up quickly.
Your priority group may affect how soon we sign you up for health care benefits. It may also affect how much (if anything) you’ll have to pay toward the cost of your care.
If you’re retiring, you’re eligible for TRICARE. You may also qualify for certain VA health care benefits.
If you’re separating from service due to a service-connected illness or injury, you may be eligible for VA health care benefits and certain TRICARE benefits.
If you’re an OEF/OIF/OND combat Veteran who has just returned from service, you can receive free medical care for any condition related to your service in Iraq or Afghanistan for 5 years after discharge.
Find out how you may still be able to get care for:
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Learn more about PTSD treatment services
- Other mental health problems (like depression or substance abuse)
Learn more about mental health treatment services
- Mental and physical health problems linked to military sexual trauma (MST)
Learn more about MST treatment services
Or, call our general VA hotline at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET to find out what your care options may be.
We cover routine eye exams and preventive tests under VA health care benefits. In some cases, you may get coverage for eyeglasses or services for blind or low vision rehabilitation.
Learn more about vision care through VA
About our Outreach mission
The VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System's commitment to Veteran education takes place on the front lines with our Veteran Outreach Coordinators. The main mission of our coordinators is to educate Veterans about their benefits and help them navigate the enrollment process in order to connect them to healthcare services.
Veteran Outreach also works to gather and distribute educational materials and benefit information to Veterans and their family members. Coordinators actively partner with clinical and administrative staff to ensure Veterans are receiving accurate information.
One of the most important elements of Veterans Outreach is meeting Veterans and their families to discuss benefit and enrollment opportunities This happens in the field at various events across our territory and within our facilities.
If you are a Veteran, or family member, you can get support by contacting a VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System outreach coordinator.