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Veteran Outreach

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. 

What if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

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:

Find out how to apply for a discharge upgrade
Learn about the VA Character of Discharge review process

Is there anything that will make me more likely to get these benefits?

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

What if I need help filling out my application?

You can get help in any of these ways:

  • Call our toll-free hotline at 877-222-8387, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

  • Get help from an accredited representative (a trained professional trusted to help with VA-related claims).
    Request a representative

What are the priority groups and how do they affect me?

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.

Learn more about priority groups

I have other health insurance. Does that affect whether I can get VA health care benefits?

No. Whether or not you have other health insurance coverage doesn’t affect the VA health care benefits you can get.
Learn more about how VA works with other insurance

When I leave active-duty service, how do I know if I'm eligible for TRIECARE, VA health care or both?

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.

Learn more about health care benefits for transitioning service members

If I can't get VA health care benefits, how else can I get health insurance?

Visit to find out if you qualify for health insurance.
Go to

If I don't qualify for VA health care benefits, can I still get care for certain needs (like PTSD or military sexual trauma)?


Find out how you may still be able to get care for:

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.

I need vision care. Can I get it through VA?

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

I need dental care. Can I get it through VA?

In certain cases, you may receive dental care as part of your VA health benefits.
Find out if you can get dental care through VA

I think I may have a service-connected disability. Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments)?

If you have an illness or injury that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service, you may be able to get disability compensation.
Find out if you qualify for disability benefits

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. 

Our team

If you are a Veteran, or family member, you can get support by contacting a VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System outreach coordinator.

Man smiling

Devin Wilgus

Public Affairs Outreach Coordinator

VA Northeast Ohio health care


More eligibility information you may need