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VA health care income limits

Read this page to get answers to common questions about income limits for VA health care.

What are VA health care income limits?

Each year, we publish our current annual income limits for VA health care. These limits may affect your VA health care eligibility and costs.

Some Veterans are eligible for free care for non-service-connected conditions based on their VA disability rating, pension payments, or other factors (like receiving the Medal of Honor). If you’re not eligible based on these factors, you may still be eligible if your income falls below our current income limits.

Income limits change each year and depend on these factors:

  • Where you live
  • If you have a spouse or other dependents
  • If you have certain deductible expenses (expenses that you can subtract from your income)

What does VA count as income for health care income limits?

We count last year’s income from everyone in your household. Your household includes you, your spouse, and your dependents if you have them. We count these 3 types of income:

  • Gross income from any jobs (before subtracting taxes and any deductions)
  • Net annual income from a farm, property, or business (after subtracting taxes and any deductions)
  • Some other sources of income that don’t come from a job

Gross income includes any of these income sources:

  • Wages
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Severance pay

Other income includes money from sources like these:

  • Retirement benefits
  • Unemployment
  • VA benefit compensation
  • Money from the sale of a house
  • Interest from investments

What expenses does VA deduct for health care income limits?

We deduct these expenses from last year to lower the amount of money we count as your income for VA health care eligibility:

  • Non-reimbursable medical expenses
  • Educational expenses for your own college or vocational training
  • Funeral or burial expenses for a spouse or dependent child who has died

Non-reimbursable medical expenses include costs you or your spouse paid on medical expenses for yourselves, your dependents, or others you have the moral obligation to support. This includes costs from these types of health care:

  • Doctor or dentist appointments
  • Medications
  • Medicare or health insurance
  • Inpatient hospital care
  • Nursing home care

College and vocational expenses include payments for these expenses related to your own education:

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Fees
  • Course materials

Only include expenses for your own education (not your dependents’ education).

Does VA verify the income information I provide for health care?

This depends on your situation. If the information you provide shows that your income falls below our limits and qualifies you for free VA health care, medications, or both, we’re required by law to verify the information. We do this by confirming your information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Check your current income limits and VA health care

Because of tax deadlines, we usually begin this process in July, the year after you report your income. So, for example, if you provide information for the year 2022, we’ll verify it in July of 2023.

What happens if VA confirms my income is above health care limits?

If the information we receive from the IRS and the SSA shows that you have income above our limits, we’ll send you a letter. If you disagree with our information, you can respond and dispute the information. 

Here’s what happens if you don’t respond to the letter:

  • After 45 days, we’ll send you a reminder letter.
  • After 75 days, we’ll assume the information from the IRS and the SSA is correct. We’ll send you a letter to explain your current eligibility or copay status and how you can appeal our decision.

Here’s what happens if you dispute the information:

We’ll assign an income verification case manager to work with you. You can also bring your own representative.

Your case manager will help you find any deductions that may reduce your income below our limits. We try to resolve all cases within 75 days.

If we still decide that your income is above our limits, we’ll send you a final letter to explain your eligibility or copay status and how to appeal our decision.

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