VA Health Care Eligibility – Can You Receive VA Health Care?

Many military veterans aren't aware they are eligible to receive medical care through the VA.
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Table of Contents
  1. How to Establish Eligibility for VA Medical Benefits
  2. VA Health Care Eligibility Questionnaire
  3. Applying for VA Health Care Benefits
  4. Required Supporting Documentation
  5. VA Health Care Enrollment
  6. VA Identification Card
  7. Options for Veterans Who Are Ineligible for VA Health Care Coverage

Many military veterans aren’t aware they are eligible for VA health care benefits. The common misconception is that veterans can only use VA medical care facilities if they have a service-connected disability rating. Veterans with a service-connected disability rating can use VA medical centers, but health care benefits aren’t only limited to those individuals.

Let’s dispel some of the myths about VA health care eligibility, see who is eligible, and learn how you can apply for VA health care benefits.

Two things to remember:

  1. This is only general information. Each case is unique, and final benefits decisions rest with the VA.
  2. VA health care eligibility only means you can visit VA medical centers and clinics for health care. It does not necessarily mean all health care is 100% free (some medical care may be free, however, many veterans may be required to pay a co-pay).

There may be limitations on the type of health care you may be eligible for, and some medical care may require a co-pay or other associated cost, depending on your VA Priority Group, the nature of your coverage, and the medical care you receive.

How to Establish Eligibility for VA Medical Benefits

VA Health Care Eligibility Requiments

VA health care eligibility is based upon active duty military service in the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, or Merchant Marines (during WWII).

Members of the National Guard and Reserves may be eligible for VA health care benefits if they were called to active duty on a Federal Executive Order (this generally excludes active duty for training purposes). Other groups of servicemembers may also be eligible for VA medical care.

Misconceptions about VA health care eligibility: It is not a requirement to have served in combat or in a war zone. You do not need a service-connected disability rating. You did not need to be injured or wounded while in the service.

VA health care eligibility factors: VA health care eligibility is based on many issues, including active duty military service, type of military discharge, service-connected disabilities, medical conditions incurred while in the service, location of service, and more. You can be eligible based on your service dates, deployments you served on, or other criteria.

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VA Health Care Eligibility Questionnaire

Let’s start by looking at some basic eligibility requirements, based on the VA health care eligibility questionnaire:

1. Are any of these statements true?

  • You served in the active military, naval, or air service and were discharged or released with a rating of Honorable or General under Honorable Conditions
  • You were/are a Reservist or National Guard member and you were called to active duty by a Federal Order (for other than training purposes) and you completed the full call-up period

Veterans have the option of selecting yes or no.

If you answer yes, you will be taken to the following question: Are any of these statements true?

  • You were discharged or separated for medical reasons, early out, or hardship
  • You served in theater of combat operations within the past 5 years
  • You were discharged from the military because of a disability (not preexisting)
  • You are a former Prisoner of War
  • You received a Purple Heart Medal
  • You receive VA pension or disability benefits
  • You receive state Medicaid benefits
  • Served in the Republic of Vietnam from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975
  • Served in the Persian Gulf from August 2, 1990 to November 11, 1998

If you answer Yes to the second question, you most likely qualify for VA health care. You can skip to the section below, labeled “Applying for VA Health Care Benefits.”

If you answer No to either of the two questions above, you may still be eligible for VA medical benefits based on criteria such as your military service or household income. You will need to submit an application for VA health care benefits to learn more based on your specific information.

Important note about household income:

In 2015, the VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and copayment responsibilities. The VA will now only consider a Veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year.

The VA automatically determines the veteran’s income and deductible expenses by matching records with the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.

This reduces the burden on the veteran to file an annual income eligibility form each year. It is estimated that this change will enable some 190,000 more veterans to become eligible for health care benefits in the next 5 years. Learn more.

Applying for VA Health Care Benefits

Once you have established your eligibility for VA health care benefits, you will need to fill out Form 10-10EZ or Form 10-10EZR to apply for benefits. These forms are also used to update your current information if anything has changed. There are several ways you can fill out or update the 10-10EZ: online, by phone, by mail, or in-person at a VA medical facility. Here is the info you need:

  • Online: Visit this link and fill out the form.
  • Phone: Call 1-877-222-VETS (8387), Mon-Fri, 8:00 am – 8:00 pm EST. A VA rep will send you a completed form via mail. You will need to verify and sign the form, then return it to the VA.
  • Mail: Complete Form 10-10EZ or Form 10-10EZR and mail it to Health Eligibility Center, 2957 Clairmont Road, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329-1647.
  • In person: Visit any VA Medical Center or clinic. Here is the VA Directory.

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Required Supporting Documentation

You can reduce the application processing time by providing information about your service when you apply. This includes documentation such as your DD-Form 214 or other military discharge paperwork, service records that indicate you were a POW or received a Purple Heart, or records that show you received hostile fire or imminent danger pay or a combat medal.

VA Health Care Enrollment

This article covers how to enroll in the VA health care system.

Applying with for 10-10EZ and providing all relevant information will generally enroll you in the VA medical care system. Most veterans will automatically remain enrolled in the system from year to year. However, some veterans will need to establish eligibility each year to maintain their enrollment priority. This is generally the case for veterans who qualify for VA medical care based on their income or other information that can change from year to year.

Other veterans may be eligible based on returning from a combat zone within the last five years. Enrollment Priority may change based on the date they returned from the combat zone. The VA will contact you when they need additional information to maintain your enrollment priority.

VA Identification Card

Veterans who are eligible for VA health care are also eligible to receive a Veterans Health Care Identification Card which is used to access VA medical care. These cards have a designation on them indicating a service-connected disability, Purple Heart, or former POW status if applicable.

VA Health Identification Card

The only official use of the card is to receive medical care at VA Medical Facilities, but many veterans also like to show this card as proof of military service if they no longer have a Military ID Card or do not have a state-issued ID card with a veterans designation. This card is only available to veterans who are eligible for VA medical care.

Eligible veterans can apply for a VA ID Card at any VA medical facility. They must fill out the 10-10EZ and have their picture taken. The VA then verifies eligibility and sends out the card within 7-10 business days.

There is a different VA ID Card which is available to all veterans. This card is free from the VA, but is not intended to be used for any specific veterans benefits.

Options for Veterans Who Are Ineligible for VA Health Care Coverage

Veterans who are not eligible for VA health care should look into other health insurance options, such as an employer-sponsored health care plan, health insurance through a spouse, joining a trade organization that offers health insurance, or purchasing an individual health care plan from the Affordable Care Act Exchanges. This article covers health insurance options after leaving the military.

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  1. Alaskan Rifleman says

    It is disturbing how many combat veterans, who are also military retirees, remain ineligible for VA care. Of course, since I am one of them it hits even closer. I want to encourage every veteran and patriotic American citizen to contribute to Army Emergency Relief. Of all military care programs AER is the very best. USAA insures veterans in Alaska at approximately twice the rate of Geico so it’s a no brainer to use Geico unless you’ve been dissatisfied with Geico insurance which is also rather common.
    AETNA is the best insurance company in Alaska. The disaster that is code named Obamacare is the worst of all medical insurance unless you are an illegal alien.
    Good luck our there fellow veterans and fellow Americans. May God bless you and may He bless America.

  2. ivan loochkartt says

    my second wife of twenty years has decided to to get divorce and pursue payment from my 90% disability payment no family involved no children.Is she entitle to part of the moneys from my Viet-Nam disability ??

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ivan,

      I believe VA disability benefits are protected in a divorce. I recommend working with a divorce lawyer that specializes in military-related divorces. They will have the most up to date information and help you understand your rights and hopefully protect your benefits. I wish you and your family the best.

    • Cynthia Prentice says

      VA disability income is used to determine spousal support, some judges will even raise the amount of disability used to calculate support 25% because disability is non-taxable.
      The confusion concerning it being “protected” is the spouse cannot be permanently awarded a percentage they own like they can from military retirement under certain conditions if they were married while you earned the retirement.

  3. Doug Sauter says

    I am an Army Veteran and I do not qualify for VA Health Care benefits. I have private medical insurance. Can I choose to use the VA for my health care and have the VA bill my private medical insurance?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Doug,

      This is a great question. Did the VA provide any paperwork when you applied for VA health care? Some veterans are given a VA Priority Group number, which is how the VA determines the level of healthcare access veterans are eligible to receive. You can learn more about VA Priority Groups.

      The VA also provides some services regardless of VA healthcare eligibility, including care for PTSD, mental health, and sexual trauma.

      If none of this applies to you, then I would call the 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’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, but VA health care can be unique for each individual and it’s often best to get the answers directly from the VA.

      I wish you the best and thank you for your service!

  4. KD says

    Hello Ryan,
    I have been getting VA care for 15+years and have a 40% service connection. I don’t pay for office visits but DO pay medicine co-pays.
    I am wanting to clear out my TSP this year and buy a home. Since I’m already receiving VA care will the income from my TSP of over $150k knock me out of receiving future VA care? If so, what is the limit I can make to avoid losing VA care? Married no kids.
    Thank you so much and for your military service.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello KD, This is a great question, and one I don’t have the answer to. I recommend contacting the VA to get the information straight from the source. Keep in mind, you may have other sources of income that could impact the income limits. Another option is to look into a VA Loan. You can often buy a home with little or no money down when using a VA Loan. That way you can avoid taking too much out of the TSP. The other benefits are not having to worry about exceeding the income limits for VA health care and you will maintain your nest egg for future needs. The downside is a larger mortgage payment. However, that will probably not be a huge monthly increase, depending on the amount of your home purchase. In either case, I recommend running the numbers using different scenarios to determine the best course of action. Best wishes!

  5. Chase says

    I’ve Had 2 Surgeries for inguinal hernias due to injury in AIT training,Then was Honorably discharged because of Daily Chronic pain,,My question is Can I seek va emergency room treatment without va health insurance And will I be compensated for my injuries

  6. Donna Winder says

    For years my husband’s medicine and medical visits were free. Now they want him to pay for his medicine. Nothing has changed on our end. He is still a handyman, self-employee, not working right now because of the coronavirus. Why is it he needs to pay for medicine now? Doesn’t make sense.

  7. Larry W Holcomb says

    My friend has a VA card with no service connected disabilities. He called last week to get a appointment with primary care. They told him he had to go to eligibility again. He was last seen back in 2013. He does not understand why he has to do this since he already has a VA card.

  8. Robert says

    I’ve been in the VA “healthcare system” for years and the system seems to be getting worse. At this point its not a 30 day wait for an appointment its 18 months. Specialty care is non existent in my experience as I have had appointments cancelled because the doctor was no longer there and I was put on a wait list. I have also been turned away for care at one VA where the nurse flat refused to do anything but check my vitals. And most recently I have been unable to even talk to my doctor. He’s always gone for the day or on vacation. So I’m talking to some person about my treatment and have to take their word that they’ve spoken to my doctor. If you can afford healthcare outside the VA use it. In the few times I’ve gone to a non VA doctor I felt like I was a human being and not a burden.

  9. Dawn Boyd says

    Hello Ryan, my dad served in the 82nd airborne back in the 50’s. He get his medical at the va. His knees are shot from jumping out of plane. He did one enlistment in Germany and got out. Is he Eligible for va disability benefit? He is 79 yrs of age at this time and can barely walk. Had a knee surgery that went bad through the va and will not get the other done. He is in constant pain all the time. What is he Eligible for? Please and thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dawn, Thank you for contacting me. Veterans benefits can vary based on when and where the veteran served, whether they have a service-connected disability rating, and many other factors. Because of this, each situation is unique and should be handled by a trained veterans service officer.

      The best thing to do is to contact a veterans benefits counselor at the VA, his county VA office, or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free, individualized claims assistance and can make recommendations based on his specific situation. They will review his claim, his service periods, medical conditions and other factors and help him apply for benefits or an upgrade to his current rating.

      I wish you and your family the best!

  10. Patrick says

    Why does VA have an income eligibility check to be seen by the VA? I am retired Air Force (22 years) and my only income is a Postsl Service and Military retirement which is over the $37,600 VA annual income limit. They never tell you about this during your military service…only when you try to apply for VA medical benefits.
    This is not right!

  11. Mike Traman says

    I am thinking of retirement at 62. I served from 1972-1978, honorable discharge. Can I sign-up for VA healthcare to cover me until 65 and medicare? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mike, I can’t tell you whether or not you qualify for VA healthcare based on an email. Each situation is unique and eligibility can be based on many factors (when and where you served, whether or not you were in a named war or conflict, whether or not you have a service-connected disability rating, your income, and other factors). You will need to contact the VA for more specific information. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  12. Brenda Dolleslager says

    My father served in the navy during the Korean conflict. He is now 90 years old and suffering from dementia. Right now I am providing 24/7 in home care for him. What kind of help can I receive?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brenda,

      I recommend contacting the VA – they should be able to help you understand which benefits may be available for him. Of note, I would look into the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit to see if he qualifies. This can have a somewhat complicated application process, so it may be worth seeking assistance.

      You can also contact your county office of Veterans Affairs, or other veterans organizations such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They often have trained benefits counselors that can assist with benefits claims.

      I wish you and your father the best!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joyce, In most cases, VA medical care is only for the veteran. However, I recommend contacting the VA for verification. I wish you and your family the best.

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, each situation is unique. The best thing to do is to contact the VA for a personalized benefits review. They will help you understand which benefits you will be eligible to receive. Best wishes, and thank you for your service!

  13. Dan says

    I was listed down as a tier 8. I had registered over 15 years but never used any VA health care. When I called about some info they told me I had to do a re assessment on my income.
    I was told that I now make too much money.
    Any suggestions on this?

  14. Glenn says

    I served and retired honorably in 1980 US Navy. During active duty I contracted graves disease. Had two rounds of radioactive cocktail for total thyroid kill. I get a disability check. I now live in Canada. I need a colonoscopy and the wait times are long. Can I get a colonoscopy in my home town?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Glenn, I recommend contacting the VA if you are in their medical system. Alternatively, you can see if you are eligible for TRICARE as a retired military member. Either of these organizations should be able to help you understand your benefits.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

      • Danny says

        I just got back from deployment. I was wondering if a I am covered to go the hospital or do I have to wait the 30 days after getting off active duty to be covered.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Danny, You may still be covered under TRICARE Prime, depending on how long it has been since you returned. If so, your medical care should be 100% covered. So I would check with TRICARE first. Then call the VA if TRICARE is no longer active. The VA should let you know what your status is.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  15. James Morton says

    I am curious if I would qualify for VA medical. I turn 65 in May 2019. Served state side in the USAF from 1972 to 1979. Enlisted 6 years and extended for 1 year. Currently only income is social security. I go on medicare starting in may.

    I don’t know what is better, VA medical or Medicare. My income is just enough to pay for a roof over my head and food for my wife and me and not much more than that. If I ever get cancer or need a transplanted organ, I could not pay for that even with medicare. So I wonder if VA would be a possible alternative. Please note, I have not been diagnosed with anything other than type 2 diabetes.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jim,

      The best thing to do is to contact the VA. They will be able to help you understand your benefits, including whether or not you will be eligible for health care, and if so, what the copays or other associated costs are.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  16. Byron McGill says

    Do I have to retire from military in order to be seen at the VA hospital. I do receive compensation for service connected VA disabilities.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Byron, You should be able to use the VA hospital for some medical care if you have a service-connected disability rating. I encourage you to contact them to ask about your Priority Rating, which services are available to you, and what the costs may be, if any.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gary, VA benefits vary by individual and sometimes based on the specific care being provided. For example, the VA may cover expenses for certain care at other medical centers if they do not offer that coverage. I recommend contacting the VA for a full rundown of your benefits. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  17. Ray says

    Why are veterans living in the Philippines not provided proper healthcare except for service connected disabilities. They go to foreign countries to fight or die in them but can not be treated in them. Even medicare is not covered.

  18. Tim Yoakem says

    I currently have a 30 percent service connected disability rating. I’m hoping to retire early. Can I use the VA for all my healthcare needs?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Tim, You will be eligible for health care through the VA. But it’s difficult to say the exact level of care you will have access to. Health care access will depend on your Priority Group and availability at your local VA health care facility. I recommend contacting the VA to verify which health care you will have access to. This is the only accurate way to be certain.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  19. Michael Swab says

    I thought President Trump signed into law a bill saying that veterans going to VA hospital can also go to other hospitals or clinics other than the VA.

  20. KEITH MATTIS says

    I have used the VA for many years and carry the Medical card. I served from 1971 until 1980 (Vietnam era veteran, but no combat time), honorable discharge. I was on vacation in Florida and went to the VA hospital in Tampa for something minor and they wanted me to do a financial statement before treatment. I left and went to a 24 hour Med Clinic instead. I don’t carry important papers with me on vacation. I use a regional VA clinic close to home for general check-ups and go to the San Antonio VA hospital for any major tests or treatment.

  21. robert says

    why is the v a taking what little civilian health cover i have i am 100%disabled un able to work and this is our soul income because of the v a sucking over 8000 bucks out of the private insurance my wife layed in bed over a week with broncial pneumonia i couldnt take her to the hospital or doctor no im sick and am fighting cancer i want to know why the va does this i thought there was a federal law that says as a 100% disabled vet they cant touch it

  22. Perry Thompson says

    Just wanted to post a quick thank you for sharing this article. I hadn’t used my VA medical benefits, as yet, so I was equally surprised at how little I knew about the apparent changes.

  23. Mark Mardon says

    I’m an Air Force veteran (1984 – 1987, honorable discharge) getting ready to retire. I know that my income is above current caps for eligibility and will likely remain so after I retire. What I’m not clear on is whether I can make use of VA Health Services even if there is some cost to me (co-pay, etc.). It seems like I could get care by paying a co-pay, but when talking to a VA representative, she seemed to indicate otherwise (i.e. that I wouldn’t be eligible for care at all).

    So I guess the basic question is: If my income is above the current eligibility limit for free care, can I still make use of VA services/facilities by paying for them?


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Mark, I believe the VA representative is correct. My understanding is that if your income is too high to qualify for VA care, then you are ineligible for VA care, even if you would be willing to pay a co-pay. Some veterans may otherwise qualify for health care based on when and where they served, whether or not they have any service-connected disability ratings, or other factors. I encourage all veterans to use the eligibility tool on the VA website, or contact the VA for a veterans benefits overview. The VA makes the final determination. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Gregory P Burgard says

        You say to Mr. Palermo are you a spammer, when he asks about income “… told I make too much money and would most likely be denied…” just looking for straight answers. Not trying to be antagonistic. I will apply for benefits but just don’t want to waste my time. An answer to some simple questions makes it easier. 4 years active, 2 years inactive honorable discharge, early 80’s, didn’t spend time in a war zone. No injuries other than a broke wrist while active.

  24. frankie says

    I want to file for chronic pain for a SC spinal problem that has gotten considerably worse. I am already TDIU (80%) and also permanent and total. should I file for another exam? and how do I get help for daily tasks that are now becoming very difficult for me?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Frankie, I cannot comment on specific medical questions. So I recommend contacting a veterans service rep at an organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors that may be able to assist you. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  25. Raeshell Royal says

    Good day,

    I received a claim approval from my civilian job insurance. The claim was made by the DVA Mid-Atlantic CPAC. I looked at the dates and realized it was for routine labs at the VA Clinic. Why are they pulling from my civilian job insurance for labs that I’ve always gotten through the VA?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Raeshell, This is something you will need to ask the VA. I don’t have access to individual records, or the ability to delve into their policy as it applies to individual veterans (each situation may be unique, so the only way to get this information is through the VA). I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  26. Randolph Palermo says

    Hmmm I went to today to apply for VA benefits ,I was told I make too much money and would most likely be denied ,I make 60k per yr ,I served 6 active 22 reserve veteran of Vietnam ,Kosovo ,Iraq …..Just seems kinda strange to me ……

    • Mek says

      With respect, Mr. Palermo. Take your valid state ID and your SS card to a VA Medical Center and, (after September 7, 1980) if you served over two years Honorably or Under Honorable Conditions, you are eligible for benefits. Given also I don’t understand that the only reason a person would not go through eligibility is because you said you were, “…told I make too much money and would most likely be denied…” So you never went through Eligibility? Wrong answer, bro. And does that “Confirm you are NOT a spammer” real or what. Just kidding, nice site.

    • Lanny says

      Once you are approved for Va healthcare and your income changes later can your va healthcare be taken away from you

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Lanny, The VA assigns each veteran to a Priority Group which determines which care they are eligible to receive. The veteran’s Priority Group may change if for various factors, one of which could be income. You would need to contact the VA for your Priority Group and a list of benefits you are eligible to receive in that Group.

        I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  27. Claudia Porter says

    Let’s see… hubby drafted and left Oct 14 1969 and discharged Oct 13 1969. He was gone the entire time…. being discharged on that date cost him one year of points when he went back into the Guards. Many do not realize this was done. . He was drafted into the Marines. He has been denied VA health 3 times….. income each time, fact he stayed stateside, boot camp wasn’t at Lejune. ( wTer issue)… he did break his foot in boot camp, but has a 0 percent disability from that. He was basically told to lie and start complaining about it. He won’t do that. Yes, he gets a pension and social security. But he was basically conscripted, to spend 2 years away from home by his government and they gratefully say thank you with a hearing test. All veterans who were drafted.. ie mandated to leave their homes should automatically be granted services no matter where they served, income, whatever.

    • randy says

      if he has a 0 percent rating then he is rated by VA and can receive health care. only free coverage is for things you are rated on though. also could you lend me the secret of time travel? how was he discharged the day before he was drafted.

  28. Paul Edward Thinel says

    My civilian Driving license was cancel by my mental-Health doctor for failing to remember points of an orally read article about some nonsense that made no sense whatsoever?
    My Care-giver was also in attendance with me.
    However, she also could not remember or make any sense either which By the standard Would have made her in the same position as I!
    Go figure ?
    Seems like we are both incompetent too be on any public highways ? In interjecting, we have no violations of laws and/or points of any kind.
    I held a professional trucking license as-well ?
    Please note that we’re in a position of even more reliance on others?
    Are you able to make any sense out of this?

    What can I do to help my self ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Paul, I recommend working closely with a veterans advocate or Veterans Service Officer to help you appeal this decision. I would try contacting the VFW, AMVETS, DAV, American Legion, or a similar organization to see if they can put you in touch with someone who can offer personalized assistance. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  29. James Pittman says

    I’m a former Marine reservist .I was injured in a vehicle accident caused by a civilian.Members of my unit were in transit back to our unit when the accident happned. We were in military vehicles and in uniform. The accident happened 89′. Could I possibly be eligible for any medical benefits.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello James, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, it may be possible, but you would need documentation of some sort to prove the accident happened while you were on duty, or in Drill status. This might include a Line of Duty report or sworn statements from those who were with you when the accident occurred. Then you would need to prove the accident caused health conditions that have negatively impacted your quality of life.

      I recommend working with a Veterans Service Organization on your claim (DAV, AMVETS, VFW< American Legion, etc.). They have trained benefits counselors that offer free claims assistance and should be able to help you understand exactly which forms are needed and how to apply. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  30. Randall austin says

    I was in the army reserves from 1991- 1999 just basic and ait.i was stationed in Memphis tn and went into irr shortly after I return home from training.i was never called up but received an honorable discharge in 1999. Can I go to the va in Memphis since I have no healthcare?

    • Catherine A Nelson says

      Hi, I was active duty Navy from 1981 to 1985. Honorable discharge. Do I qualify for any type of health care coverage? If I cannot get Medicare until I am 65 am I able to get some sort of health care before I turn 65? Also…From what I read if you were not active duty during “wartime” you are not eligible for any health care. Also….I read that I cannot even get a veteran ID card. Why is it that I cannot even get a card just because I served under the “peacetime”? It seems that literally all I can get is a VA loan. Doesn’t seem right to me that we serve and yet get nothing. Is this correct. Thanks…Petty Officer Second Class

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Catherine,

        Thank you for your comment. VA health care is on a case by case basis. You will need to contact the VA or use their online eligibility tool to determine if you are eligible for VA health care or not.

        The VA has new ID cards, which are available to all honorably discharged veterans. You can learn more here.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Kristina says

        Girlfriend, you were active duty you can qualify for VA care…I’ve worked at the VA for over 10 years an am a vet myself., Navy as well, 1988-1990. You need to go to the eligibility dept at the VA and apply. Bring in your DD-214 or they will send for it. But you can get healthcare there trust me…You are only ineligible if you served less than 2 years active duty or only did reserve… If you didn’t apply do it soon. Don’t wait…

      • Kristina says

        Hi there, from what I’ve experienced. You need to go to eligibility at your local VA center and ask to apply for healthcare. Bring your DD-214, you might have to pay a copay if you are too much money…Free Healthcare are for Vets under the income threshold usually… And 100% SC vets. But go in and ask not call, if you’ve not done already.

  31. Gary Liss says

    I served in the 82nd airborne 1963 through 1966. I spent 6 months in the Dominican Republic. I received the combat infantry men badge. Why is that tour not the same as combat in other wars? We came under fire and returned fire. There were Purple Hearts awarded. I did get hearing aids from the VA but no disability. I tried but could not be connected to my tour. I have ringing in my ears which I thought might be from the noise from my jumps who knows anyways been denied twice and was sent off to the board of Veterans Appeals in Washington D.C. In January 20 2016. They said they would notify me when they received them. Still waiting to see if they got them. Thank you.

  32. Joe Chapin says

    When I enlisted in 1963, I was told I would get VA benefits including health coverage when I left the Navy. Now a bunch of corrupt politicians have passed a law stopping my benefits because I make too much household income. My future earnings were not a consideration when I enlisted and was given certain assurances by an official of the federal government. How is that legal? As an aside, how much did congress and the VA administration reduce their own benefits? I think I know the answer to that one!!!! Joe

  33. Donnie Howell says

    I was in the National Guard from 1980 to 1986. I joined when I was 17 and turned 18 in basic training. I did my 6 years and got out with an honorable discharge. I don’t receive any kind of benefits or health care because there was no war at the time.
    I have a niece that went in a few years ago and barely finished basic training. She never even went to AIT. She now receives all VA benefits including medical. She even has a service dog and a VA therapist. If serving on active duty consist of basic training I did that myself.
    I believe that I wasted 6 years of my life. It’s just not fair.

  34. Don says

    My father is 95 yrs old and a World War ll vet. He has a medical card and someone in the Menifee, CA office told him he needs to have a physical/check up every year to maintain coverage. Is this true?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Don,

      Thank you for contacting me. The VA likes veterans to receive a check up each year so they are current in the system. The VA also receives funding for the veteran care they provide. So it helps keep things running, so to speak. I’m not sure if your father would lose his coverage, but waiting a long time between appointments may cause delays for scheduling, or may require additional checkups.

      In short, it’s not a bad idea to be seen every so often. It’s also good for health care screening.

      I wish you, and your father, the best.

  35. Jim says

    If someone was an infantry “combat” veteran from the Gulf War who entered into Kuwait and inhaled oil fire fumes for more than a few days and has noticed odd breathing symptoms over the years but never did anything about it, could this possibly be considered a service time related injury- even this late in this person’s life?

    If this person ever does not have health insurance at some point in their life , as a “combat” veteran this person should be entitled to VA Healthcare benefits – )regardless of the possible service related injury)- correct?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jim, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, it may be possible, but it’s not certain. I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They have trained counselors who can help you with a benefits claim. They will let you know what information and paperwork is needed, how to fill out the forms, and more info.

      I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  36. Philip schuessler says

    My father served in the army between 1951 to 1955 is he eligible for va benefits and if he is what type. Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Philip, Thank you for contacting me. There is a good chance he is eligible for some veterans benefits. However, I won’t be able to tell you which specific benefits he may be eligible to receive, because each situation is unique. I recommend he visit the nearest VA clinic or a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.

      Each of these organizations have trained individuals who can offer free benefits claims assistance. They will review his service and help him understand the benefits he may be eligible to receive. I hope this points you in the right direction!

  37. Joe says

    I do not understand all of these people saying they were denied VA treatment. I have no problem getting treatment at the VA. At the present time, I am getting radiation treatment at a Scott & White cancer center on the VA’s dime. I have a buddy who served for 3 years, he gets VA treatment too.
    I was in for 20 years. If you are a vet, you are eligible. Period.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joe, there are certain eligibility requirements that many veterans do not meet. Not every veteran is eligible for VA health care. I encourage every veteran to visit the VA to determine their eligibility status.

  38. Nancy Burden says

    My father in-law was drafted in 1958 and served for 2 years in Germany. Was honorably discharged in 1960. He is eligible to use the VA for outpatient services but has been told that he will not qualify for Aid and Attendance for entrance to the VA nursing home Alzheimer’s unit due to the fact that he did not serve during wartime. This just doesn’t seem fair. His military records were lost in the Big St Louis fire so we don’t have much information to go on.

    • Martha A. Windisch says

      My father also served from 1958 to around 1960 or 1961 – he was drafted and sent to Austria and was honorably discharged- at 86 we need to hire an in-home part time aid to help him stay in his home – since he did not serve during a time of war, is it possible that he could get any help paying for an in-home aid?

  39. Robert Shearer says

    A friend of mine spent approx 30-45 days in active duty in the US Navy. While in training he was told he was not eligible for the career field he was gauranteed. He was offered the oppurtuiny to choose another field or separate with an honorable discharge. He chose to separate, does that make him ineligible for VA medical Care ?

  40. Juan. Lopez says

    I serve in kuwait in 2002 (8 months)Persian war.I was discharged with under honorable conditions (general) I only serve for 22 months in total. I am almost sure I have the persian gulf syndrome but I haven’t applied for anything because they told me I had to serve minimum 24 months.

  41. Steve says

    I was medically discharged with 20 months in. I was released after being sent to a variety for mental evaluation. I certainly home and registered and used the VA hospital. I have been away from it for a few years and when I went back, they said I was not eligible and I would have to pay back what I had used if I try to proceed with getting back in the system. I do not understand how I was eligible and now I am not. Is this just to prevent me from trying or is this a real thing. I need help with a major issue simular to when I was discharged but now they just ran me off.

  42. Rodney says

    I recently separated from the Corps. I am currently rated with the VA at 80 percent. My new jobs health plan is garbage. I know I’ll be taken care of through the VA, but is my wife and daughter eligible for health insurance through the VA?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ken, Thank you for contacting me. That depends on which type of insurance he has. You will need to ask him to review his policy to see if you are eligible. For example, VA Health Care is generally limited to the member only. However, some other forms of insurance may allow you to have coverage, provided the premiums are paid. You would need to check with the insurance company for more specific information.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Ray, No – the VA is for military veterans only. Any reports of immigrants using the VA medical system are most likely rumors, or an edge case taken out of context. For example, I don’t believe the VA hospitals, or any hospital for that matter, would turn someone away during a true emergency.

  43. John Greenstone says

    I have a question for you: I was a USMC reservist and have an Honorable Discharge Form DD-256. I know that as such I am not, generally speaking, eligible for health benefits under the VA. However, I also lived in Camp Lejeune for 6 years as a child dependent while my father was stationed there, 1964-1966 then again 1968-1972. This falls within the time period of the water contamination problem there. Would the VA take that into consideration for possibly allowing me health benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have an answer for you. You would need to contact the VA. That said, if you have health conditions that may be linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, then it would be in your interest to be examined by a civilian doctor. Be sure to get a statement that links any health conditions you have to that exposure if the doctor believes your medical conditions were caused by that exposure. I don’t have advice for receiving compensation as a civilian. My guess is that you would need to hire a lawyer and file a civil lawsuit.

      I am not trained in law or medicine, so unfortunately, I can only answer based on what I would do if I were in that situation. I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

    • Victor says


      According to the VA, American Merchant Marine in Oceangoing Service during the period December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, is considered “active duty” for the purposes of all laws administered by the VA if the merchant seamen met certain criteria.

      This so far was the only time that Marchant Mariners were provided VA benefits.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joanna, Thank you for contacting me. That depends on whether or not you received a VA disability rating of 10% or greater. There are many ways to qualify for VA medical care that do not automatically entitle one to disability compensation.

      You can verify whether or not you received a VA disability rating by contacting the VA hotline, or by reviewing the Award Letter the VA sends out to all recipients of VA disability compensation. The award letter will state your rating and the monthly compensation payment, along with any back pay, if any was awarded.

  44. Zach says

    If a Service member was discharged after just over a year of Service because of medical reasons, would they potentially eligible for disability?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Zach, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, it’s possible, but not a guarantee. One would need to file a claim. I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. Most of them offer free veterans benefits claims assistance and they should be able to help you get a copy of your records and file a disability claim. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  45. James Rowe says

    I spent 6 yrs in the National Guard from 1965 to 1971 and was Honorably discharged. I am wondering if basic training activation falls under the “training” which disqualifis me from VA membership.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello James, typically one is required to have active duty service, for other than training purposes. In most cases, the two week annual training does not count as active duty service, unless the orders state it is for active duty. You would need to review your records to verify your service.

  46. Mark Aloway says

    I am rated as 80% VA service connected disability. Where can I go get a list of services that are available to me at that rating?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Mark, Each case is unique. The best thing to do is contact the VA and ask them to give you a personalized benefits overview. They will review your profile and give you a list of services you are eligible to receive.

  47. DENISE GARCIA says

    My father is an ALS pt, receives VA benefits BUT the appointmentsame are spread out to far and in between and he needs care more often that doesn’t fit in with the schedulesame available to him from the VA facilities. He also is in need of full time nursing care while I WORK. Are there other options for him as far as coverage and full time care?

  48. Rick Falkiewicz says

    My wife and I file a joint tax return a. I’m retired and she is working. I’m sure our total income would be way over the limit. If we filed separate, would they only look at my income which a pension and SS.

  49. Candy says

    If I am on Cobra and elect the Veteran’s Administration benefit, am I eligible to remain on Cobra? Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Candy, I am not 100% certain. I would look at which benefits are covered by the VA. Depending on your coverage, you may be better off keeping COBRA. Also COBRA can be used for an entire family. Generally the VA benefit is only for the service member. The best thing to do is examine your VA benefits and determine if they cover 100% of your needs. If so, you can most likely cancel your COBRA coverage and save your money. But if the VA health care benefits don’t cover everything, then you are likely better off keeping COBRA. As to whether you are required to cancel COBRA if you have other health care benefits, I don’t have an answer. You will need to research your COBRA plan to determine the rules (each plan may have different requirements, and I can’t speak on the specifics of your plan). I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  50. David says

    Hi my name is David , I’m trying to find out if my father is eligible for benefit , he was honorably discharged in 1946 but he only served 2 months 12 days , my mother is in the nursing home , he’s not in the best health . They don’t have any retirements all they have is social security between them they get 1,600 month the nursing home will in up with there house etc. I’m wondering if eligible they would help with nursing home bills etc. thanks David

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, Thank you for contacting me. The best thing to do is schedule a meeting wit h a VA benefits counselor to find out if they are eligible for benefits. This can be done at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc.

      Be sure to have relevant information, such as dates served, and a copy of the discharge paperwork if you have it. The benefits counselor can help you understand which benefits, if any, your father may be eligible to receive. Specifically look into health care and the Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefit.

  51. Vicky Thatch says

    I am a Widow of a Deceased Retired/Disabled Veteran – and I am turning 65 in 2016. I need to speak to someone about TRI-CARE benefits.
    I live in Clinton Township, MI. Any ideas where I should go?

  52. Dan says

    Question: I was medically separated after 6 years of service (AA). When I was being out-processed the out-processing DEERS gave me a Brown VA card and I was told once I separated to use the VA card for I would receive extra benefits for two years. I was given an initial rating of 80%. My wallet was lost in my ETS move, and when I went to my local DEERS office they said a mistake was made and I shouldn’t have received the card in the first place. Is this correct, or should I be eligible for the card?

  53. Michael says

    I’m a veteran of only 3 years. 8 years ago i retired from my job an went the VA office in San Diego,Ca. an there they told me I can’t get health care benefits because i was not in a zone war zone. I was in from 1972 to 1975 ? I never left California, was at Ft.Ord all 3 years!

    • victor says


      Unfortunately, the VA representative is right. Under the current VA health care rules since you are not a combat Veteran, your VA health care is based upon your financial status. You may have served during a war time period by federal standards, but you do not have VA health care available to you.

      My question to you would be, do you have any chronic conditions documented in your service treatment records that exists today? What was your job in the military?


  54. Anthony Baptista says

    Hello , I was just 17 yrs old when I was assigned to the USS Enterprise CVN-65 I served proudly for 9 months before my General Under Honorable Conditions discharge. They had some program in place that allowed early out for service members, I did not want out but was so young I truly did not understand this option as I never got in trouble and did my job. I had à water tight hatch hit me in the face one day which hurt like hell. After a month or so of severe pain in my TMJ a Navy Surgeon at Bremerton Naval Hospital performed Major Surgery on my right side of my face ( TMJ). This Dr. Captain Howe advised me I would have problems the rest of my life be was correct. Since 1982 I have had 5 major surgeries on that right side and 1 on the left. I sent back to my ship on limited duty while on sea trials one day I was called to the Personnel Office where I was presented with this Early Out option, it was explained to me that it would be in my best interest to get out of the Navy then because if I got out on a medical discharge it would cause major problems for me in the Private Work Force once my 4 yr hitch was up. As a side note for the next 27 years after my Naval discharge I served my community in both EMS and Law Enforcement until I was shot on duty 22 months ago in the stomach working in the Private security sector. I never tried to apply for VA medical benefits because 1. I was embarrassed for getting this Early Out discharge 2. After 9/11/2001 and our soldiers were coming home with combat injuries I just felt they deserved the VA system more than I , I would have given up my life or limb both during my Naval service and my civilian duties. Would I qualify for VA health care as my TMJ problems is now recognized by the AMA as a medical problem and I am on Social Security Disability at 52 yrs old. Thank You for your service and Advocacy Tony R. Baptista (chronicpainsocoetycom)

    • victor says


      First of all, thank you for your service to our country.

      Secondly, yes you would be service connected with TMJ by the VA as long as…..

      -your service treatment records contain documentation about chronic TMJ


      -there is CURRENT medical documentation that the condition has been clinically diagnosed


      -there that there has been continuous treatment by your doctor.

      What you need to do is get all of your dental records from your Orthodontist and then visit your Veteran County Service Officer to submit a claim for TMJ. Once the claim is submitted, the VA will request your service treatment records from the National Personnel Records center to validate your condition and hopefully service-connect your dental condition.

      Please do now wait any longer.


  55. Julia says

    Hi Ryan,

    My stepdad served in the Vietnam War but he lost his discharge paperwork. Can you tell me how I can go about getting him signed up for possible VA benefits?

    Thank you!

  56. Charlie Jensen says

    I am a veteran and do receive VA medical care.
    My query concerns my son who was discharged (Honorably, of course) from the Navy (E-6) earlier this year after eight years active duty. He made a good salary while serving and his wife worked also. Someone told him that he was not eligible due to his income. I thought that he would be eligible but would incur a co-pay for both drugs and hospitalization.
    He is healthy, but cardiac problems run in our family. I worry that, if he has a problem and then has to start some paperwork there will be a delay. I read of veterans having long waiting times to be enrolled. I would like him to apply as a hedge against the future.
    So it really boils down to what, if any, is the amount he can earn (the last year) and still be eligible for care should it be needed. There must be some cut-off amount.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Charlie, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend your son go through the VA after separating from the military. They will enter his information into the system and annotate anything that may be considered a service-related medical condition. Even if they give a rating of 0%, that acknowledges the condition occurred while in the military and may make him eligible for benefits at a later date if the condition worsens.

      As for the income limits for medical care, I don’t have an exact answer. I recommend all veterans contact the VA and sit down for a full benefits counseling session. They will find out each program they may be eligible for, including health care. They would also get information for income limitations at that time.

  57. Yisrael Shmuel Freedman says

    03 August 2015
    09:17 Z

    Ken, I recently applied to a Veterans Organization. It is not a well-known or major organization; more of a ‘club’. Sadly, they do NOT recognize the VA ID Memberhip Card ‘Service Connected’ as proof of Honorable Service. ( I know that the VA researches the Veterans records for [that] information.; DD-214, DD-215, etc.

    I later discovered that the Secretary of the ‘club’ canceled his VA ID Member ship Card and wants nothing to do with the VA, I detect discrimination here based on his personal bad experiences with the VA only. He stated his reasons in a recent E-Mail to me. It’s very obvious his hatred towards the VA.

    I’ve been reassured by several VA doctors, Nurses as well as Administrators in major VA facilities that the VA ID Membership Card is a valid indication that the Veteran at issue infact served his country ‘Honorably’. I did! And, I’d do it again in an instant!

    I really wanted to join this club, but the Secretary is standing in the way with his personal grudge(s).

    Sam, USN ’66 ~ ’72
    USN RM3 (DD & MCB) (Vietnam Vet ’68 Disabled)

  58. Pam Gibson says

    My Father was in the Army during the Korean conflict. Therefore making him eligible for 24/7 care for Alzheimer’s at the VA facilities in Mission, TX back in 2005-2006. Would this also make my Mother (his Wife) eligible for care at the same VA facilility?

  59. Ron Caudill says

    Senator John Boozman, R-Ark introduced Act S.743 (Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act and has 14 Cosponsors.
    I served 25 years in the US Army Reserve with 6 months in basic training and AIT while also working a full time job. When active duty personnel took off their uniforms, I put mine on etc. When adding up all of my Active Duty for Training time it adds up to more than 5 years of ADT. I understand that the Senate is trying to recognize the service of soldiers who served in the guard/reserve by honoring them with the status of veterans under law.
    This Act would recognize all of the hard work and sacrifices made seems much more fair to me and I definitely think that the Senate should pass this Act making all of us veterans for proudly serving our country. I fully support this Act S.743 and think that is long passed due.

  60. Ken Drake says

    Served 67 To 71. Missed the signing date, maybe Feb 1st 2003. Due to the fact I have over 80k in the bank the VA deems me not eligible. They punish me for being somewhat successful in life. How fair is this. Ken

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ken, Thank you for contacting me. You may wish to try for benefits again. The VA recently dropped the net worth test from their eligibility requirements. The VA will now only consider a Veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year. Source. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  61. lloyd says

    my buddy just received a 10% rating from the va we are going to appeal the other denial but what medical benefits can he receive at this rating.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Lloyd, Thank you for contacting me. It’s difficult to answer that question without having more information. Typically at 10%, a veteran is eligible to have health care related to the medical condition for which he/she has a disability rating, and possibly additional health care coverage, depending on when and where they served, when they got of the military, income level, and several other factors. In short, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best way to understand one’s benefits is to go to the VA for a benefits overview meeting. A VA representative will sit down with the veteran and explain all the benefits the veteran is eligible to receive. They usually offer some forms of pamphlets and other information. The veteran should also receive an explanation of benefits letter in the mail, but these aren’t always the easiest to understand.

      Another option is to visit a Veterans Service Organization for a benefits overview. Many service organizations have trained benefits counselors who offer free benefits claims assistance and who are also able to help the veteran understand the available benefits and how to apply for and use them. I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  62. Jim says

    New Vets should know that like me and 10’s of thousands who served honorably (6yrs) with no such limits on medical support when I vol. later limits were put on to lock many of us out. Changed the rules, dishonest, FACT!! I own my house, being punished for my hard work of 40yrs. Served 1970- 1976.

    • Joe says

      I own my house, I have been receiving VA medical benefits since 1997. I never had a problem signing up with the VA. Many vets are too lazy to jump through the VA hoops to get treatment.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Wil, Yes, you can. But it’s helpful if you submit a fully formed claim. Try contacting a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They have trained counselors and offer free benefits claims assistance. Best wishes, and thank you for your service!

      • shipdog7 says

        And there are certainly a lot of hoops to jump through. You send them documents they are requesting and they answer back they are not sufficient evidence. Such as exact dates and times of distress in combat 50 years ago. I don’t remember any of my squad members names. Or my officers. I don’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning. All I know was that it was 2 years of hell.

  63. Clayton Jackson says

    I applied for medical and even though I worked a part time job, they said that I made too much and I was denied.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Clayton, the rules depend on how much money you make. If you only recently started working a part time job after earning more money last year, then you may qualify now (the form usually requests the previous year’s income). If you are over the threshold, then you may not be eligible for VA health care benefits unless you qualify for another reason, such as a medical condition that stems from your time in the service, or if you recently separated after serving in a contingency location. Your best bet is to meet with a VA benefits counselor to determine your benefits eligibility, including health care, education, training, VA Loans, and other benefits. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  64. adnerb says

    Is it true that if I haven’t used my VA medical benefits in over 24 months that I lose my benefit eligibility?

    • Ryan Guina says

      No, you shouldn’t lose your eligibility, but you may be inactive in the system. My recommendation is to call the VA and set up an appointment with them to make sure you remain in their system. The VA likes to keep everything up to date. You can expect to visit with a doctor for a few minutes and have all your vitals taken by a nurse (blood pressure, height, weight, etc.). The doctor will inquire as to any changes to your medical conditions since your last visit. If everything is fine, you can request another general exam in a year or so, just so you remain in the system. If there are any problems, then you should try to schedule an exam at that time (if the conditions are covered by the VA for your situation). I hope this helps!

  65. Dennis C. Arterburn says

    I am a Vietnam Era 1968-1972 . When I received my Navy discharge physical exam, it was noted that I had a heart murmur. Could or would this be significant in applying for medical care. I am now 63 years old and receive Social Security.

    When requesting service records are medical records included ?


    • Ryan Guina says

      I do not know for certain if medical records are included. You will need to contact the National Archives for more information. Here are instructions for obtaining your military records.

      Regarding the significance of the heart murmur: right now it’s impossible to say, but it’s always better to have it documented and in the system, just in case. You may find that it gives you access to health care. I wish you the best with your health.

  66. Clay Jackson says

    I served for 26 years active and reserves and when I applied for medical benefits, I was denied at Roanoke, VA. Older Vets just don’t count as much as newer ones, I guess.

  67. Ryan says


    I’m a 31 year old Iraq/Afghanistan veteran who is 140% (100%) paid service connected veteran. My fiancé filed for the VA’s family caregiver support program because of my many TBI’s and PTSD and got approved at tier 1 level. She left her job and lost her health insurance and now needing to see a doctor. I worked as a case analyst for the VA regional office and know the system well, but she qualifies for CHAMPVA, is she auto-enrolled or does she need to apply for coverage?



  68. Monica says

    Just wanted to touch base and let you know what happened. President Bush at one time said all Veterans are eligible to receive a Veteran’s ID Card that gives them the hospital benefits. Well, it was only a 5 year period and expired years ago. Unfortunately, many Veteran’s did not know about the program (including me) and lost out. Now there is a salary limit and other ways you have to qualify.

  69. Monica says

    Here’s a question for you….I went to the VA Hospital today and they said had I signed up when I got out of the Air Force I would have been grandfathered in. It doesn’t seem fair that I can’t sign up now for a program I had been eligible for at one time. If you are grandfathered in, it should be by the date those specifications were in place. Have you heard of this before? Just doesn’t seem fair!


    • Ryan Guina says

      Monica, This is one I haven’t heard of before. I would ask them to explain this in more detail since it seems like they only gave you part of the story. This may have to do with the dates you separated from the service or something else. unfortunately, the only people who can give you a definitive answer are the VA personnel.

  70. Mark Gouveia says

    I was Honorably Discharged 8 months before my contract expired due to being overweight. Am I still eligible for VA benefits?

  71. Harold Marsh says

    I was discharged from the Army to take care of a family hardship. I will be contacting VA to see if I am eligible for benefits.

    Thank you for this website, it is a great source of information for veterans.

  72. James L. Chester says

    I served from July 1959- July 1963. I’m an Atomic Veteran. Can I get VA medical care? My household income in $24,000. annually.

    • Ryan Guina says

      BigGuy, you are still a veteran if you served in peace time. Whether or not you are eligible for benefits depends on many factors – the only way to know for sure is to contact the VA. They will be able to give you more information and process your application if you decide to apply.

    • Ryan Guina says

      The VA handles each case individually. Your friend will need to contact the VA and apply for benefits. Depending on your friend’s income, he may also be eligible for the Veterans Pension, or Aid and Attendance Benefit, which provides care for low income, elderly veterans. The application and approval process for the Aid and Attendance Benefit is more complicated and it is recommended to have an expert help with the application.

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