Healthcare Benefits

Veterans Affairs (VA) operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, community clinics, community living centers, domiciliary, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. For additional information on VA health care, visit the Veterans Affairs Health website.

Basic Eligibility

A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA health care benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.

Minimum Duty Requirements

Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Enrollment

For most veterans, entry into the VA health care system begins by applying for enrollment. To apply, complete VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits, which may be obtained from any VA health care facility or regional benefits office, online or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Once enrolled, veterans can receive health care at VA health care facilities anywhere in the country.

Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are afforded privacy rights under federal law. VA’s Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how VA may use and disclose veterans’ medical information, is also available online

The following four categories of veterans are not required to enroll, but are urged to do so to permit better planning of health resources:

  1. Veterans with a service-connected disability of 50% or more
  2. Veterans seeking care for a disability the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, but which VA has not yet rated, within 12 months of discharge
  3. Veterans seeking care for a service-connected disability only 
  4. Veterans seeking registry examinations (Ionizing Radiation, Agent Orange, Gulf War/Operation Iraqi Freedom and Depleted Uranium)