Overview of VA Medical Care Benefits

by Robert Stretch on August 18, 2010

If you’re one of the many US veterans who requires medical or rehabilitative care, you could benefit significantly from medical care provided in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), provides a wide range of medical, rehabilitative, and surgical care to veterans who qualify for their program with an emphasis on primary and preventative care.

The Medical Benefits package provides both outpatient and inpatient services and has a variety of specialist types of care available as well. Even non-military related injuries and illnesses are covered and veterans can rely on the VA for most of their health care, which can provide significant financial savings throughout the veterans life. Care from the VA also focuses on issues like high rates of post traumatic stress disorder and suicide (as compared to the general population) and can often provide a specialized and personalized form of care that civilian physicians may not be trained to provide. Additionally, combat veterans returning from war zones may be eligible to receive free health care for up to two years for any combat related injuries. Otherwise, a small co-pay generally applies for most care that the VA provides.

Qualification for care with the Veterans Health Administration depends on a variety of factors, and its best to contact the VA to determine if you are eligible for the health program. Most veterans who received an honorable discharge or a general discharge should experience no problem and other types of discharges are allowed, provided that you were discharged under circumstances other than dishonorably. Most veterans need twenty four months of continuous active duty military service. However, this condition will not apply under the following conditions:

You’re an enlisted service member who began active duty before September 8, 1980 or an officer who began active duty prior to October 17,1981.

Were an Active Duty reservist or National Guard member who completed your requested term and were granted an honorable discharge.

Were discharged due to a service related disability or only request a benefit for a service related trauma or injury.

Again, eligibility is ultimately up to the Department of Veterans Affairs and is, unfortunately, limited by the amount of funding provided to the VA by Congress each year. Funds are generally very limited and the VA has set up precedence groups to ensure that veterans with the most need are able to receive care on a prioritized basis in the event that the program should run out of funding.

For more information on the Veterans Health Program, please visit the Health Care website.

Photo thanks to 60in3 under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendi August 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Your comment about 24 months of continuous active federal service is misleading and incorrect. The best way to find out if a Veteran is eligible for VA Healthcare is to go directly to the VA’s website and fill out the “quick checklist”. The URL is http://www4.va.gov/healtheligibility/. There are thousands of Veterans who served less than 24 months who are eligible for VA care. An example would be a perfectly healthy basic trainee who is permanently injured while training. If they are medically discharged, they will be eligible for VA Healthcare and possible VA disability for life. I am happy to answer any questions you may have concerning this issue. Come join our group, Straight Talk for Veterans dot Com. We have a panel of subject matter experts who can clarify this further for you if need be.

Respectfully,
Wendi Goodman
Staff Sergeant, US Army, Retired

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Bruce M.McLaughlin August 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

Robert…
I admire your drive to educate Veterans to their entitlements, however make sure you get the facts straight. You had stated: “Care from the VA also focuses on issues like high rates of post traumatic stress disorder and suicide (as compared to the general population) and can often provide a specialized and personalized form of care that civilian physicians may not be trained to provide.”

In my humble opinion, there are doctors at the VA that can’t diagnose a hangnail, let alone PTSD. Many Veterans for many years were and are still being diagnosed as NOT having this ailment.
Ironically, many Veterans disgusted with the VA, get an OMO (outside medical opinion) and are diagnosed with a psychological disorder relating to their service.
Read posts on http://www.hadit.com to verify what is being said here. You’ll see the big picture regarding the quality of medical care offered by the DVA.

On the other hand, there ARE a lot of good quality doctors in the VA system also. I won’t BS anyone by saying otherwise.

I can say this without batting an eyelash, because I’ve been dealing with a lot of these incompetent doctors for over 35 years…so I know first hand. One involves a Medical Malpractice (FTCA) suit.

Allow me to enlighten you and the readers of the quality of DVA doctors w/my blog. This blog was written by me while I was trying to form a Class Action against the DVA for more reasons than just incompetent doctors and it is constantly being revised to educate others. reading this and reading posts by other Veterans will show you how Veterans are treated (like Cattle) and that the VA is literally inept/dysfunctional/broken.
THANK YOU for your Service as a fellow Vet AND your desire to assist Veterans!!!
WARNING: This blog is not pretty, nor is it intended to insult ALL physicians or ALL Gov’t personnel.
My blog link: http://usgovissues.blogspot.com/

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Robert Stretch August 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Bruce, thank you for your comments. I am not personally a veteran, but I’m trying to do my best. So if I ever get a fact wrong, please correct me.

Your blog looks good, if you ever want to write a guest post or a series of guest posts for us, you’re more than welcome. I appreciate all the feedback.

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