Veterans Health Benefits Handbooks

In effort to simplify the health care system for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a pilot to give each veteran a personalized handbook. At the start of this pilot program, these Veterans Health Benefits Handbooks will only be available in Cleveland, Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas.

The VA will customize each handbook for veterans enrolled in the pilot. Handbooks cover only the benefits for which a veteran is eligible. However, extraneous benefits and information will be cut so veterans can more efficiently figure out their benefits.

“These handbooks will give Veterans everything they need to know and leave out everything that doesn’t apply to them,” said Eric K. Shinseki, secretary of the VA. “Our Veterans will now have a comprehensive, easy to understand roadmap to the medical benefits they earned with their service.”

But the handbooks go beyond explaining benefits. They’ll also include:
-Contact information for a veteran’s local health care provider,
-Tips on how to clearly communicate treatment needs,
-Other responsibilities of the veteran
-How to schedule appointments

“Enhancing access isn’t just about expanding the kinds of services VA provides,” Shinseki said. “It also includes making sure we do everything we can to ensure Veterans have a clear understanding of the benefits available to them so they can make full use of the services they have earned.”

Once the pilot phase ends in Cleveland and D.C. areas, the personalized handbooks should be available nationwide by fall 2011. Visit the VA website to find out what health benefits are already available to you, or call the VA at 1-877-222-8387.

Photo thanks to takomabibelot under creative common license on Flickr.

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