When you enlisted, you might have been told that your veteran’s benefits include free healthcare for life. Unfortunately, that is just not true. VA HealthCare eligibility is dependent upon your length of service, your VA disability rating, and/or your income. It is not insurance and we veterans are not free to just go to any Doctor’s office or hospital.
Am I eligible for VA HealthCare benefits?
- You might be able to get VA healthcare benefits as part of your veteran’s benefits if you served in the active military, naval, or air service and did not get a dishonorable discharge.
- If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 15, 1982, you must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty.
- If you were discharged for a disability that caused or made worse by your active duty service, or discharged for a hardship or, served prior to Sept 7, 1980.
When you apply for VA healthcare, you will be assigned 1 of 8 priority groups. The priority groups affect how much (if anything) you will have to pay toward the cost of your care. For more detailed information on priority, groups go to www.va.gov/health-care/elgibility/priority-groups.
If you do not have a VA disability rating or discharged within the last five years, then your eligibility is dependent upon your annual income. For a basic point of reference, a single veteran income threshold is approximately $33,632 for cost-free healthcare.
VA Dental Care
Veterans are not generally eligible for dental care through the VA unless they met specific qualifications.
- Former prisoner of war
- A service-connected disability rating of 100%
- Unemployable paid at 100% disability rate.
- Service-connected dental condition
If you don’t qualify under the above situations, you may be able to buy dental insurance at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP). For more information go to www.va.gov/healthcarebenefits/vadip.
You can apply for any of these benefits by visiting your local county Department of Veterans Affairs.