If you’re a veteran who’s injured because of your military service, you may wonder if you’re eligible for VA health care or disability benefits. The good news is that many veterans are eligible for some type of VA benefit. However, it will take work on your part. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of VA disability and healthcare eligibility.
Am I Eligible For VA Disability?
The first step in determining your eligibility for VA health care or disability is to establish that you have a “disability.” A disability, for VA purposes, is any injury or illness that was caused or aggravated by your time in military service. You are still eligible if your service was long ago. In addition, you can still be eligible with a short military career.
There are two major ways to establish eligibility for disability benefits. First, you can prove your that your injury or illness occurred during military service. For example, you are eligible if a car accident on active duty left you injured.
In addition, you can be eligible if your injury or illness that was made worse by military service. For example, you are eligible if active duty aggravated your pre-existing back injury.
Am I Eligible For Health Care?
Many veterans are also eligible for VA health care. However, it is a separate program from disability benefits. You may qualify for healthcare, but not disability. It is a complex system, but it is a valuable asset.
Typically, health care requires that you have 24 months on active duty. In addition, the VA requires that you meet the annual income limits to enroll in health care. However, that is only for veterans that are not disabled.
VA Health Care Without A Disability Rating
It is possible to receive health care without a disability rating. Are you a combat veteran? Combat veterans receive health care for the first five years after they separate active duty.
In addition, lower-income veterans will qualify for health care based on household income. Finally, there are several specific ways to qualify for VA health care. Former POW’s, Medal of Honor recipients, and those exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune are all eligible for health care.
VA Health Care When Less Than 50% Disabled
A 10% or higher disability rating is the easiest way to ensure you will receive VA health care. However, veterans with a 10%-40% disability rating will pay a small copay for using the VA.
Notably, a 10% rating gives you access to all of VA health care. The VA will not limit you to only service-connected issues. In addition, a 10% disability rating supersedes the income and 24 month requirements. To be clear, the VA can absolutely award health care for those with short military careers.
VA Health Care When 50% Or More Disabled
VA health care with copays is a great deal. However, a combined 50% or greater rating means that you now receive all care at no cost to you. In addition, your prescriptions will be free. I get all my prescriptions delivered to my house each month. No charge.
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