Program DescriptionVeterans Medical Care Benefits provide outpatient medical services, hospital care, medicines, and supplies to eligible Veterans. Veterans with service-connected disabilities living or traveling overseas must register with the Foreign Medical Program regardless of the degree of disability.
Enrollment in Veterans Affairs (VA) health care allows you to gain access to all the services of MyHealtheVet. My HealtheVet is a free, online Personal Health Record that empowers Veterans to become informed partners in their health care. With this Internet service, America's Veterans can access trusted, secure, and current health and benefits information as well as record, track and store important health and military history information at their convenience. Veterans who are enrolled in a VA facility can refill their VA prescriptions and more. You can enroll by visiting http://www.myhealth.va.gov/.
General Program RequirementsThis topic addresses basic eligibility for Veterans' health care. The majority of other VA health care services listed in Benefits.gov are dependent on basic eligibility as shown in this entry.
Eligibility for most Veterans' health care benefits is based solely on active military service in one of the seven uniformed services. These services are:
- The Army
- The Navy
- The Air Force
- The Marine Corps
- The Coast Guard
- The Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service
- The Commissioned Officer Corps of the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
To receive health care, Veterans generally must be enrolled in the VA health system. They may apply for enrollment at any time. Veterans do not have to be enrolled in the VA health system if they have service-connected disabilities of 50 percent or more, want care for a disability that the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or want care for a service-connected disability only.
There is no special requirement regarding the length of your military service if you entered before September 7, 1980. If you first entered active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, or as an officer after October 16, 1981, then you probably have to meet a minimum active duty requirement unless you were discharged under an early out, hardship or disability related discharge. For Reservists and Guard members who were called to federal active duty by an executive order, the usual requirement is that you served the full length of time you were ordered to serve. For all others, the usual requirement is 24 months of continuous service.
There are a number of exceptions to these rules.
Returning service members, including Reservists and National Guard members who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations, have special eligibility for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for five years following discharge from active duty. For more information, visit http://www.oefoif.va.gov/.
Other groups may be eligible for health benefits.
Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services the veteran/servicemember's character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions (e.g., honorable, under honorable conditions, general). However, individuals receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA.
Because of budget requirements, VA cannot offer health care to every Veteran who meets these basic requirements. The law contains a complex system of priorities, mostly based on disability, income, and age.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application ProcessTo complete an application, use VA Form 10-10EZ, "Application for Medical Benefits." You can complete the application online at:
Program Contact Information
If you have questions:
- Visit https://iris.custhelp.com/ to search Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question on-line
- Call 1-800-827-1000
- Call 1-800-829-4833, if you are hearing impaired