Program DescriptionThe Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care program in which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. The program is administered by the Health Administration Center and our offices are located in Denver, Colorado.
Due to the similarity between CHAMPVA and the Department of Defense (DoD) TRICARE program (sometimes referred to by its old name, CHAMPUS) the two are often mistaken for each other. CHAMPVA is a Department of Veterans Affairs program, whereas TRICARE is a regionally-managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors.
In some cases a person may appear eligible for either program. However, if you are the spouse of a military retiree or the spouse of a Servicemember who was killed in action, you are and will always be a TRICARE beneficiary. You cannot choose between the two plans.
General Program RequirementsTo be eligible for CHAMPVA, you cannot be eligible for TRICARE/CHAMPUS, and you must be in one of these categories:
- The spouse or child of a Veteran who has been rated permanently and totally disabled for a service-connected disability by a VA regional office OR
- The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a VA-rated service connected disability OR
- The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who was at the time of death rated permanently and totally disabled from a service connected disability OR
- The surviving spouse or child of a military member who died in the line of duty, not due to misconduct (in most of these cases, these family members are eligible for TRICARE, not CHAMPVA).
If you are in one of the above categories and you are over the age of 65 and have Medicare Part A entitlement, in most cases you must also have Medicare Part B. Please submit a copy of your Medicare card when you enroll in CHAMPVA.
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.
Your Next StepsThe following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.
Application ProcessFor information on the CHAMPVA application process, please visit the How to Apply website.
Program Contact Information
- Visit the Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) website to search Frequently Asked Questions or ask a question on-line
- Enrolled beneficiaries may review their program and claims at the CHAMPVA website
- Call 1-800-733-8387, (Monday through Friday from 8:05 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time)