Are You a Veteran? Interested in Benefits?

Are You a Veteran? Interested in Benefits?

As a veteran or a family member, do you know how to enroll in VA benefits? To receive care most (but not all) veterans must be enrolled in the VA health system. Eligibility depends on a number of factors, including the nature of their discharge, length of service, whether they have service-connected disabilities, income level, and the overall availability of VA resources.
Eligibility Criteria:
* Veterans who have served in active duty in a combat during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or the campaigns in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Global War on Terror.
* Veterans, who served in the active military during the Vietnam Era, but not in the Republic of Vietnam, must have requested services before January 1, 2004.
* The type of discharge you received from the military can be a factor. An eligible veteran must have received: an honorable discharge, a general discharge, or a discharge under honorable conditions.
* Former enlisted persons that started active duty before September 8, 1980 and former officers who first entered active duty before October 17, 1981 do not have length-of-service requirements.
* Otherwise you must have 24 months of continuous active duty military service, though there are exceptions for reservists, National Guard members, service-connected disabilities, and hardship discharges.
Minimum Service Requirements: You do NOT have to meet the 24 months of continuous service requirement if you:
* Were a reservist who was called to Active Duty and who completed the term for which you were called, and who was granted an other than dishonorable discharge.
* Were a National Guard member, who was call to Active Duty by federal executive order, and who completed the term.
* Were discharged or released from Active Duty for a hardship.
* Were discharged with an "early out."
* Were discharged or released from duty for a disability that began in the service or got worse because of the service.
Some veterans must be enrolled in the VA system to receive benefits, yet some do not. For example, if you are 50% or more disabled from a service-connected disability, you are seeking care for a VA rated service-connected disability, or it has been less than one year since you were discharged for a disability that the military has determined was caused or aggravated by your service.
What is a Service-Connected Disability?
Service-Connected means that the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes a disease, injury, or residual disability that was incurred in the line of duty while in the service of our country. However, there are additional ways to establish service connection under the laws of the Department of Veterans Affairs. These additional six ways are:
1. Aggravation
2. Secondary or proximate
3. Presumptive
4. Paired organs and extremities
5. Service connection as a result of disability or death from hospitalization, medical or surgical treatment
6. Disabilities or death arising from VA approved vocational rehabilitative training
If you have further questions or concerns regarding enrollment and benefits, please contact the VA's Health Benefits Service Center, toll free at 877-222-VETS (8387), Monday thru Friday between 7am - 8 pm eastern. You can also check out the Veteran's Administration website at www.va.gov. The website provides a lot of information on VA benefits, enrollment procedures, and much more.
If you are applying in person at any VA medical center, you can request an appointment for medical care at the same time you apply for enrollment - there is not need to wait to request an appointment before your enrollment is confirmed. Additionally, you can indicate on the VA Form 10-10EZ if you desire an appointment and when your application is processed at the medical center, an appointment will be scheduled with you. You will be notified in writing of your appointment and your eligibility for medical care. For additional information, check out my next article on "Available veterans services & Medial assistance" coming October 31st in the Herald-Mail.
Information gathered and submitted by Tawnya Creager, Community Outreach Director at Easter Seals Adult Day Services from the following sources: www.va.gov & www.elderlawanswers.com.