World-class health care is not much good to those who can’t access it and accessing VA health care has not always been easy.
Actually, it’s been very frustrating for a large number of Veterans over the years, but enrollment is about to get easier for Veterans seeking eligibility.
“In order to improve access to care, we reviewed many of the steps Veterans must take to receive that care and found that improvements needed to be made in the initial application to improve the Veteran experience and remove barriers that hinder access,” said VA Deputy Secretary Sloan D. Gibson. “I am happy to announce that VA will soon be launching the new online health care application on vets.gov.”
As of June 30, 2016, Veterans applying for health care will be directed to health care application on vets.gov.
Unlike the online 10-10EZ and previous applications, this form does not require special software to open, nor does it need to be printed by the Veteran or VA staff to be processed.
“Veterans could previously apply for health care online, but the user experience was often frustrating, and the process required VA employees to generate paper applications that were manually entered into our eligibility verification and enrollment processing systems,” Gibson said. “The application is a HTML form on vets.gov that requires nothing more than an internet connection and 15-45 minutes of your time depending on the complexity of the application. The application can also be submitted without a login. We believe it is important to make this process as easy as possible. A log-in option will be added later this year, allowing Veterans to save their application and to update their information, but it won’t be required to apply for health care.”
If at least one of the following applies to you, you probably qualify for VA health care:
• You receive financial compensation (pay) from the VA for a service-connected disability.
• You were discharged for a disability that happened or was made worse in the line of duty.
• You are a recently discharged Combat Veteran.
• You receive a VA pension.
• You are a former Prisoner of War.
• You have received a Purple Heart.
• You receive (or are eligible for) Medicaid benefits.
• You served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
• You served in SW Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and November 11, 1998.
• You served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
If none of the above apply to you, you may still qualify for care based on your income. You can learn more about how the amount of money your family makes (income threshold) can affect your eligibility for VA benefits at http://nationalincomelimits.vaftl.us. Your most recent tax return will have most of information you need to qualify based on your income.
The new application is for Veterans who have not previously applied for VA health care. The 10-10EZ (paper form) will still be in the forms database, so Veterans and third parties serving Veterans can access the form to print it out.
However, the expectation is that anyone seeking to apply for care eligibility online will use the online application, or call the number listed on vets.gov.
“Providing health care to our nation’s Veterans is one of the most vital services we provide at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Gibson. “Through the MyVA transformation, we are working to rebuild trust with Veterans and the American people, improve service delivery and set the course for long-term VA excellence and reform, all while continuing to deliver better access to high-quality care.”
The new health care application form is available at https://www.vets.gov/healthcare/apply and, is a starting point for any Veteran interested in applying for health care eligibility.
For additional information, visit the Health Benefits Application website www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/apply/index.asp. (Source: VAntage Point Blog | June 30, 2016)
Thomas Crisp is a retired military officer from Whitmire. His veterans updates can be found weekly in The Newberry Observer.