Thursday, January 15, 2009

Military veterans may enter VA health care system based on hardship

Military veterans may enter VA health care system based on hardship

For the Cumberland Times-News
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Department of Veterans Affairs offers an assortment of programs that can relieve the costs of health care or provide care at no cost to veterans struggling financially due to a job loss or decreased income.

Veterans whose previous income was ruled too high for VA health care may be able to enter the VA system based upon a hardship if their current year’s income is projected to fall below federal income thresholds due to a job loss, separation from service or some other financial setback.

Veterans determined eligible due to hardship can avoid co-pays applied to higher-income veterans. Qualifying veterans may be eligible for enrollment and receive health care at no cost.

Also eligible for no-cost VA care are most veterans who recently returned from a combat zone. They are entitled to five years of free VA care. The five-year clock begins with their discharge from the military, not their departure from the combat zone.

For information about VA health care eligibility and enrollment, call the Enrollment Center for the VA Maryland Health Care System weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (800) 463-6295, ext. 7324 or log on to


I hope the VA health system is more gracious in granting the waivers that many veterans may need to become eligible to enter the VA health care system.

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