How do I Qualify for Treatment at a Veterans Hospital?

N. Madison
N. Madison

To qualify for treatment at a veterans hospital, a person must meet the requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The first requirement is enrollment in the VA Health Care System. To enroll, the patient may apply online at VA.gov or he may print an enrollment form from the VA website and mail it to the provided address. Alternatively, he can call his local veterans hospital and request enrollment information and forms.

Veterans hospital care is available to anyone who has served in the military.
Veterans hospital care is available to anyone who has served in the military.

As part of the enrollment process, a person must provide a copy of his current health insurance card. This is necessary whether the patient has private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. He must also provide a copy of his report of transfer or discharge, which is referred to as a DD214. If a veteran is a Purple Heart recipient, he must also provide a copy of his award letter. However, if the Purple Heart designation is on the DD214, a copy of the award letter isn’t required.

Veterans hospitals may offer treatment and therapy to soldiers who have lost a limb in combat.
Veterans hospitals may offer treatment and therapy to soldiers who have lost a limb in combat.

The eligible enrollee is someone who served on activity duty in the United States armed forces. A person may also be eligible if he served as a commissioned officer of another eligible organization, such as the Environmental Science Service. However, service by itself is not enough. The person must have been honorably discharged or otherwise released for reasons that are considered honorable. For example, a person who committed a crime that resulted in his dishonorable discharge from the military would not be eligible for VA health care.

Veterans hospitals may offer therapy programs for people who are having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life.
Veterans hospitals may offer therapy programs for people who are having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life.

In some cases, reservists may be eligible for veterans hospital care as well. They are eligible if they served on active duty for the entire time they were so ordered. National Guard members can become eligible in the same manner. However, there is an important stipulation: the active duty order may not have been limited to training.

Veterans hospitals often have programs to help soldiers deal with the psychological impact of combat.
Veterans hospitals often have programs to help soldiers deal with the psychological impact of combat.

There are also minimum-duty requirements in place for those who wish to receive care from a veterans hospital. Those who enlisted after 7 September 1980 are eligible if they had two years of service; they are also eligible if they served the entire time for which they were ordered, even if that period amounts to fewer than two years. The same goes for those ordered to active duty after 16 October 1981. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, an exception may be granted for those who were discharged early because of some type of hardship or disability.

VA hospitals often treat veterans who have become homeless due to addictions.
VA hospitals often treat veterans who have become homeless due to addictions.
You must provide a copy of your current health insurance card to enroll in the VA health care system.
You must provide a copy of your current health insurance card to enroll in the VA health care system.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments

anon342973

I was in the army for only six months and four days. Could I still get VA hospital benefits

anon281686

Can someone who served in the National Guard get treatment from the VA hospital?

anon87758

can a veteran who has been receiving services in FL, go to doctors and hospitals in SC?

anon69721

can an ex US marine be treated in ER room if he has not filled out papers, or is missing some of his ID papers?

anon34505

Can a Navy veteran, 2 years service, honorable discharge, no insurance be treated at a VA hospital? He has been laid off and is suffering with a back problem.

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