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How do I Qualify for Treatment at a Veterans Hospital?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon342973 — On Jul 25, 2013

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

By anon281686 — On Jul 24, 2012

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

By anon87758 — On Jun 01, 2010

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

By anon69721 — On Mar 09, 2010

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?

By anon34505 — On Jun 23, 2009

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.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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