VA Healthcare: Priority Groups

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The number of Veterans who can be enrolled in the health care program is determined by the amount of money Congress gives VA each year. Since funds are limited, VA set up Priority Groups to make sure that certain groups of Veterans are able to be enrolled before others.

Once you apply for enrollment, your eligibility will be verified. Based on your specific eligibility status, you will be assigned a Priority Group. The Priority Groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. Some Veterans may have to agree to pay copay to be placed in certain Priority Groups.

You may be eligible for more than one Enrollment Priority Group. In that case, VA will always place you in the highest Priority Group that you are eligible for. Under the Medical Benefits Package, the same services are generally available to all enrolled Veterans.VA determines your eligibility for VA's comprehensive medical benefits package through our patient enrollment system, which is based on Priority Groups from 1 through 8.

Group 1:

  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or more.
  • Veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions.

Group 2: 

  • Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 30 or 40 percent.

Group 3:

  • Veterans who are former POWs.
  • Veterans awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
  • Veterans awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • Veterans whose discharge was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
  • Veterans with VA service-connected disabilities rated 10 percent or 20 percent.
  • Veterans awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C., § 1151, "benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation."

Group 4:

  • Veterans receiving increased compensation or pension based on their need for regular aid and attendance or by reason of being permanently housebound.
  • Veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.

Group 5:

  • Nonservice-connected Veterans and noncompensable service-connected Veterans rated 0 percent, whose annual income and/ or net worth are not greater than the VA financial thresholds. Veterans receiving VA Pension benefits.
  • Veterans eligible for Medicaid benefits.

Group 6:

  • Compensable 0 percent Service-connected Veterans.
  • Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Project 112/SHAD participants.
  • Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.
  • Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations from Aug. 2, 1990, through Nov. 11, 1998.
  • Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after Nov.11, 1998, as follows:
    • Veterans discharged from active duty on or after Jan. 28, 2003, for five years post discharge;
    • Veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for not fewer than 30 days beginning Jan. 1, 1957 and ending Dec. 31, 1987.

Group 7:

  • Veterans with incomes below the geographic means test income thresholds and who agree to pay the applicable copayment.

Group 8:

  • Veterans with gross household incomes above the VA national income threshold and the geographically-adjusted income threshold for their resident location and who agrees to pay copayments.

Veterans eligible for enrollment: Noncompensable 0-percent service-connected and:

  • Subpriority a: Enrolled as of Jan. 16, 2003, and who have re-mained enrolled since that date and/ or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status.
  • Subpriority b: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10 percent or less.

Veterans eligible for enrollment: Nonservice-connected and:

  • Subpriority c: Enrolled as of Jan. 16, 2003, and who remained enrolled since that date and/ or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status.
  • Subpriority d: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10 percent or less.

Veterans NOT eligible for enrollment: Veterans not meeting the criteria above:

  • Subpriority e: Noncompensable 0 percent service-connected .
  • Subpriority f: Nonservice-connected.

VA's current income thresholds can be located at: www.va.gov/healthbenefits/cost/income_thresholds.asp

Related Topics

Veteran Health Care VA Medical Benefits
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) honors the pledge that Military Service Members and Veterans made to protect our nation. As part of VA’s mission to provide world-class services for the men and women who sacrifice for us, we created a dedicated career support program just for them: VA for Vets.

VA is committed to helping Veterans thrive. VA for Vets works to turn this vision into reality by offering the tools they need to launch their civilian careers at VA.

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Come see how VA for Vets is connecting Veterans to information, tools and resources they need to succeed: www.VAforVets.VA.gov.

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