Veterans Health Care: Overview

A visitor leaves the Sacramento Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on April 2, 2015. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The Department of Veteran's Affairs is required by law to provide eligible veterans hospital care and outpatient care services that are defined as "needed." VA defines "needed" as care or service that will promote, preserve, and restore health. This includes treatment, procedures, supplies, or services. This decision of need will be based on the judgment of your health care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice.

There are also health programs you may be eligible for, including treatment for blindness rehabilitation, Agent Orange Exposure, and HIV/AIDS. For a full overview of all VA healthcare programs, visit the VA Healthcare Program page.

Your eligibility for VA health care depends on several factors for each program, including the nature of your discharge from military service (e.g., honorable, other than honorable, dishonorable), length of service, VA adjudicated disabilities (commonly referred to as service-connected disabilities), income level, and available VA resources among others. Regulations now allow VA to enroll certain 'Priority Group 8' veterans who applied for enrollment and who may have been previously denied enrollment in the VA health care system because their income exceeded VA's income thresholds. You may qualify if your household income does not exceed the current VA income thresholds by more than 10%. To see if you are eligible and to access a calculator to see how you stand against the income thresholds, visit If you have any enrollment or eligibility questions, you may call 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

Generally, you must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system to receive benefits offered in the Medical Benefits Package. To apply for VA health care benefits, including enrollment, fill out VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits online. The application determines whether you have qualifying service as a veteran, and what your veteran status is so that you can be placed into one of the priority groups

For a summary of veterans' priority for VA health care, visit the Priority Groups Explained section.

Check out the links below for more information on:

Here are more details on specific Veterans Health Care Programs:

The Veterans Health Administration oversees many programs for which you may be eligible. These links provide greater detail on such programs as Blindness Rehabilitation, CHAMPVA, and Hepatitis Research. Click below for more information on:

Veteran Health CareMore

A visitor leaves the Sacramento Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Rancho Cordova, Calif., on April 2, 2015. Rich Pedroncelli/AP

You have made many sacrifices as a Veteran, but just because you leave active-duty does not mean that you lose all of your health benefits.

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