Veterans applying for VA healthcare can now do so by telephone, with no paperwork involved.
In a notice published in the Federal Register, the VA announced that it will begin accepting complete healthcare applications via telephone on March 16, 2016. Previously a veteran wishing to apply for health benefits over the phone would speak to a VA representative who would fill out the application form based on information the veteran provided. The VA would then mail a completed form to the veteran who would be required to sign the form and mail it back to the VA. This could add several days to the application process, not to mention frustration for the veteran.
The new regulation will allow the VA to complete the entire enrollment application for the veteran without requiring a signature on a paper form. The VA estimates this should allow them to enroll eligible veterans in the healthcare system more quickly.
To accomplish a telephone application for enrollment, a VA employee will verify the veteran's identify based on information already in VA's records or records VA can access, and obtain the information necessary to complete the veteran's application. The VA employee will also inform the veteran of the consequences of making a materially false statement and explain the VA copayment obligation and the assignment of benefits provision.
This rule applies on March 16, 2016, to veterans who served in a combat theater after November 11, 1998, and were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28, 2003. This rule applies to all other veterans on July 5, 2016.
Veterans can apply for healthcare benefits via telephone by calling 877-222-VETS(8387), 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern time, Monday - Friday.
Veterans can still apply for healthcare online, by completing a paper application and mailing it to the VA, or by visiting a VA health care facility in person.