The Purple Heart is America's oldest military decoration. The original Purple Heart, was known as the Badge of Military Merit, which was in the design of a purple heart and created by then General George Washington in 1782. It was redesignated as the Purple Heart in 1927, and has been known as such ever since.
The Purple Heart is awarded for being wounded or killed in any military action against an enemy.
Recipients of the Purple Heart receive many special federal and state benefits.
Automatic Upgrade of Medical Priority Group
The VA has eight different priority groups for veterans seeking medical treatment. Those in group 1 have a disability of 50 percent or greater and get all their medical care free from the VA. Those in priority group 8 aren't usually eligible for medical care because their disabilities aren't service-connected or their income is too high.
Purple Heart recipients are automatically upgraded to priority group 3 regardless of the severity of their injuries or their income. This gives them higher priority access to medical care and relieves them from paying any copays for VA medical treatment or hospitalization.
If their injuries that earned them the Purple Heart aren't severe enough to give the at least a 30 percent disability (which would place them in priority group 2), they may have to pay a copay for medicine received from the VA.
GI Bill Benefits
Purple Heart recipients are automatically granted full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits regardless of the amount of time they spent on active duty. Normally to get the full Post-9/11 GI Bill, a veteran needs to serve at least 36 months of active duty.
Purple Heart recipients with an honorable discharge are granted a 10 point preference for federal hiring.
Most states offer several benefits to Purple Heart recipients, these can range from free college for them and their family members to special license plates. Check out our state benefits page for details.