January 27 Deadline Nears for Easier VA Health Care Enrollment for Certain Combat Veterans
Combat Veterans who were on active duty since November 11, 1989, and left active duty before January 28, 2003, have until January 27 to sign up for Veterans health care without having to prove they have a service-connected disability or health problem, or some other reason to be eligible for benefits. These Veterans will still be able to apply for health benefits with VA after Jan. 27, but will have their status for receiving VA health care determined under normal VA procedures that base health care priority status on the severity of a service-connected disability or other eligibility factors. This would mean some Veterans could face income- or asset-based restrictions, as well as delays in establishing their VA health care eligibility, while their disability status is determined.
The enhanced enrollment window was provided for in Public Law 110-181, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. That law gave combat veterans who served after November 11, 1998, but separated from service before January 28, 2003, and did not enroll before January 28, 2008, three years, beginning on January 28, 2008, to apply for the enhanced enrollment opportunity. The law does continue to provide the enhanced health care enrollment window to combat Veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28, 2003. For these Veterans, the five-year enrollment period begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active-duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.
Veterans can apply for enrollment online at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez, by contacting VA at (877) 222-VETS (8387) or with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist at any VA medical center. For more information, please see: www.militarytimes.com/news/2011/01/military-deadline-nears-for-streamlined-va-health-care-enrollment-011311w/; and www.retirees.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123237773.