Part 1: The Journey Begins
I have had my run ins with the V.A. in the past, as a Veteran, as a Paramedic bringing patients into their ER’s and as a Journalist. Needless to say, I have my reservations about writing this article series as I have a bad impression and expectation already set into my mind.
I am not writing this to rock the boat though. I am writing this series of articles because I have run into many Veterans who legitimately don’t know how to begin in getting their benefits set up. To be honest, the military doesn’t really help the troops when they get out. At least not when I got out. When I left, it was a bunch of paperwork, turning in gear and then a plane ticket and a boot in the back side out the front gate of the base. We had no, “here’s how to be a civilian again” class.
So where to begin?
The internet. Google search is a good place to start I would think. I am going through the process as I am writing this article. So, with every step I am taking in this process, I am writing it down for all my Brother and Sister Veterans reading this article. I type, “How do I get my Veterans benefits set up?” into the google search box, responses to the search show a lot of VA home loan links. Setting up VA Health benefits, let’s click that.
- There is no cost to apply.
- Enroll once – comprehensive health care services will be available when and where you need them.
- Remain enrolled, even if you don’t use VA for your health care.
- Enrollment in VA health care meets health care law requirements; you don’t need any other coverage.
- If you are not eligible to enroll at this time, VA will save your application and contact you if eligibility criteria change.
I need Adobe reader for my PC, but it says here that VA Benefits meet health care law requirements. Cool, I don’t have to pay that BS Fine for Obamacare it would seem. I clicked the “APPLY NOW” button. Another screen has popped up with an option to check my eligibility. For curiosities’ sake, I’ll click that.
You may be able to get VA health care if you served on active duty and separated under conditions other than dishonorable.
You probably qualify for VA health care if at least 1 of these applies to you:
- You receive financial compensation (payments) from VA for a service-connected disability
- You were discharged for a disability resulting from something that happened to you in the line of duty
- You were discharged for a disability that got worse in the line of duty
- You’re a recently discharged Combat Veteran
- You get a VA pension
- You’re a former Prisoner of War (POW)
- You’ve received a Purple Heart
- You get (or qualify for) Medicaid benefits
- You served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- You served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
- You served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
If none of the above apply to you, you may still qualify for care based on your income.
Okay, I should qualify. Let’s Apply then. They are asking for a bunch of information. Name, date of birth, Social Security number, Mothers Maiden name, … okay. You’re going to need your DD214 in hand to have your dates of service. Which I can’t seem to find mine. That’s not good.
In the next article, we will be discussing the rest of the process. That or how to get a replacement DD214. We’ll see. If you have your DD214, you can start the process yourself. CLICK HERE to get started.