Are you a veteran experiencing financial hardship? Are you in between jobs? The Department of Veterans Affairs can
The VA Medical Care Hardship program may help veterans qualify for health-care benefits if they had a recent change in
their income, even if they previously were denied enrollment based on their household income. Hardships may be approved
if the veteran's current year income is substantially reduced from the previous year.
Personal circumstances such as loss of employment, sudden decrease in income, or increases in out-of-pocket veteran or
family health-care expenses all factor into VA's hardship determination.
Veterans who have put off applying for VA health-care benefits enrollment because they thought their income was too
high may want to reconsider applying for a hardship enrollment if their projected current year income is going to be
If you are a veteran currently enrolled and receiving VA health-care benefits but now are having problems with your VA
health-care debt, there are several programs that could provide assistance:
b Hardship - VA can eliminate future health-care debt and qualify veterans for health care without co-pay. Medical-care
hardship may be appropriate if a veteran's income suddenly has dropped or his or her out-of-pocket medical expenses
b Repayment plan - Veterans who have a problem making co-pays may request a repayment plan be established. If approved,the plan will result in a more-affordable monthly payment by spreading the debt out over an extended period of
b Compromise - Veterans who are unable to pay their debt in full or clear the debt in a reasonable time frame through
monthly payments may request a compromise. A compromise means VA can accept a lesser amount of money as full settlement
of the veteran's debt.
b Waiver - VA can waive a veteran's existing health-care debt when there has been a job loss or significant decrease in
income or the veteran and his or her family have experienced a significant increase in health-care expenses.
For more information and qualifications for this program, call your local VA medical center enrollment coordinator at
(505) 265-1711, ext. 4522. You also may contact VA's health benefits service center toll-free at (877) 222-8387 or
visit VA's web site at www.va.gov/healtheligibility.
You also may contact your local county veterans service officer, who can assist you in any VA matter. These services
are free to all veterans and their dependents.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at
759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.