The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating the way it determines eligibility for Veterans Affairs health care, a change that will result in more veterans having access to the health-care benefits they have earned and deserve.
Effective in 2015, the VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health-care programs and copayment responsibilities. This change makes VA health-care benefits more accessible to lower-income veterans and brings VA policies in line with VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald’s MyVA initiative, which reorients the VA around veterans’ needs.
“Everything that we do and every decision we make has to be focused on the veterans we serve,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We are working every day to earn their trust. Changing the way we determine eligibility to make the process easier for veterans is part of our promise to our veterans.”
Instead of combining the sum of veterans’ income with their assets to determine eligibility for medical care and copayment obligations, the VA will now only consider a veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year. Elimination of the consideration of net worth for VA health-care enrollment means that certain lower-income, non-service-connected veterans will have less out-of- pocket costs. During a five-year period, it is estimated that 190,000 veterans will become eligible for reduced costs of their health-care services.
In March 2014, the VA eliminated the annual requirement for updated financial information. The VA now uses information from the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration to automatically match individual veterans’ income information, which reduces the burden on veterans to keep their health-care eligibility up-to-date. That change better aligned the VA’s health-care financial-assessment program with other federal health-care organizations.
Veterans may submit updated income information at www.1010ez.med.va.gov, or by visiting their nearby VA health-care facility. For more information, visit your local county veterans service officer.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or schleeterrs@ co.laplata.co.us.