As a growing number of veterans become unemployed, many are concerned about how to replace their health care coverage. It is important to understand what resources are available to honorably discharged veterans, and in some cases less than honorable eligibility. According to the VA, you would need to have enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1980, with 24 months of continuous service with an honorable discharge. In addition, Reserve and National Guard members are eligible for VA health benefits if they were called to active duty by order of the President of the United States for the full period of activation. Unfortunately, other than honorable, bad conduct or a dishonorable discharge are not eligible for VA benefits but may be eligible with a discharge upgrade or obtaining a VA Character of Discharge review.
To apply for VA health care benefits you will need to the gather pertinent information: most recent tax return; Social Security Numbers for you and all qualified dependents; and account numbers for current and active health insurance. Moreover, there are three ways to apply for VA health care benefits: (1) Online at https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/ introduction, (2) calling the hotline at (877) 222-8387, (3) or postal mail by filling out a VA Health Benefits application form (VA Form 10-10EZ) and sending it to Health Eligibility Center: 2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30329.
For more information, or if you need assistance filling out the application for VA health care benefits, please do not hesitate to contact the Summit County Veterans Service Commission. We are here to help bridge you to VA benefits and services. You can reach us at (330) 643-2830 or by visiting www.vscsummitoh.us.