Mike Haley serves on the Thuy Smith International Outreach (TSIO) Advisory Board. He is a County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) and Vietnam Era Vet.
Read more about him & other authors on Author Bio page-
VA Health Care
The VA Heath Care system provides a full range of medical care for veterans. This care includes preventative outpatient and inpatient services within the VA system of over 1,400 medical centers and clinics across the nation. In this area there are VA clinics in Chippewa Falls, Rice Lake, Hayward and Loyal, Wisconsin. There are also medical centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Tomah, WI.
The way to use VA Health Care is to enroll in the system. The VA applies a variety of factors in determining veteran’s eligibility for care. The best way to determine if you are eligible is to contact your County Veterans Service Officer or VA medical center.
The first factor in determining eligibility is: Were you in the active military and discharged/released under honorable conditions or in the reserves/national guard and called to active duty by federal order and completed your call up period. If you meet this criteria, then you are probably eligible if:
- You were discharged for medical reasons, hardship or early out
- You served in a combat theater and have been discharged less than 5 years
- You were discharged because of a disability incurred in the military
- You are a former POW
- You received a purple heart
- You receive a veterans pension or compensation
- You receive state Medicaid benefits
- You served in Vietnam
These are other ways of being eligible for VA Health Care that include having an income below the threshold that is set according to each county. This figure is based on income and then subtracting medical expenses. An eligible veteran will receive comprehensive health care.
There are other misconceptions about VA Health Care that are not true including:
1. I can’t use the VA if I have private medical insurance — you can use the VA or you can have dual care – both your private doctor and the VA if you want.
2. I make too much money to qualify for VA health care — That depends on a number of factors and the best way is to fill out the application(no cost) and the VA will make that determination. The income figure has been going up and more veterans are qualified now.
3. I was not in during a war so I am not eligible — War period service is not a requirement.
4. I was not injured in the service so I am not eligible. Most veterans using the VA medical system are not service connected.
The best way to find out if you are eligible is to fill out the application for medical care. You can pick one up at your County Veterans Service Office, a VA clinic or hospital or get an application on-line.