The House of Representatives just passed a bill to automatically enroll eligible vets into the VA health care system.
The bill is known as the Ensuring Veterans’ Smooth Transition Act, and it passed with a vote of 265-163.
Currently veterans are required to proactively apply for health care benefits at the VA. But the new bill would make it so eligible veterans are enrolled without taking any action themselves.
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For veterans who get automatically enrolled but do not wish to have coverage, the VA would have to provide a way for them to opt out.
Lawmakers hope that the bill will make the transition from military to civilian life easier on vets.
The bill, which does not change who is eligible for VA health benefits, would apply retroactively to veterans discharged 90 days before it becomes law. The bill must still be voted on by the Senate before being sent to the president to be signed into law.
“We know that the months following transition out of the military can be very stressful and particularly risky for new veterans in terms of mental health,” House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., who sponsored the bill, said Thursday on the House floor. “This helps simplify the process and prevents veterans from potentially missing out on lifesaving care. It also keeps veterans from having to opt-in to VA care later and attempt to navigate a new bureaucracy on their own.”via Military.com
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The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill could affect upwards of 58,000 vets annually.
Over the next 5 years, they anticipate the bill to cost around $3.1 billion.
The White House has signaled that they support the “goal” of the bill, however they also stated there may be challenges trying to implement it.
A number of lawmakers who opposed the bill are concerned that the automatic enrollment could make previous issues within the VA worse, such as staffing shortages and long wait times.
Christopher STANFIELD says
When I tried to enroll recently, I was told that I didn’t qualify for VA benefits as my retirement income was “too” high.
Will this new legislation let me qualify for my earned VA benefits?
Dave LeBlanc says
Also has to with your disability rating. Anything over 50% is concurrent receipt and you receive tax free money every month with increases up to 100%. In addition, put you in a different category at the VA. You can still be seen for what you filed and was given a percentage for.
Jack webb says
How do I clam 100 from the military i am 90 now
David Franklin says
You need to file with the VA under individual unemployability. If you can’t work due to your current disability, you can file and get the extra 10% that will bump you up to 100%.
Here is the VA webpage on it
There are a number of law firms who are preying on veterans to get a cut of your money. You can go to you service organization rep (i.e, American Legion or Disabled American Veterans) to help you free of charge.
my husband is retired tech Sargent 20 plus years honarable. He is 69 and has hearing loss jet fuel and Vietnam 🇻🇳 Era how long does it take to disable him so he can retire. he is trying to work for a harley to minister. Where is our help.?
I have not had any luck with DAV, American Legion, nor a VA rep. I don’t recommend this to anyone. I have been denied by the VA 2x and now they are asking for me to get a nexus letter and I have been trying for 4 months and no doctor that I am seeing will write one, even though they say all of these conditions, PTSD, sleep disorders, pain etc (9 symptoms of Desert Storm). Then I see these people (won’t even say they are soldiers) get 90-100% for “head aches” and never was even on a bivoac, let alone a war!!!
Robert Dukes says
You should qualify but based on income you will have copzys
linda bourgeois says
They told me the same thing. Fact is, this is NOT welfare, you have EARNED your benefits, so keep pushing and you will get enrolled. But I feel your pain……it’s frustrating
You must go to the DAV or VFW and apply for a disability. You will need the DD form 214 release from the military and medical proof of disability
Joseph Robinson says
Older veterans face the same problems as the new ones and younger ones so why don’t you pass a law for them to have dental work done there’s a big dental office in the big VA hospital in Buffalo New York why can’t you do that got a lot to do with the intake of the food you eat and you’re all around good health
Dave LeBlanc says
Unless you have 100% disability rating you aren’t allowed dental. I know when I retired from the Air Force in 2008 I was made too have paperwork showing my dental was 100% correct before I could retire. It would have been nice if I was told about dental insurance when I retired but was not. I was lucky and got a government job and they had a 1 time buy into dental that could be converted through my military retirement and taken out of that pay. Sucks as no one informs retiring members.
william edwards says
you forgot that it is almost impossible to get a percentage. however the bills i receive are pretty low
Gerald Mortz says
I was getting travel pay to the VA and now I’m getting nothing because I don’t have 30% or more disability but I still live a good 2 hours away. I don’t think we should be put out because they changed the rules
If you’re so far away, the VA pays for you to be seen at a civilian medical facility. Look into that.
Tom Davis says
Correct. There is a big communication gap in conveying benefits and the hidden foot notes on acceptance. Appears just another “feel good “for the politicians to brag as they did for the new funding of the Caregivers Program, only to deny most everyone, in turn it took a private lawsuit to do a revisit and pay out. The VA cannot fund the current work load of old Vietnam Vets applying for Agent Orange illness. How will they handle another influx ? Beware of anything coming out of Congress with mid-term elections coming up. (Yes I have worked inside the beltway)
Their is currently Dental Grants for veterans, spouses of veterans and dependent children. Valid until 06/2022 and probably will be extended. The grants are given thru dental teaching schools for example Nova Dental in Davie Fl. The grants cover everything for restoration treatment and functionality. Very easy to apply. Look to dental schools in your area on line and do a search for veteran dental grants. quick and simple. Without proper dental care you can develop serious medical conditions in the oral maxilla such as bone cancer or endocarditis (inflammation of the hears.
I am a disabled veteran/ legal nurse consultant with over 20 years as an RN. You are trained soldiers, Airmen ect. Its time your apply your training to fight for yourself. Never accept no!!!
because it goes into the pool of proof that the service made your teeth bad and not your unhealthy habits or not brushing! As with all claims you have to have proof or some kind of nexus from the doctor that it happened in the service or it is service connected. Most infantryman like me have a hard time getting disability because we “sucked it up” and did not go to the doc!
Now I tell young soldiers that if they have a hang nail to have it recorded! Sad but it is what it is!
bill krueger says
am i intital to veterans benifits
William Sheppard says
We need to change laws where our veterans are not being taken care of. Veterans is America’s best assets and known as boots on the ground. I need a advocate in the state department. I am having a Visa issue in getting a immigrant visa for my wife. She was denied and the embassy officer did not believe us and was very disrespectful to me as a veteran. I need help
Joe D says
Consular Officers have sole discretion in denying a Visa but their decision must be based on a suspicion of fact for denial. It cannot result from disliking the applicant for a personal reason, or having a bad day. If you feel that happened in your case or have evidence to support a review, then you should contact your Congressman.
If you have access to a computer pull up Romero vs Consulate of the U. S. , Barranquilla Aug 12 1994, 860 F. Supp. 319 (E. D. Va. 1994). It might give you some insight into the Consular Officers role and decision making process. Good Luck Semper Fi
Gary Michael Briggs says
I would be willing to pay a reduced amount for VA Dental Insurance
Patrick Michael Howard, LtCol (R), USAF says
Didn’t your transition talk with the VA include a discussion about Delta Dental Plan?
Here ya go. No need to get stuff screwed up by confusing the VA payment office by a reduction.
I figure the VA will probably take your full disability amount and not give you access to dental anyway. :(. lol
I tried to get seen by va doctor and was told I didn’t qualify for benefits because I made too much money! I made $10/hour! Served my country for 4 years in the USAF, and have to be near homeless to receive benefits?? All veterans should be covered regardless of income!! We served our country!
Patrick Michael Howard, LtCol (R), USAF says
The VA can’t make a decision about your ability to access the VA health care system based on income.
All access is based on:
1. Did ya serve?
2. Basically, a bad-person discharge?
3. Do you have a medical condition from your military time?
Based on number 3 answer the VA will assign you a disability rating. This RATING decides EVERYTHING else for ya in medical. Income isn’t a basis for the care ya get.
Steven Falk says
If you do not have a disability rating, you can still qualify for VA medical care. The access to VA medical care is then based on income levels..
Timothy a Schulz says
I totally agree
Health care is free if you have an Honorable or General Under Honorable Condition discharge and you have a Service Connected disability. VA Healthcare will cost you because you won’t qualify for the zero out of pocket cost of the highest Health Group Level . The Groups enumerated 1-8 so, the lower the group, the greater the benefit and your income is not relevant.
If you make less than 80 thousand than you do not have to pay for hospital but you do have copays for your medication. If you make more than that than you would have to pay for everything but they tell you that you are not eligible because you can afford healthcare unless you have a service connection than if you are 50% or less you only have to pay for meds over 50%than you don’t pay for anything
That’s odd, because as I was coming up through the ranks of VA disability percentages, (And believe me, I hit every one of them, except for the 40%), I never wound up paying any kind of copay, nor paid a dime for my meds. Now I am at 100% and don’t have to worry about any of that. But boy was it a struggle climbing to the top mark.
J. D. Boyd says
I am a surviving spouse of a 100% disabled veteran. He died from complications of his disability. I receive a small monthly VA income. Am I eligible?
Jennifer Park says
I need help with dental Service I have va insurance but not active. What options do we have?
You must be specifically service connected for dental or 100% service connected to get Dental
Cassandra I Valdez says
Cassandra * I Valdez
martin boger jr says
who qualify for home repair or renovation
Check with dav or VFW your social worker at the va can request help for you
MARK L PETERSEN says
It is so typical of the Congress to pass unfunded ‘feel good’ laws in order that they may point to their support for Veteran friendly legislation. Raise taxes to give the VA more money to hire more health care personnel, facilities, and the necessary administrative support to include the appropriate oversight/inspections. Veterans help each other through Veterans service organizations and other Veteran=centered support groups. Every honorably discharged Veteran deserves health care regardless of the VA’s determination of disability status. I don’t have a problem with income-based means tests to access VA health care. If you have private health insurance and enough income, you could choose to access available VA health care or do as I did and only seek VA health care for service-connected disability treatment.
James Strait says
I was 60% until I got married then the VA decided my wife made to much and took my pension and made us pay back $18,000 and ended my pension..I now receive a 20% rating for hearing and tenitus. Can I get any help getting my money back?
Flood the system with as many vets as possible without having the facilities, doctors and everything else to care for them. On top of that it will impact those who have been waiting years for approval of their cases and those related to Agent Orange for all Vietnam era vets including all those who served in Thailand who have been waiting over 50 years for their claims to be approved. More reason to Deny, Deny, Deny.
DAVID ARONLD BROWN says
WHAT HAPPEN THE WHO TO US G. I.WHO COULD NOT USE THERE G.I. WHEN THEY LEFT THE AIRFORCE.
WHAT HAPPEN TO THE FOREVER G.I. BILL WHERE I CAN HELP MY KIDS. GO TO COLLEGE.
You only have ten years after you get out to use the GI bill
Jessie Cox says
Through negligence the VA doctor has caused blindness in my right eye. A disgnosed, but untreated carotid artery. Do i have any recourse?
Personal Injury attorney’s in your state can help you. find one with VA law suits to represent you. It’s common knowledge they deny claims initially. You have to be persistent and keep re-submitting and appealing you claims continue treatment as needed without your supportive documentation VA adjusters will not honor them. I’m sorry to say this its not a user friendly system especially for older veterans.
Conrado luna says
We need dental to cover implants and not have to be 100% disabled
Anthony R Paglieri says
They took away our healthcare in 2001 if we never used it. They are not doing much for us Vietnam era veterans. We were treated like ^%%^$ when we got out of the service and that includes by our government.
As I read the comments, its sad for this veteran to see so many veteran’s (retirees or disabled) struggle for basic, promised VA healtcare and the complex/bureacratic challenges that government healthcare presents. This is just another reminder, that our government should never run healthcare.
stanford mayfield says
I hear a lot about not being able to get VA benefits because of your spouse’s income is something that causes problems in your household your spouse did not serve you did .
stanford mayfield says
Expecially when you are not able to work
They go by the household income to determine eligibility
Oops there goes another 1st Amendment Rights,
Freedom of Choice..
Doesn’t the Senate know the government is discharging personnel from military. Who cares for what reason. The point is the Senate has put yet another burden on the VA to Automatically enroll veterans.
Robert Baylor says
VA needs to clear past claims. My claim has been pending for 335 days.
John J Coppa says
I was promised if I served I would get medical services at no cost obviously they lied I served during Vietnam I fulfilled my obligation but they did not fulfill there obligation
Ralph A Hunt says
Remembering a quotation; “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!” The VA has many good intentions, however the VA has become too big to be little. I personally spend two days in the VA facility in Harlingen, Texas attempting to learn about VA assistance with medical bills when being treated for Prostate Cancer. I failed to get anything but words and more words, but no needed information. Although I am a veteran with honorable discharge, I find it frustrating to attempt to get information from the VA, as it now is structured.
Being a 100 permanent totally disabled honorably discharged officer, my local VA regional office denied all my conditions. This was based on even providing multiple medical opinions from numerous VA and civilian physicians. I had even circled all the conditions listed in my medical records. I got angry enough to send a copy my records to PVA and then directly to the pension and compensation in Washington DC. I was warned by one of their staff that I will still be denied. I sent it to them anyway. I received a phone call about two months later from PVA that the C&P folks awarded me an 90 percent rating. I then looked and compared my rating to one of my conditions which finally raised my rating to 100 percent. I have had some severe changes in my conditions but if I go in front a poor clinical reviewer, they can arbitrarily reduce some of my ratings. The VA by law is suppose to work for the benefit of the veteran. But this is still a major problem within some regional offices. I had one additional talent that came in handy. I am a military trained Army medical corp officer who specific residency training is in occupational medicine. So I could translate the VA medical regulations into percentages to receive my clinical benefits. But no veteran needs to have a clinical degree in order to hold the VA accountable. It just means that someone finally looked at my case in DC and decided to do the right thing by me. But the VA hates to give out fully totaled permanent ratings of 100 percent. At 100 percent there are more benefits for veterans and family. My wife and children are entitled to ChampVA medical cover till they are 23, with my wife, as long as she lives. ChampVA pays 70/30 so you an additional policy, like from the Hartford, to pay the difference. But there are small deductibles that start over each year. The education for trade school or college can be a lifesaver to pay for school. I have three adult children who graduated under this program and functioning quite well in chosen professions. Sadly, no physicians!
You can be eligible at this level for the VA to give you a one time grant of over 20000 to help cover the bill for a vehicle. I am not sure if this entitlement goes toward the purchase of a second vehicle so your wife can drive you if needed.
There is the dental benefit that can be done at the VA for 100 percent disabled veterans. I was always under my wife’s dental plan which was quite adequate for me and my family. You can also get other free services. But you need to be careful if a benefit only pertains to veterans who are truly rated 100 percent permanent and total. I am not sure if a lower rating with unemployability can receive all these benefits.
sal F cioffi says
How can I receive medical benefits if I’m using Medicare? My spouse is not a veteran, so she has TO REMAIN ON MY Medicare. I WAS TOLD THAT I COULD SAVE $$ BY USING THE VA BUT MY WIFE HAS TO REMAIN ON HER MEDICARE. Do I have to remain on Medicare with her as well?
You can still use VA for your medical if you have Medicare. Or even other insurance as long as you qualify with eligibility.
You should be able to just have Medicare part A and have your spouse under your Medicare
John W. Hoyt says
There are at last count 28 Veteran & VA Bills pending in the Senate. The one I’m concerned about is the Service Members and Veterans Civil Rights Bill which passed the House 12/20, This Bill deals with the various scams and frauds that preyed on Vets, My identity, important papers etc were stolen during a robbery. The criminals used my information for a gift card scam. My credit rating went from the low 800’s to 408. Chase for the past four years says I owe them $43,000! Chase knew this was a scam and did nothing! As far as I am concerned, the Senate is a graveyard where needed, good Bills go to die and get buried. Attention Senator Moran, I have lived in Kansas since 1974 and I. vote.