VA Programs: Health Resources

Injuries and medical issues (whether service-related or not) can have a huge impact on the lives of veterans, as can the process of finding and paying for healthcare services

Fortunately, for veterans who qualify, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers extensive resources and support. However, navigating the eligibility requirements, determining what services are covered, and figuring out how to apply can often be a confusing process. Here, we’ve compiled a one-stop, brief overview of veterans’ health care through the VA: 

What Healthcare Services Do VA Benefits Cover?

According to the VA, each veteran’s benefits package is unique, and coverage for some services (such as dental care) may vary depending on your priority group and other factors. However, the VA’s list of basic healthcare services includes:

  • Health exams, health education, and counseling on genetic diseases
  • Vaccines
  • Inpatient medical procedures and care, including surgeries, medical treatments, acute care, and specialized care
  • Routine eye exams and preventive vision care tests
  • Prescriptions written or approved by a VA doctor

While the VA’s coverage for healthcare services is fairly comprehensive, some services are covered only conditionally or sometimes. For example:

  • The VA may cover ancillary services such as testing, therapy and rehabilitation services, prosthetics, audiology services, and radiation for cancer treatment if they are deemed necessary by your VA primary care provider

  • The VA covers urgent or emergency care services if you receive treatment at some VA health facilities OR at an urgent care location that is part of the approved VA network

For more information about additional or specialty services, contact the VA or check their website

Who Is Eligible for VA Healthcare Benefits?

Veterans who have served in the active military, naval, or air service are eligible if they meet the qualifications:

  • Have NOT received a dishonorable discharge

  • For veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980 (or entered active duty after October 16, 1981): veterans whose service falls within this time frame must have served 24 continuous months OR the full period for which they were called to active duty.

  • For veterans who do not meet the aforementioned minimum duty requirement: veterans in this situation may still be eligible for VA benefits if any of the following is true
    • they were discharged for a disability that was caused or exacerbated by active-duty service
    • they were discharged for a hardship
    • they served prior to September 7, 1980

  • For individuals who are current or former members of the Reserves or National Guard: to be eligible for VA benefits, individuals in this situation must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called to active duty. 
    • Reserves or National Guard members who were called to active duty only for training purposes do NOT qualify for VA health care

To inquire about your eligibility or get more information, contact the VA

How Do I Apply for VA Healthcare?

You can apply for VA benefits through this online portal.

What Should I Do If I Am Homeless or at Risk of Homelessness?

The VA’s efforts to end homelessness among veterans includes housing solutions, health care, employment services, and other forms of support. If you are currently homeless or at risk of becoming so, contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 424-3838, or visit your closest VA medical center. 

National Veterans Homeless Support seeks to eliminate homelessness among veterans in Central Florida and nationwide. NVHS takes a proactive, intervention-based approach to homelessness by meeting homeless veterans where they are and helping them from there. Through programs like Search and Rescue Outreach, NVHS helps homeless veterans get the supplies they need to survive, connects them with support and resources, and helps them transition off the streets and into temporary or permanent housing. If you’re able, consider supporting our mission by donating or signing on as a volunteer.