What Are the Eligibility Requirements for VA Medical Benefits?


Quick Answer

The eligibility requirements for Veterans' Administration, or VA, benefits include having prior service in the armed forces and receiving a non-dishonorable discharge or release, states the VA. Current and prior members of the Reserves or National Guard are also eligible for benefits if called to active duty per a government order and if the full term of service was completed.

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Full Answer

A veteran who enlisted after September 7, 1980 or entered active duty after October 16, 1981 must have served 24 continuous months or the full period of active duty to which he was called to receive benefits, explains the VA. This requirement may not apply to veterans who enlisted prior to September 7, 1980, were discharged for a disability received in the line of duty or had a hardship. The VA recommends that all veterans apply for benefits, as there are other exceptions to the minimum duty requirement.

Veterans who are former prisoners of war, have received a Purple Heart medal or a Medal of Honor, or receive a VA pension may be given enhanced eligibility status during the benefits application and enrollment processes, according to the VA. This status is also available to veterans who were discharged due to a disability incurred during service, a hardship or an early out. Veterans who are determined to be catastrophically disabled, who served in a Theater of Operations for five years after service, whose prior year income is below certain thresholds or who served in certain areas during specific time periods are eligible for this status as well.

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