The Veterans Administration on November 10 announced that all World War II veterans are now eligible for V.A. health care, including inpatient and outpatient health services, without regard to their financial status, income, or disability rating. There are no monthly premiums or enrollment fees, although there may be what the V.A. calls “modest” co-pays for urgent care and medication.
In order to get the benefit, you must enroll in the V.A. health care program, even if you did not do so before because you thought it offered you no benefits. Those who served between December 7, 1941 and December 31, 1946 are eligible.
There are approximately 120,000 members of “The Greatest Generation” out of the 16 million who served, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The new policy reflects expansion of benefits for veterans included in the Health Improvement Act (The Cleland-Dole Act), signed into law by President Biden in 2022.
“These members of Greatest Generation answered the call to serve when our nation – and the world – needed them most. Now, it’s our job to serve them in every way that we can,” said VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
Nursing Home Care For Certain Veterans
World War II vets are now entitled to nursing home coverage under these two circumstances:
- The need for nursing home care is as a result of a service-connected disability; or
- The need for nursing home care is not the result of a service-connected disability, but the veteran has a 70% or more service-related disability.
As with health care benefits above, the V.A. says there will be some modest co-payments required for long-term care coverage.
Nursing home officials have indicated they are awaiting instructions from veterans service organizations on how the free care will be applied and its impact on their eligible World War II residents.
How To Apply
The V.A. says it is in the process of contacting veterans, their families and caregivers to alert them to the free services. You will not be automatically enrolled so your action is required. Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care should apply. And since income restrictions are no longer a factor, any veteran previously rejected on that basis should now re-apply.
You can enroll in the V.A. health care system and apply for this and other benefits in several ways:
Apply online here
Phone the VA at 1-800-myva411 (800-698-2411)
Go the closest medical center or clinic. Find locations here
Don’t be surprised if the Veterans Administration issues additional changes and clarifications to these new policies – some for the better, some for the worse. Stay tuned to this blog for updates.