Back by popular demand is this week’s Q&A. Please keep the questions coming in.
Dear Veterans Advice,
I served in the United States Army in World War II. I can’t work any more. The only money I receive is from Social Security. All of my medical care is provided through Medicare. I simply can’t afford the co-payments any longer and I’m on a fixed income. Am I entitled to any VA medical benefits? – Sick Vet
Dear Sick Vet,
If you served your country honorably (received a discharge other than dishonorable) you should be entitled to, at least, medical care through your local Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Most VAMCs have established local Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC). You can call 1-877-222-8387 to find the facility most convenient for you. The form is simple and easy to complete. You will need to complete a Form 10-10 EZ. This forms asks questions about your period(s) of service, type of discharge, and your financial situation. It is also helpful if you have a copy of your discharge papers (DD 214). Even if you do not have a copy of your discharge papers, the VA can request the information needed to establish your medical eligibility.
Once the VA medical facility has determined that you are eligible for care, you will be placed in an Enrollment Priority Group. Currently there are 8 Priority Groups. Based on the information you have provided on VA Form 10-10 EZ, you might qualify for Priority Group 5; Nonservice-connected veteran whose annual income and net worth are below the VA established thresholds. Currently, patients in Priority Group 5 have an $8.00 copay for a 30 day supply of medication. The annual cap is $960.00. Therefore, $960.00 is the most you might have to pay.
Something even more important, from what I see, is that you’ve served your country during time of war. Based on the information you’ve provided, you might qualify for a pension from the VA. To qualify to receive a monthly pension, you must have served at least one (1) day during wartime and have a limited income, and be permanently and totally disable OR at least 65 years old.
In addition to receiving funds, if you qualify for pension you become entitled to other benefits. For example, veterans in receipt of pension do not have any copayments for their medical care. They do not have any medication copayments. And you would be entitled to beneficiary travel. That means the VA would pay you a nominal roundtrip fee. The fee for 2011 was $0.415 per mile. That may not seem like much but it does help cover the cost of gas.
To apply for VA Pension, simply call your VA Regional Office at 1-800-827-1000. Tell the VA you would like to apply for pension and ask they send you the required forms. Or contact one of the many Veteran Service Offices.