By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Veterans Benefit Attorney

VA health benefits can offer a more economical health care option for Veterans who are underinsured because with the VA they have greater access to healthcare nationwide, as a veteran can seek care at any VA health care facility in the U.S. once enrolled in the VA health care system.

What Is A VA Health Care Facility?

When you enroll in VA health care, you are eligible (if approved and qualify) for what is termed a Medical Benefits Package. This package consists of hospital, outpatient, and extended care services providing basic and preventive care, as well as prescription drugs, emergency care and even in some cases, services like: rehabilitative services, professional counseling and mental health services; durable medical equipment, including eyeglasses and hearing aids; home health services; reconstructive (plastic) surgery; hospice care; and dental care.

What exactly is available to the recipient of VA health benefits will depend on the veteran’s eligibility status and whether such services are deemed medically necessary by VA health care providers. You receive a booklet called the Veterans Health Benefits Handbook after enrollment that gives you the specifics of your individual Medical Benefits Package.

Who qualifies for the benefit?

If you served in the active military, naval or air service and were discharged under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. There is a minimum duty requirement for veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, but there are also many exceptions both before and after this date. Although family members, (with very limited exception) cannot access the VA health care system, family members of veterans may be eligible for CHAMPVA. This is a program that provides health insurance coverage to dependents of a qualifying veteran who is, or was at the time of death, rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or who died of a service-connected disability.

How do you enroll?

You can apply for VA health care by completing VA Form 10-10EZ Application for Health Benefits and submitting it in person or by mail to the enrollment coordinator at any VA Medical Center.

More information

As part of enrollment, the applicant is assigned to a Priority Group based on the severity and nature of the applicant’s disability and/or income. There are eight Priority Groups for enrollment, from highest priority at #1 to the lowest at #8. The Priority Group assignment will determine what the VA Health Benefits enrollee will pay, if anything, in copayments for their health benefits. Generally, the cost of care is free when related to service-connected disabilities, but there may be a copay for all other services, to include prescriptions.

To discuss your NJ Veterans Benefits matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.