Through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Health Administration, a lot of veterans were given extensive health benefits. These benefits are given to those who served on active duty and were honorably discharged.

For most of veterans who joined after September 1980, they must have served for 24 continuous months to qualify for these benefits. However, there are exceptions and you have to check your eligibility. You can click this to download the Health Care Benefits Overview publication for more information.

The benefits they can avail include Inpatient and outpatient care at VA medical facilities, Prescriptions, Health programs for dental care, long-term care, substance abuse, suicide prevention, and more. There is also a Veterans Choice Program for eligible veterans who prefer to see their non-VA doctors who are usually located in areas closer to their home.

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and VA Medical Benefits

For veterans enrolled in the VA health care system, they can get hold of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health care law.

Medical Benefits and Complaints about VA Health Care

To apply for VA health benefits or to update your information, click here.

For complaints regarding your health care provider, medical facility or other details on care, immediately discuss it with the provider or supervisor. You can also contact patient advocates who manage feedbacks from veterans and their family members/friends. You can also take additional steps.

For more information regarding complaints, you can call 1-877-222-VETS (1-877-222-8387)  or 1-800-827-1000.

Compensation Benefits for Veterans

Compensation benefits for veterans from the VA are tax-free. They also give monetary compensation benefits which includes disability compensation for service-related injuries/illness. Survivors or veterans may also be given these benefits.

To learn more about these and the new streamlined claims processes, visit explore.va.gov or file a claim here.

For veterans who are currently receiving disability benefits, the FINRA publication How to Save and Invest Your Disability Benefits: A Guide for Warriors in Transition (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) can help them manage these benefits.

Get Help with Suicidal Thoughts

Immediately contact a mental health professional or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through any of these numbers:

1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) Veterans, choose option 1.

In Spanish: 1-800-SUICIDA (1-800-784-2432)

TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)

Online Web Chat Services

  1. A. Lifeline Chat is available

-available everyday at 2:00 PM to 2:00 AM ET

  1. Veterans Chat

-available 24 hours a day, everyday

The common Suicide Warning Signs from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline include:

  1. Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  2. Looking for a way to kill themselves ie. buying a gun
  3. Talking about hopelessness, having no reason to live
  4. Talking about feeling trapped, unbearable pain
  5. Talking about being a burden
  6. Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  7. Anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  8. Sleeping too little or too much
  9. Withdrawal and Isolation
  10. Rage or talking about seeking revenge
  11. Extreme mood swings

Help someone who may be thinking about suicide by clicking here.

Gulf War Illness and Agent Orange Exposure

Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War are eligible for an Agent Orange Registry health exam.

Veterans with Gulf War Illness from any duty from the first Gulf War through the Iraq War receive a Gulf War Registry health exam.

Both of the mentioned exams can be availed for free and does not require enrollment in the VA health care system.

Register through your local VA environmental health care coordinator. you can also call the VA’s Special Issues line at 1-800-749-8387 or visit GulfLINK to know more.