VA Healthcare and your DD 214
The VA operates the largest health care system in the country, with over 1400 hospitals, community clinics, in-patient treatment centers, and counseling facilities spread out across all 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Veterans who served on active duty can go to any local VA facility with a copy of their DD214 and have their basic eligibility evaluated. While the news media reports on problems with VA healthcare, as they should, overall the VA delivers quality care, and most veterans wouldn’t change their VA health care to private insurance if they were given that chance.
Basic Eligibility Begins with the DD214
Any veteran who served on active duty in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Marine Corps, and was discharged or released with a discharge other than dishonorable, MAY qualify for VA health care benefits. Active duty time is always documented on the DD Form 214, so the first step in applying for VA health care is to obtain a copy of your DD214. Reservists and members of the Army or Air National Guard may also qualify, if they were called to active duty (active duty training does not apply), and completed the full term of the active service they were ordered or called to perform.
How Much Time Do I have to have on my Form DD214 to qualify?
Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 1981, must have completed 24 months of active duty service, or completed the full term for which they were called to active duty service, and prove this to the VA by producing copies of their DD Form 214. The minimum duty requirement may not apply to veterans who received hardship separations, or to those who were discharged from active duty due to an injury received or aggravated in the line of duty.
I have a copy of my DD214, how do I apply for VA health care?
Veterans can apply for VA health care by taking a copy of their DD 214 to any VA health care facility, or any regional benefits office, and filling out VA Form 10-10 EZ-Application for Health Benefits. Veterans can also apply online via VA medical application web page www.va.gov/1010ez. Veterans who need help with the online application can call the VA at 1-877-222-VETS. No matter how you apply, VA will ask you to provide copies of your DD Form 214, to get the application started. Once enrolled, you will be able to receive VA health care at any of the facilities across the country, or in the American territories mentioned above.