VA Priority Groups

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Enrollment Priority Groups                                 2010

Priority Groups

During enrollment, each veteran is assigned to a priority group. VA uses priority groups to balance demand for VA health care enrollment with resources. Changes in available resources may reduce the number of priority groups VA can enroll. If this occurs, VA will publicize the changes and notify affected enrollees. A description of priority groups follows:

Priority Group

Definition

1

Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 percent or more and/or veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions.

2

Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 30 or 40 percent.

 

3

Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 10 and 20 percent; veterans who are former Prisoners of War (POW) or were awarded a Purple Heart medal; veterans awarded special eligibility for disabilities incurred in treatment or participation in a VA Vocational Rehabilitation program; and veterans whose discharge was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

4

Veterans receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits and/or veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.

5

Veterans receiving VA pension benefits or eligible for Medicaid programs, and non service-connected veterans and noncompensable, zero percent service-connected veterans whose gross annual household income and/or net worth are below the VA national

Chapter 1 VA Health Care 3 income threshold and geographically-adjusted income threshold for their resident area.

6

Veterans of World War I; veterans seeking care solely for certain conditions associated with exposure to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; for any illness associated with participation in tests conducted by the Department of Defense (DoD) as part of Project 112/Project SHAD; veterans with zero percent service-connected disabilities who are receiving disability compensation benefits and veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998 as follows:

1. Veterans discharged from active duty on or after Jan. 28, 2003, who were enrolled as of Jan. 28, 2008 and veterans who apply for enrollment after Jan. 28, 2008, for 5 years post discharge

2. Veterans discharged from active duty before Jan. 28, 2003, who apply for enrollment after Jan. 28, 2008, until Jan. 27, 2011

7

Veterans with gross household income below the geographically- adjusted income threshold (GMT) for their resident location and who agree to pay copays.

 

8

Veterans with gross household income and/or net worth above the VA national income threshold and the geographic income threshold who agree to pay copays. Note: Due to income relaxation rules implemented on June 15, 2009 Veterans with household income above the VA national threshold or the GMT income threshold for their resident location by 10 percent or less, who agree to pay copays, are eligible for enrollment in Priority Group 8.

Chapter 9 Special Groups of Veterans

Homeless Veterans

VA’s homeless programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the country, offering a wide array of services to help veterans recover from homelessness and live as self-sufficiently and independently as possible.

The VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program provides a gateway to VA and community supportive services for eligible Veterans. Through the HCHV Program, Veterans are provided with case management and residential treatment in the community. The program also conducts outreach to homeless Veterans who are not likely to come to VA facilities on their own.

The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (NCCHV) assists homeless veterans, at-risk Veterans, their families and other interested parties with linkages to appropriate VA and community-based resources. The call center provides trained VA staff members 24 hours a day, seven days a week that assess a caller’s needs and connect them to appropriate resources. The call center can be accessed by dialing 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838).

The VA Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program provides funds to non-profit community agencies providing transitional housing (up to 24 months) and/or offering services to homeless veterans, such as case management, education, crisis intervention, counseling, and services targeted towards specialized populations including homeless women Veterans. The goal of the program is helping homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination.

The Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supported Housing (HUD-VASH) Program provides permanent housing and ongoing case management for eligible homeless veterans who would not be able to live independently without the support of case management. This program allows eligible veterans to live in veteran-selected housing units with a “Housing Choice” voucher. These vouchers are portable to support the veteran’s choice of housing in communities served by their VA medical facility where case management services can be provided. HUD-VASH services include outreach and case management to ensure integration of services and continuity of care. This program enhances the ability of VA to serve homeless women veterans, and homeless veterans with families.

Through the Supportive Services for Low-Income Veterans Program, VA aims to improve very low-income Veteran families’ housing stability by providing supportive services to very low-income Veteran families in or transitioning to permanent housing. VA funds community-based organizations to provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits. Grantees may also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies and licensed child care providers) if these payments help Veterans’ families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.

In VA’s Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence (CWT/TR) Program, disadvantaged, at-risk, and homeless Veterans live in CWT/TR community-based supervised group homes while working for pay in VA’s CWT Program, to learn new job skills, relearn successful work habits, and regain a sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

The Healthcare for Re-Entry Veterans (HCRV) Program offers outreach, referrals and short-term case management assistance for incarcerated veterans who may be at risk for homelessness upon their release.

For more information on VA homeless programs and services, Veterans currently enrolled in VA health care can speak with their VA mental health or health care provider. Other Veterans and interested parties can find a complete list of VA health care facilities at www.va.gov, or they can call VA’s general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000. If assistance is needed when contacting a VA facility, ask to speak to the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program or the Mental Health service manager. Information is also available on the VA Homeless program Web-site at www.va.gov/homeless.

Filipino Veterans

World War II era Filipino veterans are eligible for certain VA benefits. Generally, Old Philippine Scouts are eligible for VA benefits in the same manner as U.S. veterans. Commonwealth Army veterans, including certain organized Filipino guerrilla forces and New Philippine Scouts residing in the United States who are citizens or lawfully admitted for permanent residence, are also eligible for VA health care in the United States on the same basis as U.S. veterans.

Certain Commonwealth Army veterans and new Philippine Scouts may be eligible for disability compensation and burial benefits. Other veterans of recognized guerrilla groups also may be eligible for certain VA benefits. Survivors of World War II era Filipino veterans may be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation. Eligibility and the rates of benefits vary based on the recipient’s citizenship and place of residence. Call 1-800-827-1000 for additional information.

VA Benefits for Veterans Living Overseas

VA monetary benefits, including disability compensation, pension, educational benefits, and burial allowances are generally payable overseas. Some programs are restricted. Home loan guaranties are available only in the United States and selected U.S. territories and possessions. Educational benefits are limited to approved, degree-granting programs in institutions of higher learning. Beneficiaries living in foreign countries should contact the nearest American embassy or consulate for help. In Canada, contact an office of Veterans Affairs Canada. For information, visit http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Foreign/index.htm.

World War II Era Merchant Marine Seamen

Certain Merchant Marine seamen who served in World War II may qualify for veterans benefits. When applying for medical care, seamen must present their discharge certificate from the Department of Defense. Call 1-800-827-1000 for help obtaining a certificate.

Allied Veterans Who Served During WWI or WWII

VA may provide medical care to certain veterans of nations allied or associated with the United States during World War I or World War II if authorized and reimbursed by the foreign government. VA also may provide hospitalization, outpatient care and domiciliary care to former members of the armed forces of Czechoslovakia or Poland who fought in World War I or World War II in armed conflict against an enemy of the United States if they have been U.S. citizens for at least 10 years.

World War Service by Particular Groups

A number of groups who provided military-related service to the United States can receive VA benefits. A discharge by the Secretary of Defense is needed to qualify. Service in the following groups has been certified as active military service for benefits purposes:

  1. Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs).
  2. World War I Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit.
  3. World War I Engineer Field Clerks.
  4. Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).
  5. Quartermaster Corps female clerical employees serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
  6. Civilian employees of Pacific naval air bases who actively participated in defense of Wake Island during World War II.
  7. Reconstruction aides and dietitians in World War I.
  8. Male civilian ferry pilots.
  9. Wake Island defenders from Guam.
  10. Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence.
  11. Guam Combat Patrol.
  12. Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during World War II.
  13. U.S. civilians who participated in the defense of Bataan.
  14. U.S. merchant seamen on block ships in support of Operation Mulberry in the World War II invasion of Normandy.
  15. American merchant marines in oceangoing service during World War II.
  16. Civilian Navy IFF radar technicians who served in combat areas of the Pacific during World War II.
  17. U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas in World War I.
  18. U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas under U.S. armies and U.S. army groups in World War II.
  19. U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.
  20. Civilian crewmen of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels who served in areas of immediate military hazard while conducting cooperative operations with and for the U.S. armed forces between Dec. 7, 1941, and Aug. 15, 1945 Qualifying vessels are: the Derickson, Explorer, Gilber, Hilgard, E. Lester Jones, Lydonia Patton, Surveyor, Wainwright, Westdahl, Oceanographer, Hydrographer and Pathfinder.
  21. Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and July 18, 1942.
  22. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of United Air Lines who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug.14, 1945.
  23. U.S. civilian flight crew, including pursers, and aviation ground support employees of Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.
  24. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.
  25. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Pan American World Airways and its subsidiaries and affiliates, who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command and Naval Air Transport Service between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.
  26. Honorably discharged members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command, between June 21, 1942, and March 31, 1943.
  27. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Northwest Airlines who served overseas under the airline’s contract with Air Transport Command from Dec. 14, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945.
  28. U.S. civilian female employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps who served in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor between Jan. 2, 1942, and Feb. 3, 1945.
  29. U.S. flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Northeast Airlines Atlantic Division, who served overseas as a result of Northeast Airlines’ contract with the Air Transport Command from Dec. 7, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945.
  30. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Braniff Airways, who served overseas in the North Atlantic or under the jurisdiction of the North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command, as a result of a contract with the Air Transport Command between Feb. 26, 1945, and Aug. 14, 1945.
  31. Chamorro and Carolina former native police who received military training in the Donnal area of central Saipan and were placed under command of Lt. Casino of the 6th Provisional Military Police Battalion to accompany U.S. Marines on active, combat patrol from Aug. 19, 1945, to Sept. 2, 1945.
  32. The operational Analysis Group of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Office of Emergency Management, which served overseas with the U.S. Army Air Corps from Dec. 7, 1941, through Aug. 15, 1945.
  33. Service as a member of the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II of any individual who was honorably discharged under section 8147 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2001.

Incarcerated Veterans

VA benefits are affected if a beneficiary is convicted of a felony and imprisoned for more than 60 days. Disability or death pension paid to an incarcerated beneficiary must be discontinued. Disability compensation paid to an incarcerated veteran rated 20 percent or more disabled is limited to the 10 percent rate. For a veteran whose disability rating is 10 percent, the payment is reduced to half of the rate payable to a veteran evaluated as 10 percent disabled.

Any amounts not paid may be apportioned to eligible dependents. Payments are not reduced for participants in work-release programs, residing in halfway houses or under community control.

Failure to notify VA of a veteran’s incarceration can result in overpayment of benefits and the subsequent loss of all VA financial benefits until the overpayment is recovered. VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.

The Healthcare for Reentry Veterans Program (HCRV) offers outreach to veterans incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and referrals and short-term case management assistance upon release from prison. The Veterans Justice Outreach Program (VJO) offers outreach and case management to veterans involved in law enforcement encounters, overseen by treatment courts, and incarcerated in local jails. Visit www.va.gov/homeless/ to locate an outreach worker. 

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