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VA Healthcare Expansion: What WWII Veterans Need to Know

Rep for Vets > News  > VA Healthcare Expansion: What WWII Veterans Need to Know

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VA Healthcare Expansion: What WWII Veterans Need to Know

Disabled World War II veteran participating in memorial ceremony

For those veterans who served in WWII and may not have utilized VA healthcare facilities, a recent outreach initiative may have caught your attention. It’s not a scam. This is the VA’s effort to encourage eligible veterans to apply for additional no-cost health care services provided by the VA, including nursing home care and home-based primary care.

We were actually a bit surprised to learn that WWII veterans aren’t already enjoying free health coverage from the VA, but better late than never, right? Enrolling means no copays, no enrollment fees, and no monthly premiums. Importantly, you may also keep your private providers, Medicare, and most other insurance to meet your health care needs—because why not have options?

Who Is Eligible?

World War II veterans who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946, are eligible under this expansion, regardless of their length of service or financial status. Veterans from the Greatest Generation aren’t known for making a lot of fuss over government benefits, so we’re thrilled to see these proud veterans getting the additional care they deserve.

Why Now?

This extension of VA healthcare to World War II veterans became law with the passage of the Cleland-Dole Act in December 2022. The comprehensive bill addresses the long-term healthcare needs of older veterans and includes expansions to telehealth and initiatives to help unhoused veterans. The expansion began to take effect this year.

Both of the senators the bill was named in honor of were seasoned veterans who understood the true cost of war. Bob Dole, who came under Nazi machine gun fire, spent 39 months in a hospital and later championed the Americans With Disabilities Act. Max Cleland, despite losing both legs and part of an arm to a grenade blast in Vietnam, became the youngest VA administrator and advocated for the VA to recognize PTSD as an invisible wound of war.

A military man hugs his English Bulldog

What is PTSD and How Does the VA Rate It?

Our understanding of PTSD, an anxiety condition that can have severe health impacts, has has grown in recent years. Informed by mental health reserach, the VA understands that it can take a long time, even decades, for PTSD symptoms to take a toll on a veteran’s health. The good news is it’s now easier for veterans to get treatment and benefits for service-connected PTSD. Learn more here.

How to Apply for VA Healthcare Services

If you fall within the timeframe of service—between Dec. 7, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946—applying for VA health care is the first step. You can call 1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411) to get the application process started, or visit the VA’s website by following this link:

https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction

If you’re able, you can also, drop by your nearest VA medical center or clinic.

Nursing Home Care

For almost all World War II Veterans eligible for nursing home services at VA, care is provided free of copays or at subsidized rates. This includes those in need due to a service-connected disability and those with a service-connected disability rated at 70% or more.

Prefer to Stay Home? The VA Has You Covered

For those who prefer to remain in the comfort of their homes, VA health care offers a range of services tailored to individual needs and availability in your area. From home-based primary care led by a VA doctor to home health aide services supervised by a registered nurse, the options ensure that every veteran receives the care they deserve.

Here are some additional resources on the VA website to explore:

Home-based primary care – A VA health care team, led by a VA doctor, who provides services in your home

Homemaker/home health aide (H/HHA) services – A trained caregiver (supervised by a registered nurse) who comes into your home to help you care for yourself

Adult day health care – A program you can go to during the day for social activities, companionship, and recreation as well as care and support

Hospice care – Skilled caregivers who come into your home to provide comfort care to you and your family if you have a terminal condition

Palliative care – Skilled caregivers who come into your home to provide comfort care to help ease your pain and mitigate your symptoms

What is Aid and Attendance?

Another benefit available to older veterans is the Aid and Attendance program. It provides financial assistance to veterans and surviving spouses who require the aid of another person to perform activities of daily living. This program extends support to those who may be bedridden, reside in a nursing home, or have limited eyesight.

Aid and Attendance can enhance the level of care provided, addressing the specific needs of veterans facing challenges in their daily lives. It covers a range of services, including assistance with bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. (We should not that Aid and Attendance does have an income limit. Learn more here, and be sure to watch out for Aid and Attendance scams.)

Thank You for Your Service

This latest expansion of VA benefits is a testament to the enduring commitment to honor and care for our WWII heroes. Apply today and let the VA recognize and appreciate your invaluable service. As we extend this hand of support, we say to our veterans: your country stands by you, ready to provide the care and respect you’ve earned. Thank you for your service.

Thank You Veterans

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