Become a Patient
Choose VA for your health care needs. With VA health care, each Veteran's medical benefits package is unique. You can apply for VA health care online from the comfort of your own home.
If you served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health care as well.
Minimum Duty Requirements
Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, were discharged for a hardship or received an “early out.” Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply in order to determine their enrollment eligibility.
Veterans Health Benefits Handbook
VA produces a personalized “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” for each Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system. The handbook provides a current and accurate description of VA health care benefits and services. Your handbook will be tailored specifically to you with personal identifying information, and should be safeguarded as you would any other sensitive personal document.
The “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” includes:
- Eligibility and health care benefits,
- Contact information for your preferred facility,
- Information regarding copayment responsibilities,
- Instructions on how to schedule appointments,
- Guidelines to communicate treatment needs,
- Patient rights,
- Ways to obtain copies of medical records and
- Other important information.
You will receive your personalized handbook via U.S. mail; therefore, you should have a current address on file with VA. Handbooks are mailed based on Priority Group, beginning with Priority Group 1 and ending with Priority Group 8. For more information, go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhbh. You may also call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) if you need to update your address or receive more information.
Health Care Benefits Overview
VA publishes the "Health Care Benefits Overview" booklet, which provides general information and frequently asked questions about VA’s medical benefits package available for all enrollees, and other information such as eligibility for enrollment.
The publication is available and can be downloaded at https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/epublications.asp.
We encourage you to refer to it whenever you have questions about your eligibility for specific health care benefits. More information is available at the following resources: