My husband is a veteran and is now 65 and eligible for Medicare. He is diabetic and on high-cost drugs he had hoped to get from VA. He had not taken advantage of VA Health Insurance while we had private insurance through employers, but now he doesn't seem to qualify. Why? Are there income restrictions?

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In 2003, Congress changed access to the VA medical system into a 'needs based' system. Most middle and upper income people won't qualify. If you are registered with the VA prior to 2003, you retain more benefits. If not, you can't even register unless/until your income falls below certain levels.
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What reason did the VA give. I know people who took advantage of the VA insurance after retirement and on Medicare. They get SS and good pensions as do their spouses.
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JoeBill, you wrote "doesn't seem to qualify" for VA assistance. Are you basing this on a rejection by the VA, or on something someone has told you? I get the impression he's applied but has been told he isn't qualified to receive meds from the VA? Can you elaborate on this? For what reason doesn't he qualify?

When I last spoke with the VA more than a few years ago, I was told by a VA rep that it provides basic health care to all Veterans. The qualification issues, however, arise from the Veteran's service background, as well as having to have been honorably discharged.

First, clarify what "doesn't seem to qualify" means and on what you based this conclusion.

Second, take the easy way to get more information:

a. Google your state and county for "VA service representatives" and call them for an appointment. These are local trained reps who handle applications for medical and other benefits. They know how to do it, can handle it quickly and get it done more quickly than you can.

They also can answer your questions about income restrictions, which do apply in some cases but not all. It really depends on the level of care which your husband would need; then conditions beyond basic service come into play.

Before you meet with them, try to find your husband's DD 214 as you'll need it, but if you can't locate that, raise the issue before you meet with anyone. The service reps can help you obtain a duplicate.

b. This would require a little bit more work, but you can try to locate VFW or American legion service reps. Not every post has them. They play the same role as the county or state reps.

c. Lastly, and a more complicated and time consuming alternative is to Google "VA hospitals, [your city and state]", then contact the hospital to speak to someone about registration for basic medical care. When you meet with a primary care team, ask your questions then, or ask to see a Social Worker and ask her/him. If this isn't possible at the time, get contact information for the SW and raise your questions.
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