You’ve likely already heard about how the PACT Act could impact your care and benefitsbut did you know it also expands health care eligibility for many Veterans?
When President Biden signed the PACT Act Aug. 10, 2022, it was initiated one of the largest expansions of VA benefits in history. This includes extended VA health care enrollment eligibility to Vietnam-era, Gulf War-era and Post-9/11 Veterans.
You can help spread the word about expanded eligibility to enroll in VA health care for your Veteran friends who have not previously enrolled. Here are all the details you need to know to help them get the care they earned and deserve.
For Vietnam-era Veterans
Vietnam-era Veterans who served in the following locations and time periods are eligible to apply for enrollment beginning now:
- Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- Thailand at any US or Royal Thai base between Jan. 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976
- Laos between Dec. 1, 1965, and Sept. 30, 1969
- Certain provinces in Cambodia between April 16, 1969, and April 30, 1969
- Guam or American Samoa (or their territorial waters) between Jan. 9, 1962, and July 31, 1980
- Johnston Atoll (or a ship that called there) between Jan. 1, 1972, and Sept. 30, 1977
For Gulf War-era Veterans
Beginning Oct. 1, 2022, Gulf War-era Veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after the Persian Gulf War may be eligible to enroll in VA health care.
This also includes Veterans who, in connection with service during such period, received the following awards or recognitions:
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Service Specific Expeditionary Medal
- Combat Era Specific Expeditionary Medal
- Campaign Specific Expeditionary Medal
- Any other combat theater award established by Federal statute or Executive Order
For Post-9/11 Veterans
Post-9/11 Veterans discharged before Oct. 1, 2013, can enroll in VA health care during a special 1-year enrollment period between Oct. 1, 2022, and Oct. 1, 2023. To be eligible, one of the following must be true:
- They served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War, or
- They served in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998.
How to talk to your friends about VA health care
If you have eligible Veteran friends who aren’t currently enrolled, they may be hesitant to apply for any number of reasons. Consider sharing your own experience to help demystify the process. Remind them that they earned the right to this care through their service and point them in the direction of resources to help – like visiting their nearest VA medical center or clinic.
Plus, it’s free and easy to apply. Read on for more details about VA health care and the four simple options for applying.
Fast facts about VA health care
- Enrollment is free, and health care may be free as well.
- VA health care for any illness or injury determined to be related to your military service (called “service connected”) is free. The PACT Act added more than 20 presumptive conditions, expanding benefits to Vietnam-era, Gulf War-era, and Post-9/11 Veterans.
Check out the complete list of new presumptive conditions at www.va.gov/PACT.
Tell your friends to apply for VA health care in one of four ways:
- On line: https://www.va.gov/health-care/apply/application/introduction.
- By calling the toll-free hotline: 877-222-8387.
- By mailing VA Form 10-10EZ to:
- Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Rd., Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329
- Health Eligibility Center
- in person at their nearest VA medical center or clinic