Busting Myths About VA Health Care

The following post was originally featured on the VA’s VAntage Point blog.
By Alex Horton

Rumor mills are permanent fixtures in schools, offices and wherever people congregate, and most of the time they’re pretty innocuous.  But myths and rumors that deal with health–in this case Veterans health–are a serious matter that can prevent qualified Vets from seeking the care they both need and deserve.  Many have come up in the comments section, and others I hear from the guys in my old unit.  The myths won’t die unless they are addressed publicly and clearly, so we present you with the most common we hear, and the straightforward answers they need.

Five Myths About VA Health Care

Myth Number One I wasn’t injured in the service, so I’m not eligible for VA health care.

Status: False
One of the most common myths revolves around eligibility for health care at VA. Many think that you have to first establish a disability rating before you can start to make appointments, see doctors and receive medication. That is not the case. If you served in the military, even during peace time, and were honorably discharged, you likely qualify for VA care.  Even if you don’t meet those requirements, special circumstances might apply, like Vietnam service, exposure to Agent Orange and household income. The best way to find out if you qualify is to submit an application for health benefits.  You can fill one out online or at a VA Medical Center.  If you are an Iraq or Afghanistan Veteran, there are special combat Veteran benefits from VA, like temporary access to dental care and guaranteed access to Priority 6 for five years (unless you are eligible for a higher priority group).  See the priority enrollment groups here.

Also, if new regulations are established regarding health benefits, VA will automatically reassess your case if it’s on file.

Myth Number TwoI can only receive care for service connected injuries.

Status: False
You can receive VA hospital and outpatient care for any ailment, service connected or not if you are enrolled in the VA healthcare system, but you may have to pay a copayment. For example, if a Veteran is service-connected for a bad knee, any VA hospital and outpatient care and medication for the knee is free of charge. However, if the same Vet goes into surgery to remove an appendix and it’s not service connected, he may be subject to a co-pay depending on the amount of his disability rating and other factors. Familiarize yourself with co-pay guidelines and rates.

A small number of Veterans, such as those with bad conduct discharges that VA has determined were issued under conditions other than honorable and who are not subject to certain statutory bars to benefits, can only be treated for their service connected disabilities and nothing else. If one of those Vets is service connected for their left foot, they can only use VA health care for their left foot and nothing else.

Myth Number ThreeI make too much money to qualify for VA health care.

Status: It depends
If you do not have a service connected disability, you may want to use VA’s financial calculator to see if you qualify for free VA care, medication and travel benefits.  If your income is too high (over a maximum income level set every year), you may have to pick up the tab for traveling and receive your care and medication by paying a co-pay.  Recently, the rules have been changed for Priority 8 Veterans to permit more of them to enroll for VA health care.    Go here for more information and an income calculator to see if you qualify under the new rules.

Myth Number FourI can’t use VA health care if I have private health insurance.

Status: False
From VA’s Health Eligibility Center Director Tony Guagliardo:

“We strongly encourage Veterans to receive all your health care through VA.   However, if you choose to receive treatment from private doctors, VA will work with them to meet your health care needs and coordinate effective treatment.  We call this Co-managed Care or Dual Care — which means that your VA and private doctors will work together to provide safe, appropriate, and ethical medical care.”

Myth Number FiveIf I’m 100 percent disabled, that means I’m permanently disabled

Status: False
You could have a 100 percent disability rating as a temporary status while you undergo surgery, and have it reduced to its previous rating after you heal.  100 percent doesn’t necessarily stay with you.

# # # # #

My hope is that this information sheds a little light on the sometimes confusing realm of VA medical care.  These myths and answers are very general, but we hope to receive more specific questions in the comment section. We look forward to dispelling myths about other parts of VA as well.

Alex Horton

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • Rick W.


    • Ed Brenkus


      How do I find out about the State Veterans Affairs Office? I live in PA and have been having problems with the VA.

      I need help solving a serious problem with the VA.



      • been there

        visit the state VA page, chock full of information with contacts, or contact your local representative let him ear his mney.

    • been there

      can’t hear you, can you talk a little louyder.

    • Phillip Blaich

      I retired from the military in 1994 with a 60% disability for several reasons, primarily vascular headaches and photosensativity induced headaches. I have been treated on a regular basis for a progression of the headaches with various medications. However, since I was a mid-level health care provider the treatment has always been a “hallway consultation” . I filled most prescriptions with Express Scripts over the years so there is that record. Unfortunately, few records exist to document the treatments or progression of the disability. What would I need to do to get consideration of an increase in my disability? My e-mail address is pblaich1952@yahoo.com. Thanks for any advice.
      Phil Blaich

    • paula Bann

      My husband was in the Marines in Vietnam. He received a Purple Heart He is 64 now and was wounded badly the first year in Vietnam. He is trying to get paper work filled out at the VA office in Slidell, La. He has gone 5 times, stands in line at 6 am (they open at eight am) He was 16 inline this am. The man at the VA is so kind, but you just wait, no appointments. It is so frustrating to sit for 8 hours, 15 minutes before closing, he was seen. Not enough time to get paperwork done. Any suggestions? Thanks!

      • subhunter13

        Get yourself a VA/SS disability attorney !! They specialize in VA/SS ONLY !!

    • sunshine17

      Rick- I have 100% disability thru the Army and 100% thru the VA- Can I be seen at the VA for the things I cant be seen at the military base for cause the base does not see retired women for gyn appts but the VA does. Is there a problem here if seen by both? I cannot find anyone to answer this one.

      • Kay

        My husband is retired army, 80%disabled and he uses VA and military hospital! Hope this helps.

  • shawn

    unless your 100% disabled you can not get some of the care you need.. for example i needed a tooth removed and due to not being 100% disabled the va would not pull it.. I am a disabled veteran and i am also unemployed. i have been franticly searching for work..but it is hard to find work… so not being 100% disabled I had to pay out of pocket to get the tooth removed by a dentist.. The VA needs to look at their policies and if your disabled 10% or 100% you should have access to all the services at the VA

    • Dan

      Most people seem to believe that health insurance covers dental care. It doesn’t. Not only the VA but medicare and every comercial insurance company in the country make dental totally seperate and NOT covered. For that you need aseperate Dental Insurance. I don’t pretend this is the way it should be; just the way it is.

    • confey v maldonado

      yo shawn call this lawyer if you got 10%or more he’ll get you 100% in about two to three months LAPoint law offices…..1800 940-4557……….he’s out of fla…he got he a 100 %……….don’t stop the fight keep on going he’ll send you some paper work and you just sit back and wait ……….semper-fi bro ………later in the wind

    • David Evans

      The Huntington.WV VA has misdiagnosed my health conditions twice since `1994. Now they are injecting my foot with cortisone which crystalizes in my foot. When I spoke to the patient advocate,he said I should go to another VA for treatment. I served proudly in the US Navy and got injured on my left foot,but I never thought the VA Medical Center in Huntington,WV would ignore my requests for proper medial care. My name is David B. Evans and I live in Charleston,WV.

    • JOE


      • Steven Wright
  • Sgt Jmack

    The VA does not cover Dental for every one. I’m 40% and not covered. I also had a tremendous amount of work done while enlisted, and had trouble with one of the implants. The VA told me to pound sand, even though it was done by the Navy.
    I aksed them if I could pay the work to be done. they gave me an estimate three times what I would have been charged by a civilian doc.
    Eventually it was taken care of, but I was enrolled in the VR&E/Voc Rehab Program, and even then it took a lot of work to get something simple taken care of.

  • sgt jmack

    If you do get treatment and have to receive meds, make sure thqat the doc puts the order in under “service conected” or you will be billed (and have to go through a ton of BS to get it taken off) for your SC ailments.

  • PTSD

    Ok if you are 100% permanet & total ,can the VA take it away from you?

    • Chad

      don’t ask that question here…..ask a VSO. This is nothing but unproductive cry-baby opinion!

      • Sgt bill USA ret

        If you have a 100% rating, permanent & total the VA will not have a reason to reevaluate you unless you open your case by requesting to have a previously unevaluated disability evaluated. Then the VA can reevaluated all your disabilities. I have been warned by DVA not to reopen my case to have my hearing lose added to my 100% PTSD, 11 years & 50% physical,40 years. So yes the VA can reevaluate you, but unless you make noise they usually don’t. Permanent & total doesn’t mean the same thing to the VA as it does to us.

  • AvatarWarrior1

    1 If Your 50% Or More Your Dont Have To Pay For Meds Anything That Has To Do With Your Service Connects If You Are Total And Permernant 100% YOUR DENTAL IS FREE!!!!! If Your 100% T&P And On Your Letter No More EXAMS NEEDED!! Myself I Got It From The Cows Mouth FROM 2 Senators In Writing If YOUR NOT WORK MAKING MONEY UNDER THE TABLE AND THEY WILL FIND OUT THE VA CAN NOT TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM YOU!!!! If Something Is Happening Investagation On You They Must Send You A Letter Saying Way What And Who Regional IG Will See Will Going On With You If They Will Take Away You Total And Permanant If Something Happens Like That Put Your Foot In There ass To Find Out Why Make DAMN SURE ITS THE TRUE TOO If You Feel In Jucticly And You Have A GOOD VA Rep Go To Him Or Her And Dont Be Afraid To Say What You Feel Stand Up Stand Your Ground!!!!!!!

    • Travelingelk

      What in the world was your point in capitalizing the first letter of every word and not using any periods? Not only does it make it hard to read, it distracts from what you are trying to say. You must have one heck of a lot of time on your hands. Get real.

  • Mike

    Whoa people I am a disabled vet service-connected. I have always found that if the facts back up the request there was never a problem. Is this unusal?

    • Mike (also)

      That’s my experience too. Also You can be 100% disabled T&P + IU (Individual Unemployable) and aren’t employable. –better not let the VA see you drawing a pay check although there are some exceptions to that.
      You can aslo be rated lower than 100% with IU and the IU will allow you to be paid at 100%.. It’s complcated but it is on the VA web-site, you just have to dig for it.

    • jessica
    • Dan

      Good luck with that thought

  • Hugh

    I still don’t understand why Vets can’t get free dental care, but the nation we fought for spends billions of our tax dollars providing dental care in third-world nations who support the terrorist groups we’re now fighting.

    • Sgt.Mack

      Look at who we have as a President now, do you really think it is going to change when his religion takes president over his job to the American people?

      • beatrice

        Do not know if you are a SGT or not but you should be ashamed of yourself for being negative towards our commander in Chief. He has done a hell of a lot to help out veterans and especially disabled veterans. Do you know that the republicans were the ones who blocked a bill to give companies tax breaks for the retraining and employment of existing and newly arriving veterans? that he established new standards to give wives payment for taking care of their disabled husbands? that he put into place a program to handle PSDT in all veterans coming home and those already here. that he established and made law programs to make homeless vets a priority to obtain housing at a subsidised rate? Get a grip of be quiet.

        • Fred

          Everyone is entitled to their opinion, you shouldn’t suggest anyone be quiet simply because they don’t agree with you.

        • William

          Thank you for this, Beatrice. Too many are undereducated or just plain misinformed by entities like Faux Noise and the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the haters.

    • harold pitts

      Hugh, i totally agree,when i enlisted in 1962 we were told our medical problems would be taken care of regardless of what they were .thes were taken away from us before the ink was dry on the paper .I for one am extremely disapointed in the health care system. I had tryed to get some dental work done and was told no way .it is sad. Harold Vietnam veteran.

      • Adam

        Harold, I enlisted in 1979 (USMC) and back then, the promise to provide free health care and dental care to me and my dependents existed ONLY if I retired from the US military, not if I did one or two hitches. That was supposed to be an incentive to those who completed a career in the armed forces. The VA does provide free healthcare to all veterans, whether they are service connected or not, and not based on ability to pay. Higher income vets are required to pay copays for their care, and some service connected vets (less than 50%) whose income falls above a means test threshold are also asked to pay copays for care and medication that is not related to their service connected conditions. Dental care is reserved for those who are 100% service connected, are in a VA voc-rehab program or have a service connected dental condition. Certain vets can also get LIMITED dental care for dental conditions that are seriously affecting a medical condition that is being treated by VA. A military ID card is provided by the DoD for commissary and exchange privileges to vets who are 100% service connected ONLY, permanent and total, or receive 100% service connected compensation for disabilities that the VA considers the veteran “unemployable”. Both the veteran and his/her dependents are eligible for a military ID card in this case.

      • johnwaltz777

        every veteran and their family members need to make the public informed of ; no dental care for veterans, with the very few exceptions. i’m another vet. and was turned away, i have gone 8 years without dentures. i know that most of the public is not aware that most veterans cannot get dental care. if they knew they would be contacting their elected officials and their local press. it is sad that we took an oath in which we knew we could be ordered into a situation that would take our lives, yet when we come back no dental care. this needs to be changed.



    • Patricia MSgt/Ret

      I agree with you. I am retired and have to pay for for dental care because they will only allow a certain amount for each fiscal year. We should be allowed to get dental care because first and foremost our teeth are a part of the human body and that should be taken care of along with the rest of our body. We just have to keep fighting for what is rightfully ours. I retired and should be cared for the rest of my life just like Tricare for life!!

      • Adam

        First of all, Patricia, THANK YOU for your service and dedication to serve for a career, and THANK YOU to ALL who served!!! Patricia, you are an example of where “the promise” was broken. Career military, like yourself and your dependents, were the ones that the gov’t DID promise to care for, for the rest of your life!! Now, you and other military retirees are the ones PAYING for your care!!! I cry FOUL!!! Tricare, for those who don’t understand what that is, is a military sponsored HMO that retirees and their dependents must PAY for, and pay copays on. It has a couple of different plans, like Tricare Standard, Tricare Prime and Tricare for Life. I’ve worked as a health care professional in both the DoD and VA health care systems for 19 years and I know how that works. I would never choose an HMO for my own care, and I think it is an insult to charge a retired military member a single cent for theirs. God bless you, Patricia, and others like you who gave so much for so long. You are appreciated. :)

    • Sgt.JoeBloe

      prisoners get free dental:)

  • OldSalt62

    Agent Orange caused diabetes DOES qualify you for free dental care. If you contracted diabetes because of A.O., sooner or later you’re going to experience dental problems. The VA will take full care of those dental problems for you. I retired with perfect dental health as do most other retirees, but a few years later after being diagnosed with A.O. My teeth started to fall out and give me much trouble. Being unaware of VA Assistance, I paid for dental care on the open market. I later found out that the VA offered excellent free medical treatment for my condition and I was only 40% then.. You won’t know if you don’t ask.

    • Richard Christian

      I am currently be cared for for AO service connected with a 40% impairment rating.

      Did you have to file additional paperwork ?
      What office with in did you contact with in the VA Clinic for the dental care ?

      Your information would be appreciated.

      Richard Christian
      Altamonte Springs, Florida

      • OldSalt62

        Friend, how stands the Republic?The Tea Party, an American Tradition since 1773Richard, My AO caused me to develop diabetes. Diabetes caused me to have immediate and lasting dental problems. When my dental problems began I was approved for dental care. If you have diabetes or will have in the future, you will be approve for full dental care. The important thing for you to do now is get diabetes check-ups right now. Diabetes is treated at 3 different levels. Level 1 requires you to watch your diet. Level 2 requires you to watch your diet and take medication for further control. Level 3 requires insulin. Initially I was diagnosed with level 2. As soon as you’re diagnosed with Level 2 (meaning that you have to take meds to control your diabetes) or Level 3 (meaning you have to take insulin) free dental kicks in. I can’t remember but is seems like I went up to 50% at that time too. My initial diabetes WAS NOT diagnosed by the VA. I was having pain in my feet (kinda like needle jabs) so I went to a civilian doctor for blood work. That was the only time I had treatment outside the VA. Once the Civilian Doctor did my blood work up, she said I had diabetes and prescribed meds for Level 2 diabetes. When I went back to my VA Primary care doctor, I presented her with the civilian doctors diagnosis, she agreed and got me my free dental care. Brother, it almost seems as thought the VA didn’t want to give me a diagnosis because it would have opened a whole can of expensive worms. Google Agent Orange and Diabetes to see if you may have diabetes and not even know it. I had mine for years and never even knew it. Worse yet, I paid a civilian dentist big bucks before I got my dental care. The more I think of it, the more I’m sure that my % was upgraded because of my diabetes. Once my Primary Care VA doctor agreed with the civilian doctor I was immediately eligible for dental appointments. Welcome home and good luck to you Brother because not all VA’s are the same. Fight for what’s right!Frank E. Andrews MACM, USN Ret. In God We Trust butKeep Your Powder Dry

  • Gerardo Riveron

    I have two service connected disabilities ,but can someone help me with the situation that VA wont qualified me as 100 % but I being disabled 100% by SSA,State of NJ found me disabled for 4 years, State of NJ Unemployment found me disabled,Private Doctors for the State of NJ found me disabled,even all of them use doctors reports from VA to grant me 100 % disabled ,even another county were Im living found me 100% disabled trhu their ministry ofHealt and exterior,Military Court of Appeal Washington jag denied me of my right to received their desicion and never send me nothing ,in their desicion commit false statement, perjury and stated something that Im not ,cant walk, house bound for over 11 years, in need of nurse and a house keeper,being unemployed for over 11 years and still at 30 % Im wrong or the system and if I said something they may take something out that I need to live ,save our country for over 11 years in Va doctors ,Exams,Nurses,medication,medicadeor medicare ,trans and still they give me hard time who can help me ? please response to my email thanks

    • Mdlrnc

      Are your service connected disabilities related to your total disability? If so how?

      • Gerardo Riveron

        yes they are

      • Gerardo Riveron

        My two service connected condition made me losta job with USA Postal service and lost my full time job with a lost of 70 thou a year income postal doctor stated when federal gov solve your disability problem you will have a job with us,SSA using VA doctors report grant me my 100% disability since I cant walk and live a normal life

        • Jess

          If you are not with the DAV (Disabled Americans Veterans Qrg.) I would get with them and have them represent you in you cause. They have special attorney’s that represent Disabled Vets and doesn’t cost anything… I have over 170% disabliity (50-30-20-20-20-20-10) and that only comes out to a 90% rating the way they add it.. but you have to apply for the unemployebility which will give you a total 100% rating since you are unable to work… hope this helps!

          • The way the VA figures your disability is: They take all the high numbers, i.e. 50, 30, 20, 20, 20, 20, and drop the 10.

            They gave me 20, 20, 20, 10 and 10, but it only came out to 60%. I have lost 90% of my hearing in my left ear, not sure how much in the right (both require hearing aids), and I have ringing in both ears. More so in my left one. Anyway to keep from giving me 20% and pushing my disability to 80%, the divided the hearing problems into 10, 10.

            All I can say to everyone who is having problems getting anywhere with the VA, keep fighting, it took me 23 years to get what I have. I even had to get a VA Judge to come from Washington DC to hear my case – I won. One thing I have found, it is easier to get in to see a Doctor at the VA, then dealing with those that grant you a disabilty

        • Mdlrnc

          Then can I assume that you are receiving SSDI? I do not understand. You have stated that you were told that the government will “solve” your disabilty and that you would have a job with them?
          You need to see the local VA rep. Good Luck.

        • Lynell

          In this case it does not appear Gerardo is close to qualifying for VA unemployable. To qualify before the age of 55 you must be at least 60% svc conn. After age 55 one must be at least 50% svc conn. This is not an automatic qualifier you must put in a separate claim to apply for it.

        • danl

          I have SSD via a VA diag of depression and 100% VA for multiple problems service connented. VA checked with SS to make sure I wasn’t double-dipping for the same condition.

          I think that using VA doctors report for SSA disability may bite you in the butt.

          Good Luck

    • Sgt. Brown

      Mr. Gerardo, Have you tryed Voc-Rehab at the VA.
      If you have not, go and apply for it. You can you go to (VA.gov) and see all of benefits. Voc-Rehab is dising for Unemployability, and based on your iformation you are in the door for (100%) rating for unemployability. You should be getting SSD if SSA found you unemployabel, this will have large support of your statement in suppot of calme for unemployability.
      Remember to file for Voc-Rehab @ the VA Regenal office in Philly. You can find these forms on line at va.gov.

      • Capt. Ray

        Philly is the worst!! they never gave me service connection for TBI or PTSD. moved toSt. Paul, MN and within 18 months got 100%, 50 for PTSD and 40 for TBI, so IU was given good luck (took 30 years total
        Capt. Ray USA NAM

  • LIAM

    I was homeless, no money and suffering alot of different malidies one being that I needed to have some teeth pulled. With no money I found myself in a very helpless situation and to much hubris The only thing left to do was buy a bottle of Seagrams VO and a pair of vise grips wrapping the jaws with 100 MPH tape. I then became a dental practitioner. I used to watch my uncle who was a Dentist in the Army during the Korean war pull teeth from this I learned how to pull teeth. Not recommended for the layman.
    Next on the list is to perform dental implants but first I must do a minor Frontal Labotomy. A screw driver and a hammer will do the trick. Hey, it’s time for do it yourself. Not recommended for novices.

    DIBOCHET 1965-66

  • Gerardo Riveron

    you make me fill like a dog LESS DOGS LESS FLEAS

  • bbpreacher

    I find these comments helpful for the most part. Dental health can lead to many other illnesses. Some fatal. While it would be nice if we all got the same treatment, the likelyhood of it ever happening is minuscule to the problem. As a veteran myself using the VA health care system, The only stress I find myself having is dealing with the VA. It keeps my blood moving. No system the size of the VA can be perfect. When all veterans are treated with the same degree of repect, things will have improved. Live with it as you must, or go elsewhere. Me me me gets alittle old…

  • Tom

    Even at 100% the VA is slow to treat ya for anything. The Hospitals are run by the bean counters in the pharmacy. The VA talks the talk in their propaganda, but they really don’t do anything close to what they claim they do. I am totally and permantly disabled. My life is ok, but I have to pay for some care out of pocket.

    • mikenusaf

      I find that comment to be very suspicious. I am 100% P&T, get good treatment, and pay for nothing!

  • luke

    one problem is that every va runs inderpendent of every other va so you may not have difrent rules but they have diffrent ways of doing the same thing and that causes a lot of confusion for example in richmond va at mqguire va med hosp they have what they call pre regerstion that you have to do every 90 days in order to get a med apoinment if you dont regester every 90 days the clinics wont see you untill you preregester and all pre regerstion is is making sure that all your info has not changed ie home address,phone ect,ect,so they have 25 pepole thats all they do is preregester that way the goverment can say we created 25 jobs well at hampton va in hampton vathey dont do that when you have a appmoint the secutry ask you theses ? since it is right thier on the computer screen you tell me what makes more sence and cost less i know the answear do you

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      Luke the hospital making you pre register every 90 days needs to be reported to the House Sub Committee on Veterans Affairs. I’ve been in three different VA regions and have never had to continually pre register.

  • BHS1956

    The lead to this thread refers to “rumor mills” regarding veteran healthcare. Where are this “rumor mills”? I have searched the ‘net for years looking for open forums where vets could openly discuss their problems with VA healthcare to seek confirmation and possible solutions. While there are more than several independent sites that provide information, there do not seem to be any forum or discussion sites. Does anyone know of any?


    • Lynell

      You are very correct seems the whole topic cannot get enough attention on the net, AOL included, so we can make a room for open discussable knowledge, chat. The very best thing to be done is to go to vets services and read the respective regulation. This takes time and worth every moment.

    • Hadit.com

  • Harold

    I am a Viet Nam vet, with cancer, diabetes, and ptsd, and I find that the Salisbury, NC VAMC offers me great healthcare, and the people there are very courteous nd helpful.

    • Jimmy

      Me too, Harold. I’m at 40% and being treated at Minneapolis VAMC. These people are great. I saw an MD for sleep apnea and 4 days later I’d already had a sleep study and was sent home with a CPAP unit. Next week I’m seeing a PTSD specialist and a primary care physician for hearing loss and diabetes issues. I know part of our job description as members of the military is incessant bitching, but in this case I have no complaints. I think if a Vet goes in with a chip on his shoulder, he’ll get what he expects.

  • Wildflecken

    Either I am just lucky or there is a lot of variation between VA medical centers. I enrolled a few years after retiring as the company I worked for went belly up and so did the retirement checks. Thus I qualified for care based on income as well as service in the Army. Enrolled at the Martinsburg WV VA medical center without any problem and have had pretty good care the last 10 or 12 years. There are some things I am not eligible for. Certain levels of eye care and dental care as I do not have any service connected issues in those areas. But prostate cancer, hernia operations fully taken care of. Day to day meds are co-pay and always on time. Doc check ups twice a year. Developing ARMD with one eye and that is being treated. If you have an honorable discharge and service records to back up your claim the Martinsburg VA has no complaints out of me.

  • Steve Myslik

    The VA watched a spot on my lung for 3 years. After 2 biopsies, one needle through my chest and one down through my throat, they said they didn’t know what it was but it was definately not cancer, it didn’t present like cancer. My wife made me go to a civilian doctor and then to a surgeon. They said they couldn’t tell it was cancer but it looked like cancer and in any case needed to removed, another biopsy or not. When they got in there, the middle lobe of my right lung, a piece of the top and bottom and chunks of my lymph nodes had to be removed. Final lab- non-small cell Adeno Carcinoma. My general care Physician is awsome and takes great care of me as well as my eye doctor. They told me my problems will help improve tey way the VA investigates and deals with possible cancer patients. Overall, I love the VA. I am 70% service connected with no other complaints for almost 20 years of retirement–Steve

  • ScarfaceSix

    I have found the VA to be a great way to get health care. As a Purple Heart recipient, and Agent Orange related lymphoma patient and military retiree, they have taken care of anything that I didn’t get done by the local military treatment facility under TriCare for Life. The VA is not “searching” for folks to help. You have to apply; and that application process sometimes take a lot of patience and perseverance. If you served in any military service, you should apply, and reapply, if necessary. As the lead article says, get the facts, rumors are ruinous VA’s reputation and scares qualifying veterans away. Semper fidelis!

    • Sgt.Mack

      You are so “RIGHT”, I too am a 100% DAV from Viet Nam. How ever I was on 100% Disability and ask to go back to work. I have a BS in Engineering so I only used my brain not brawn. How ever when the company I worked with forced me out again on 100% Disability the VA put me at 60% Disabled and 100% Un-employable. This I do not understand, for if I were back on the 100% Disabled rating I could work part time and as an electronic consultant I could and wopuld work for the money I make as a Consultant for DOD Systems and the electronic assembly and soldering processes.

    • Mark

      The only complaint I have with the VA is that if you are unemployed and have no insurance. You go to the end of the line for any surgery that you need. The Boise Idaho VA takes all insured Vets first, Non-insured last. I have needed knee surgery on both knees for three years and I still have to wait.

  • Sgt bill USA ret

    General info for vets. The House Sub Committee on Veterans Affairs requires the VA to see you within 30 days of your request for an appointment. I was having to wait 45-60 days to get an appointment at the local clinic. I sent a letter to the Sub Committee with dates of my request. They passed my letter on to the VA IG. I was called by the IG, after verifying the info she called the head of the regional hospital. Two days later I had an appointment at the clinic. Now I just call and leave a message with the hospital administrator when I am told there are not appointments available in 30 days and that I would like an appointment within the 30 day requirement. No more long waits for me.

    • Sfc B airborne


    • rbeam

      Nice to see this but try it at the Dallas Texas regional VA hospital, there I have been told repeatedly no appointments are available for next 90 days and we only schedule 30 days out so try later say 3 or 4 month, and being rated 100% disable means nothing to them.

  • Everett

    Sgt Bill said:
    General info for vets. The House Sub Committee on Veterans Affairs requires the VA to see you within 30 days of your request for an appointment.

    I have called the Directors office several times when things were dragging at my VA. The secretaries at some VAs are good at not letting you talk to the Director, BUT, they actually do work for us and I insist that they do stuff right. When they are better at their job than I am getting care a formal complaint to the Inspector General’s office does wonders. Our VA is a pleasure to go to after the complaint.

    The medical care has always been excellent but the administrative staff can get an attitude about the vets. This is where the problem lies.

    • Papai

      I read your blog and decided to give it a try. For the past several years I have fought with the Colorado Springs VA to get in within a month, but was always told they were booked out for 90 days. I am 100% as well thanks to several screw ups by the Denver VA.

      I called just a few minutes ago and requested an appt and told them of the requirement and that I was 100%…I now have an appt next week!! I have never been able to get in within a week even with an emergency situation! Thank you Everett for the information!!

  • Snake

    The VA in Lexington SUCKS big time.

    • Sfc B airborne

      try callingVISN- VA complaints 1-919-956-5541 or under sec’y of Veteran Health Care 1-202-461-6887. I did and not only was my complaint solved, I also rec’d a letter for the dir. of VA hosp(richmond, VA) with other phone numbers of his staff for any other problems Alway remember SHIT rolls down hill from the BOSS.

    • Frank

      I go to Lexington Ky VA and have no complaints. If my appointment is at 10:30 I’m seen within fifteen minutes. there are signs up at most reception desk stating that if you’re not seen within 15 minutes come up and let them know. I have no co-pays for office visits or meds and my meds are mailed to me on time. I’ve been going for three years and haven’t been out a penny except for transportation.The Staff are all very polite and most starts the introduction with ” thank you for serving.” Oh, and I have no SCD and they still treat me great. Sure as hell way better than Medicare and Medicaid

  • i’am a viet nam vet also retired with 23yrs+filed a claim for diabetes.was in the navy and have to prove i had boots on the ground.is it not enough that i served my country for twenty three years?why then dose the government treat us like that after all we have done for our country?

  • Sfc B airborne

    yes, it is true not 100% t&p disability, NO Dential, But who was told when or before retirement you were authorized a VA dential check up and all would be fixed prior to retirement or exam and care within the first year on leave the military. I was thru my service officer in one of my Veteran assoc. (DAV,Amer Legion, VFW,) And my total front four teeth were repaired. My service officer told me, You went 100% and you come out 100% or they fix the problem or pay disability. We need the dumbs in washington to support the Vet or go home and we as Vets need to support any of our Vet groups They got us better VA travel pay, sep retirement pay and disability pay(crpd/scdp).

  • Sfc B airborne

    yes, it is true not 100% t&p disability, NO Dential, But who was told when or before retirement you were authorized a VA dential check up and all would be fixed prior to retirement or exam and care within the first year on leaving the military. I wastold by my service officer in one of my Veteran assoc. (DAV,Amer Legion, VFW,) And my four upper front teeth was corrected(four tooths implant) As my sevrvice officer said you came in 100% and you go out 100%or you get it fixed or you draw disabiliy. I’m at 50% and if the VA does down grade my rating in 5 years (20 years on disability pay-CRPD) by law it can not be lowed or stopped. We Vets do need your dumbs in goverment to support to vet, But we must support our service organiznation who believe it or not fight for us, They got our disability pay sep __

  • Rodolfo Quinones

    I just recently discovered that as a Viet-Nam Purple Heart (x2) reciepient I am entitled to eye care. However, when I attempted to make an appointment for an examation I was told that I would have to have my Medical Provider put in a consult on my behalf. I left a message for my Primary Doctor at the VA in the Mission Valley Center over two weeks ago and then received a call from the VA Health Center informing me that I had been reassigned to a new Primary Care physician and would have to provide additional information as to why I was requesting to have an eye examination. Why should we have to go through our Primary Care Physicians first. If we are entitled to the benefits then we should be allowed to make our own appointments. I find this quite frustrating and inexcusable. Where do we as Veterans go from here?

    • It doesn’t work that way. Even in the private sector, you must go through your primary doctor to get appointment with specialist, i.e, eyes, hearing, so forth.

      I just transferred from the Danville IL VA hospital to the Chicago Westside VA hospital. I thought I would have problems. Need to have eye surgery on both eyes, Since I was already in the VA system, it took no time to get setup for an appointment with my new clinic (primary doctor), same day. The clinic got me setup for the eye clinic the very next day. Will be going in to see the eye doctor in two weeks. Can’t complain with that. I have never found a problem with dealing with the hospital, it is with those that grant you the disabilities that need to be fired.

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      Rodolofo, I am also a Viet Nam vet. One eye removed the other damaged in combat. My eye damage is rated by the VA. I do not have to go through my primary for eye care (service related). If your eyes are not rated with a service related disability you may need your primary to refer you to the eye clinic. If they are service related and you have a disability rating on them, then request an appointment at the eye clinic and tell them that if you are not seen in 30 days you will report them to the VA IG. See my earlier post on General info for vets.

      • Rodolfo Quinones

        I respectfully would like to take this time and say thanks for you’re reply. I now feel more confident in my entitlement regarding eye care through the V.A.
        Once again thanks and I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

        Cpl.R. Quinones

  • Gary

    VA health care best I have had since my discharge. Lexington KY VA is wonderful.

    • Frank

      Totally agree 100%.

  • allan robinson

    it appears the VA ishaving a ‘brain drain’ with respect to knowhow by employees

  • Larry Briggs

    The VA in Jackson MS and Hattiesburg MS tells you that you must keep your appointment in order to obtain medication from the VA pharmacy. I live an hour and 45 minutes one way to the VA in Jackson. I am 70 years old and fall asleep when driving any great distances. Now they are going to shut me off from my medication. I served my nation for 20 years and this is the thanks you get.

  • Frank Mickler

    I am a retired vet of 30 years with diabetes and heart bypasses and implanted pace maker. I was seeing a VA doctor about every six months. Last week I called for my normal six months followup and was told that the VA facility only sees patients every two years. I was instructed to call back for an appointment next year. Anyone run into a situation like this?

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      Frank, If your followup is with you primary doctor then the VA must give you an appointment within 30 days of your request. The VA IG can help you with that. If a specialist clinic has determined that 2 years between followups is now their policy, check with what the civilian standard is, then go to the IG if you still think 6 months is proper.

    • mikenusaf

      That is BS! Sounds like a call to your Congressman is in order.

    • CSM Hooah

      Not exactly but now they only want to do colonoscopy every 5-10 years i found out if you are being seen by a VA doctor and request an appt they will put it in and the servcing clinic has to schedule an appt. I just went through this for endoscope also.

    • Martha

      It use to be every 3 months, now it is 6 months. I have nerver heard of 2 years unless that is what your docter said on you last vist.

  • Early Viet Nam

    I am a Viet Nam Vet from 1965- 66. I have an acumulated 130 percent of service connected disability yet they only give me a rating of 90%. Thus, since I am not rated at 100 percent I am not eligible for dental care. Why they do not know how to add properly I don’t know. Go figure!

    • gbwis

      if your fist rating was 50% your next rating of 50% is based on the remainder of 100%. in other words the second rating would be 50% of 50%=25%, added to the first 50% would come out using VA math a total rating of 75% another rating of 50% would only reflect on the remaining 25%

    • VN VET 66-70

      Early VN: If you are receiving 90%, apply for unemployability, You will be compensated at 100%, therefore making you eligible for dental care.
      I am also a Viet Nam vet 66-70 with 70% rating, but also qualified for unemployability for which I get payed at 100% which makes me eligible for dental care. Talk to your service rep about applying for unemployability…
      Good luck

  • desert vet dave

    i,m a two war veteran and im proof that the “myth” about making too much money is 100% true the va shits on veterans just enough to confuse the vets that actually need help and get denied and lets the shitbags who have faked the funk so they dont have to work! me personally i just want help with my back and the ptsd im not trying to get rich off the governments dime just a little bit to cover my copays for the specialists i see! WHATS SO HARD ABOUT THAT!!!!!

  • Clydejumper

    I just got my letter today of decline due to I make too much money. Served my county and was medically discharged and then to get a letter like this. Thanks.

  • Airborne pfc.

    After being on V.A. healthcare about a year during a routine checkup blood was found in my stool and urine. I was scheduled for a colonoscopy and an upper G.I. Within hours and without anyone telling me why I was told I was no longer eligible for V.A. healthcare. I still wonder what the hell happened. Thank God I’m old enough for medicare.

  • gbwis

    what can be done when the va severs benefits from 100% IU to 0. __when I contacted the advacates that helped get benefits and told me they can’t help. when reading reasons my records have changed and va won’t provide records they claim exist to support their decision

  • Bruce Rohrer

    Hey all you guys and gals that are rated 60% for a single S/C condition or 70% combined for more than one S/C condition,if you’re not working, please file immediately to be paid at the 100% rate for total disability due to individual unemployability (TDIU in VA-speak).

  • Charles Beydler

    I was in a bad training accident and received multiple injuries. To make a very long story short, the doctor was more worried about my back injury so my other injuries were ignored. Now because my other injuries were not posted on my medical records I can’t get treated for them. My injury only rates a 10% disability. I have lost a lot of mobility and range of motion and have pain all the time. Simple tasks like wiping after a bowel movement is hard and trigers severe pain. The VA cancles my appointments and I have been waiting for physical therapy for two years, but no one will call me back. My doctor prescribes me medicine that impares me so much that I can hardly do my job. I can’t stay home, but I can’t really work either. I was using my civilian healthcare provider for treatment, but as soon as they found out my injury was in the military they stopped treatment and told me I would have to pay out of pocket for the treatment I received. I don’t want this to be a sob story or sound like I need a hug. I just want to be treated for my injuries that happened in the service and get a proper disability rating. The VA, in my opinion, needs to seriously get on the ball and treat veterans with the service they deserve.

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      Charles, you are in a tough situation. Have you talked to a DAV rep? They can be some of the best at reconstructing events that are tied to service connection. Also contact the VA IG and ask them to look into you being denied treatment by the VA. Bottom line never give up. I have friends that fought for years until the VA got it right.

  • steve

    Lets face it people, The VA health cares sucks balls and no one should even go there unless they are looking forward to die ing a slow horrible death.
    There are no real doctors there, throwbacks from civilian doctors that could’nt hack real medicine and flip wannabe doctors callled nurse practioners.
    the place and so called doctors just plain suck and dont know their heads from a fucking hole in the ground,which is where you’ll be if you go there. The VA should fund any doctor you want to go to for any kind of treatment and shitcan their entire va system . think of the money and lives saved by changing their curupt system.

    • richard

      I saw a nurse practioner today. It felt like I was in detention in high school with vice principal. I haven’t seen a doctor in a long time there. I was accused of selling my tens unit. So I can’t one in two years. Now they want me to go outpatient clinic 1hr and half distance to get a tens unit. What kind of sham is this? The patient advocate are not really working for patient when you sign appt. No one calls you back. Going to VA apt is like waking up to go to terrible job.

      • rick

        I think VA system should be run by and independent medical firm to handle all veterans , entirely seperated from VA system so veteran, can get unbiased, opinion on claims and proper medical treatment.. and as long as the VA admin. controls the doctors and there opinions.. The veterans will never get a FAIR and UNBIASED opinions on claims or
        PROPER medical care… any doctor that works at the VA is subjected to the confines of the VA system regarding any and all aspects, concerning
        there written opinions.. if VA reviews doctors written stuff they remove keys items, and doctor will lose they JOB’s, just like being in the military…my sugar was high, and my cholesterol was high, no treatment for over 2 years, now I can’t hardly walk, due to there, incompetence

  • Victor

    I received my dental care at the dental school that is within walking distance of the VA hospital. I fortunate because of this area in NYC, NY. The dental school is cheaper than the VA dental clinic. The NJ dental can be pro-rated for someone’s income. Anyone that is close to a dental school might want to consider this option.

  • Victor

    I also make an effort to write to licensing committees for hospital, nurses, doctors, the state’s Health department. Someone complaint to Joint Hospital accreditation board has legal requirement to review any complaint received about medical care in a hospital (VA included). Anyone concern about care contact your US congressman, US Senator. The Joint Commission Resource ( http://www.jcrinc.com; 630-268-7400)

    • eugene tannenbaum

      called the Joint Commission Resource. Couldn’t care less. Lack of vet concern contagious.

  • Rick

    Can a vet receive Dental care? Im 70 % rated.

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      Rick, for non service connected dental care, you should be able to receive care, it may be fee based and you may need to qualify financially. On top of all that, Dental Clinics are the forgotten child of health care and ,are understaffed at most VA hospitals I have been at. They tend to take service connected first and if there is any doctor hours left they start to accept NSC. Dental clinics are one place hospital admin saves money, at our expense.

  • bginkel

    I went to the VA last week where I am treated for some service connected disabilities. I checked to see about getting on the Agent Orange registry and was told they are no longing adding to this program. What happened to cause that.

    • Sgt bill USA ret

      bginkel, To my understanding the registry closed many years ago. Now the VA has a list of conditions that if you served in Viet Nam and you have one of those conditions on the list, you are presumed to have been exposed to AO and you are service connected.

  • Sharpshooter

    I’m overseas, England, and have not been able to find out any info for sure about how to get help with my service connected disabilities. There was some paper work, but it scared me half to death by stating that if they decided that it was not VA then I would have to pay it all. Private health care here is very expensive for the wages I make

    • Rick Preissel

      Are you eligible for socialized medical treatment in England since you live and work there?

  • David L Jones

    As a Vietnam Vet dealing/battling with the VA for 41 years (230% in various disabilities, 100% in VA math) cancer, ptsd, dental, aappointments,etc…

    I encourage all of you and family members to file complaints with your Congressman and the House and Senate on Veteran Affairs.

    It is my experience, the VA is their to protect and represent government , Not US.

  • edene7

    i am a vet on total disability but can only get non service related because none of the hospitals have not one record of my service in the air force.

    • kirk48

      Just wondering, are you saying the hospitals have on record of your having served, or no record of injuries while serving?

      • edene7

        no medical records ZIP—

  • RonB

    I don’t know what VA Medical Center you went to, but I find them great, have been going to mine for 5 years and have absolutely no complaints. I am not Service Connected, have any % disability, and make too much, so I am paying the co-payment.

    • Albert Russo

      Finally, a positive comment! I think a lot of these responses while legitimate could be a case of ” the vocal minority” ………

      • Robert

        I suggest calling your local VA clinic, ( not a large VA hospital) and request an appointment to see your physician..see what the “policy” is on doctors visits..

  • MSG Jim Johnson

    I have some real concerns with the way we are compensated for our disability from the Veterans Administration in conjunction with our Military retirement.
    1. I earned a 20 year retirement in the Army and I get a check each month for what I have earned.
    2. I am rated with a 30% disability from the VA and that amount is deducted from my retirement check each month and is tax free.
    3. I do not get extra money for the injuries (30%) that I received while I was serving our country. I just get TAX free money from my retirement money that I already get.
    4. My nephew was in the Navy for 8 years and he has 30% disability on his back, he gets a check every month for his injuries that he can pay bills with that and he can spend it on his family.
    5. I had a 3 year vet stop by the shop one day, he gets 30% on his hearing and he gets a check every month for the injuries that he acquired while in the service.
    6. This is slap in the face for those VETS that earned 20 plus years for retirement and was injured while serving our country.

  • MSG Jim Johnson

    7. I get $1806.00 per month minus $376.00 medical tax free for 30% disability equals $1430.00. So I get two checks each month one for $1430.00 and one for $376.00 which equals $1806.00 which is exactly what I would get in the first place. What did I get for my 30% disability? I get mileage at the VA during medical visits.
    8. I know that once you reach 50% you will receive additional money this is not fair to those VETS that have been injured during their 20 plus years of service and are getting NOTHING but TAX FREE money from the money that we are already getting!
    9. I really think this should be looked at.
    10.What are our politicians doing for the VET’S?

  • Ron Van Bergen

    Anyone out there having service connected prostrate cancer? I have prostate cancer connected to agent orange and am getting 20%. Most other people I have talked to are getting more than 20% for service connected prostate cancer. I feel I may be getting boned. Appreciate any feedback?

  • edene7

    no medical records ZIP

    • kirk48

      I’m flabbergasted. Have filled an SF180 with the National Personnel Records Center?

  • Lexie

    Another “myth” i struggle with… “If you’re a woman, you’re going to have to advocate for yourself over and over and meet a lot of resistance to the idea of a female veteran! From staff asking if your husband is parking the car, to being the only female vet there, to having to go elsewhere for OBGYN services….

  • viet nam tunnelrat

    First of all i want to thank everyone that works for the VA in san antonio tx. I have not had any problems with heathcare issues ,OTHER THAN PARKING SPACE.MY drs and nurses answer all my questions pretaing to what i qualify for as far as my disability . So you haters out there all you have to do is ask.



  • Rick Preissel

    I have found that Delta Dental and the MOAA sponsored dental insurance are a total ripoff. They limit treatment to $1200 a year per person with excessive waiting periods for any meaningful treatment, so they can build up their cash reserves (Sounds like a model for Obamacare) before they give you any treatment other than examinations, xrays and cleanings and hardly any coverage for certain treatments. For example, an $1100 root canal is reimbursed at less than $200 in benefit. On the other hand, dental discount plans that I have found through credit unions, etc. are much more beneficial and affordable. For the $15 a month family plan, you can get the cost of a crown reduced from $800 to $600 and the total annual cost of the program for a family is $180.00, instead of the $1,000 plus for Delta Dental and Seabury Smith/Marsh MacLennan programs sponsored by the Military Retirement Organizations and VA. Somebody’s got to be getting kickbacks sponsoring these expensive, virtually no benefits programs.

  • Rick Preissel

    The VA Clinic in Naples, FL, is great as is my Nurse Practitioner, Ruth Bishar. She really knows how to communicate with me and treat me with respect and dignity. I never have any problems getting an appointment right away. We do need dental and eye care treatment in southwest FL for retired vets like myself. Maybe, the new facility in Cape Coral will offer that care and treatment.
    A few years ago, Congressman Connie Mack sent out a notice stating that southwest FL had the third largest population of Vets in the US. So, what does he do? He puts up a clinic in Cape Coral instead of a hospital, which means we still have to go to Bay Pines, which is two and a half hours from Naples to go to the hospital. If we’re the third largest Veterans population in the US, we should have the third largest hospital in the US.



  • CSM Hooah

    Having served 30 of the best years of my life, i must say the VA in Louisville, KY and Fort Knox, KY do a very good job! As with any medical facility they are only as good as supervisor whom insures they do the work by the book. I am also fortunate that i can get limited health/dental care at the Ireland Army Hospital. I hear all the horror stories and can relate to some. The biggest problem is if you feel the care or staff are less than professional don’t hesitate to go to the Directors office and file a complaint.

  • eugene tannenbaum

    Hang on fellow vets. More vet care cutbacks are in the wind.! Last Feb, I was refused a safety aide escort to VA Hospital, which had been an going provcedure by the outside vendor of aide assistance. A simple phone call to social dept. and it was authorized. On the very same day of this cutback, I fell, when I returned, went to local emergency ward hospital where they discovered bledding on the brain, about to DIE complicated by blood thinner medication runnung thru my arteries and veins. Kept in hospital until stabilized. Savings to VA about $50? Medicare paid over $30,000 plus ambulatory and specialist care afterwards. Severe spinal stenosis causing falls. Condtion and medication in the VA record books. What kind of “professional” decision makers do we have?Who is watching the store?.

  • James

    I can’t even get my teeth cleaned… That’s all.. Just a cleaning…

  • eugene tannenbaum

    my previous comment too hot to handle? true story. no known effort by elected and appointed officals, 87 y.r old volunter vet.almost died becuase of VW care cut a peviusly approved safey escort to visit VA hospital. Accident caused bleeeding n bran wih blood thinner system speeding to kill me until local hospital help me pass the crisis. Medicare bills eceeded $30,000 plus other charges. Never wll be the same. Cut stll in effect. Which “professionals” make the decsions? ave they been quaified and able to distinguish the risk to life and limb for a a vet with severe spinal senosis, tendency to fall, loaded with blood thinner (now discontnued). Internet full of horror stories. Mr. O’Bama, who is watching the store?.Where ae the IGs?

    • eugene tannenbaum

      tried NY State Vet Dept. They do not get involved in VA “conduct”. Assists vets on claim problems. Tried every known elected official, seeking info on IG review. So far(long time) NO RESPONSE OR ACTION. Main concern now is need for realistic review of professional and aacceptable skill and qualifications of ANY decision maker at VA, including the top director.Good start is to cut their salaries by 1 or 2 %.. Might save a few vets lives. In the in the civil community, this would be considered malpractice with potential license and job loss sanctions.

  • R. K. Hugh

    The VA is now doing something that most Vets are unaware of. They are denying care or providing such poor care at their CBOC’s (local clinics) that the Vet has to go to a civilian doctor to get treatment. 100% disabled Vets get Medicare Part A (Hospitalization) automatically and without cost. However, to see a civilian doctor you need to pay monthly for Part B. Since the VA provides the lowest price drugs it can get, VFARR (Veterans Federal Acquisition Rules and Regulations), you may not be getting the best medication for your injury so you need to purchase Medicare Part D as well. In short, by denying care as cosmetic i.e., lumps without a biopsy in your neck, you must pay over $100 a month for Part B and another co-pay and cost under Part D. In short, by reducing care, the VA is forcing Vets to use their disability incomes for proper medical care. This is a crock and the present administration is aware of the hurt it puts on Vets. Even though it hurts, Vets should not toss Medicare Part B away thinking their health care is covered by the VA. Especially if you have a degenerating condition.

  • briancam

    The VA Clinic in Lowell, MA is great as is my Nurse Practitioner, Marilyn MacDonnell. She really knows how to communicate with me and treat me with respect and dignity. I never have any problems getting an appointment right away. The eye care treatment is Top Notch. Try getting glasses for free and Mailed to you.
    The DAV steered me to apply to the VA and to my surprise — I was awarded 10%!! When I was honorably discharged the DAV told me I had 90 days for teeth repair. I am a life DAV member and grateful. The new vets need the help of the old vets to keep the DAV, AL, & VFW going.

    • Martha

      Maybe I should say this. I have been like you for the last 9 years. All of a sudden things have change. My Nurse Practitioner left, my docter has stoped listen to and short changes me on ever vist. My DAV poeple (and I am a life member) who have helped so much seem to be at the end of wha they can do for me. My care all of a sudden has changed and for the first time am very unhappy with a lot a thing here and cant seem to get help from any ave I trun to. And that has never happen befor.

  • T.L.Barton

    Let us face reality:
    1 The VA is a Federal institution, rampant with bureaucrats. What can you expect from an institution run by the Federal government?
    2. Not all VA hospitals are equal. Some are far better/worse than others.
    3. Being a “combat vet,” whatever that means, will not entitle you to a faster response to your needs. . Remember, 1 1/2 million folks served in Nam. There are about 9 million “wannabes” who will game the system.
    4. A “free lunch” is offered. Try to get a sympathetic response from any government office who offers such a service.
    5. As far as the VA is concerned, everyone who has been shot at, and some who haven’t, have PTSD. It is a fast, easy diagnosis, but doesn’t promise definative treatment.
    6. To those who truly deserve it, best of luck in playing the system. To those who are phonies, you will probably get what you deserve…nothing!
    ‘Nam vet, been there, done that.

  • Harry J Lagrew

    I have had VA care in Alaska for many Years, no complaint about that. I am now living in the Philippines and would like to transfer my health care here, Have been told I can’t transfer unless I have a service connected dis ability, that I don’t have. I have aquired a family over here and can’t afford to live in the states. would like some info on this please.
    Harry J Lagrew

  • Dan S

    Some statements above are not completely correct. I’m a 20 Navy Vet and don’t qualify for care at the VA because not receiving disability and with my wife’s income we make to much money. They won’t even let me get into the copay system. Complete crap.

  • Alan Lambert

    I put in 36 years service. 4 1/2 years Active Air Force then Switched to the Army National Guard. No deployements, I was put on Non-deployement Status for other health reasons. 1. Heat casualty during training. 2. Have Dentires that do not show up on X-ray. Was told that because most of my service was National Guard that I could not get medical .After retirement I had a mild heart attack, and went to VA for help.

  • B, Jones

    they screwed my brother over until he died in Dec 2010. He was a VM Vet Agent Orange Victim. However the VA said he did nothave the kind of cancer that caused his cancer. This was proven wrong by a civ Dr but the VA would not change their reading. He did in fact die in Dec 2010 a great GI who was shown the back door by his VA people. How many others are like him who will fall by the way side because of people who don,t give a damn. His Brother that took him to Chemo for two years with no help from his country.B Jones

    • Doreen

      i don’t understand that your brother didn’t have the kind of cancer that caused the cancer? Do u mean that the cancer that your brother had wasn’t caused by the Agent Orange?
      I’m sorry about your brother + know as I’m a caregiver now how hard it can be taking care of some1 w/no help. I hear that the VA hasn’t been fair 2 veterans u should be able 2 dispute the care of your brother + the best of luck!! Start w/the Agent Orange.

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  • sunshine17

    I need help answering this question. I have 100% disability thru the army and 100% thru the VA. I am seen at a military base hospital for most things but the gyn appts for women veterans are not done and therefore, can I use the VA for these appts thru a primary care doctor and is this legal to use both at the same time.

    • Trysha

      Contact your primary Doctor at the VA and ask him or her to refer you to fee basis or give you a consult for a VA gyno appt at another Va clinic that does have GYNO. My VA has a womens health center for female vets. If the VA in your area cannot perform your needed assessment, they usually refere you out to a private contracted specialist through fee basis. Asking is better than going without.

  • james graw

    i’m 100% disabled veteran .i have received services from a hospital that i was receiving 60 some dollars for travel pay. my last visit i was told you are welcome to come to the va hospital but i will only received travel pay to the nearest out of hospitals. this is cut down to 30.00
    i had a appoint to got to hospital for my doctor at the hospital. they saids appoint was no good and i should had gone to what we all call a band ade station. when was this changed . 1 month ago it was full travel. the hospital adm. says it has been put out 3 years ago,buy she just started this year
    she is lying about that
    i received no papers saying it would be different. can you check this i’m in pa. seems to me the war is over now mess with the vets. thanks jim

  • Rob Miller

    I served from the late ’70s to ’82 aboard the USS Nimitz and a EA6B crashed on top of us (on the flight deck) in May of ’81. I destroyed my left knee and right shoulder diving into the catwalk to avoid instant death. Many were not so lucky. We picked charred body parts up till dawn; but the Navy says that’s just routine, no PTSD, not SC injuries etc….Sounds like deliberate denial to me; but then I was just a squid, expendable material I guess. I wonder how many are left from that night of horror on the Nimitz. I applied for health care w/ I got older-they said it was too long ago-dismayed was I! They had room for me on that ship-but not in the VA medical system!
    I guess part of it is they don’t like remembering self-induced tragedies. Better that they stall and wait for me (and others) to die I guess-good policy (economically) drbobinc@yahoo.com

  • ana

    I served for 3 years and was honerably discharged , I never deployed . I am now pregnant does any one know if the va covers anything with pregnancys

    • Trysha

      I know that every case could be different, but the VA fee basis covered everything for my pregnancy except for the baby when it was born. Make an appt at your local VA for a blood prego test and have your gyno refer you to fee basis for outside maternity care. Good Luck

  • Yvonne M.

    VA hospital has a 3 year waiting list for plastic surgery cases with exception of those cancer related. I have to have my breast implants removed (placed in yr 2000 at my own cost) because I have two enlarged lymph nodes underneath my left implant (developed 1 year ago) and I am very sore, cannot sleep on my sides or stomach, or wear a bra. Furthermore, one of the lymph nodes cannot even be checked for continued enlargement via ultrasound because the implant covers it completely. These were first discovered via an MRI last October. I went to the VA plastic surgery unit November and they said there was a 3 year waiting list. I asked if it would be possible for fee basis to cover outside removal and the surgeon said yes if I checked back in 6 months. I just called the surgery office and they said fee basis has run out of funds and won’t cover anything unless it is cancer related. I haven’t even had a biopsy on these lymph nodes. My provider didn’t even tell me what the radiologist wrote regarding these must be checked every 3 months for growth. I had to go and get a copy of that report to find out. If the lymph node cannot be seen through an ultrasound because my implant is covering it, then how can I wait for 3 years until removal which might be too late. I have no other insurance that would cover this. It is not a cosmetic surgery reason, even though it was cosmetic surgery to begin with. Now, I have something deeper than that. Lung, brain, and breast cancer run in my family as well. I don’t really think patient advocacy can help, unless they have changed drastically since two years ago. With fee services stating no funds, what can I do? I need surgery. It costs around $4000 and it will take me quite a while to save that much up to pay for it myself. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you and bless you all.

  • photomate78

    It’s been a while since I last posted here, however I have a question or two that I could use help with.
    I am a SC disabled vet, 80% disabled and compensated at 70%.
    As many here I received the mail notice regarding the change in payout of beneficiary travel.( reinbursment via EFT vs same day payout.)
    For me as it may for others it will impose a financial hardship having to wait several days or longer to recomp my travel expenses for VA healthcare visits.
    Got no help from anyone at the VA hospital about filing for exemption due to financial hardship.
    Wasn’t able to find out anything at VA website either.
    Anyone here have any info on this?

  • Zachary Kaiser

    Thanks to the VA, I drove two hours every other week to see a doctors who didn’t even read my file, didn’t even look at my x-rays or didn’t even know why I was there (one asked which bone I had broken). Now they are sending me bills for every useless appointment. Had they done ANYTHING, I would gladly pay for these trips to the VA hospital, but as it stands, I will never go back. It was a waste of my time and now it is a waste of my money.

  • willie

    My daughter has been my dependent all her life,she is now 38yrs old n still have a id card.,but the Va will not consider her my dependent she have sickle cell n the VA will not give dependent pay. Is this wrong of them,they say she is not disalbe n she can work,she is on SSI and lives with me. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • SCPO Dave

      You seem very uneducated. Probably best that a 40y/o take care of herself

    • willie,

      Ok, you explained your side, and the VA has explained their side, what is your question?????

  • M Christian

    My husband is 100% disabled Army Vietnam Vet & is usually seen at the Salem, Virginia hospital. He is spending 3 mos. in TX this winter with our son & was told by the San Antonio VA hospital they cannot see him for anything. What is that about? He signed the release forms at the Salem site & requested his recs be sent to the San Antonio site for emergencies, etc. He has PTSD along with several other chronic problems & takes several prescription meds. I need direction here since we were under the impression that a veteran can be seen at ANY VA in the country. Thank you for your time & assistance but most of all thank you for your service!

  • nonamerob

    I have a question hopefully i can get answered here. I am a student and I have carpal tunnel surgery in my future. I am also a priority group 3 but the surery is not service connected. because i am kind of low on cash and i have no private health insurance, How much can i expect to pay out of pocket for my surgery?

  • AbbyPlew

    I’ve come to hear about when I visited Scottsdale dental care and they were like talking about the VA Healthcare they said that ever since then they are really hearing some myths about the benefits they are offering but they said that they are sure that the healthcare does provide proper dental care to it’s beneficiaries.

  • joseph

    can a vetern get 100% disability from va and still work on a job

    • NG23

      Yes you can still work at the 100% rating if your disability does not identify you as unemployable (meaning you can not longer work by VA standards). You would always want to ensure you understand your rating if you are 100% disabled.

      • Richard

        Thank you

  • steve koester

    If I leave the VA for a few years can I re-enroll?

    • NG23

      Yes you can re-enroll by completing another healthcare application, you will always stay enrolled but may be unassigned from a primary care provider if you were to stop coming to the VA.

  • Kidd

    I’m in priority group 8. I asked my case Mgr. if I saw a Doctor outside the VA who recommends a procedure, will the VA take that Doctor’s recommendation. She told me that they don’t take outside medical recommendations. I’m glad I read the article about duel medical care…she was wrong and I will be letting her know this.

  • DOC

    I am 50% service conected and someone told me that my 2 year old daughter is eligilbe for coverage because i am over 30%. Can anyone tell me if this is infact true or not?

    • Kidd

      Hey, DOC. Go to Veterans health benefits handbook. You can also go on-line and find out that answer….good luck.

    • Kidd

      Go to 2013 benefits for veterans and dependents.

  • james

    i originally filed when i first got out and received a 40 % rating for scarring and blood pressure. i have since reapplied for ptsd and depression. They gave me 80% for those two conditions. im not sure if im compensated for both ratings or just one rating. i dont necessarilly need any more money but i want to know if this new rating for diff. conditions wipes out the old rating or will i recieve the amounts for both.

  • E Graves

    I’m 2 yrs retired, approaching 65 and debating on enrolling in Medicare as well as buying a Medicare supplemental plan or an advantage plan. Is it smart to ignore them all and rely entirely on VA that I’ve been enrolled in now for two years? I’m a Vietnam vet (priority 6, agent orange) and so far VA has been fine though they’ve only provided medications so far. What about more serious issues: prostate problems, broken bones, stroke, etc. I need advice.

    • Dan

      I’ve been 100 per cent p & t since 1988. Take it from me don’t rely on the VA for anything important. I’ve been waiting over a year for a foot operation, no date in sight. The VA is a national disgrace. I’m waiting to enroll in part B Medicare and purchase a supplement through my former employer. I’m 66 yrs old. That sign you see plastered all over the VA ( nothing is more important than a vet) is a crock of shit. Smokin mirrors.

      • Denny

        “we support our vets” is a good slogan for our so called leaders, all talk

      • dvancenza

        Hello Dan, let me first thank you for giving part of your life to this country! I too am a VETEran 1967-69′.
        As a suffer from the effects of AGENT ORANGE FOR 34 yrs., I consider myself one of hundreds and perhaps
        Thousands of veterans who still must fight a WAR, except, it’s with the USA government! What does this
        GOVERNMENT value?
        MONEY MONEY AND POWER. Certainly not its WARRIORS who gave their lifes dead and still alive.
        But it’s all water over the dam and we had to move on.
        In answer to anyone, pray that you can continue to care for you own NEEDS…the alternative just might
        take you into a WAR zone begin belief!



    • I have been to the V hospital in Texas as well as a clinic
      I did have a long wait one time.
      I have never been refused the right to see a doctor or be turned away
      Most VA hospitals have an advocate I would see that person
      If that does not help I would seek the DAV AND VFW help
      As for only using VA care and not medicare I would not do that VA health care is not guaranteed
      Make sure you know if your doctor and hospital will take a a medicare supplement or medicare some don’t

  • Dan

    I am 50% disable, I broke a filling today. Can I get VA dental care at the VA if I go to the ER.? Thanks and Thank you all for your service. Job well done, we busted our **#@ in Korea, Germany,Panama Saudi Arabia, Afganistan, State Side and all the corners of the world where no one else will go and receive low pay 3 meals maybe and a bunk to sleep when you could. Where is the benefits. It time to really take care of home.

  • Steve Vince

    The VA is as dysfunctional today as it ever was. I won’t rely on it for anything I can get elsewhere unless I want headache and heartburn.

    • Steven Wright
      • AngryVet

        Got to watch the VA Healthcare billing system, too. They’re crooked as all get out. They send you a bill three years after you’ve moved out of state and demand payment. You pay it in-full and within their 30 day period that the VA allows you in order to “avoid offset fees”. One year later you receive another bill for “offset fees” which have accumulated each month without notification to you that it even existed. The payment “in-full and within the 30 day period” should have never accumulated any offset fees in the first place.

  • pv2simonj
  • Robert

    I am a vet located in So Cal. New policy within the VA system makes it extremely difficult to see a physician or even request to see one. Your symptoms are taken down by the receptionist, ( how accurate?) then they are passed on to the MD. He then makes his recommendations, ( meds, x ray etc) or diagnosis! The receptionist calls the patient back and reads the Doctors orders to you…all without ever physically seeing the patient…I requested to see the MD, I was told my symptoms did not rate a visit with the MD, this after waiting for two weeks for a call back. I was close to driving to the local VA hospital,( ER) but chose to see a family friend who happens to be a physician. I feel for the veteran that is in pain, requests a visit with the MD, only to be told wait for a call back, or drive yourself to the VA ER. I believe this new system is nation wide, probably a tool to leverage vets into Obama Care thereby reducing the case load within the VA system.

  • Bill

    Can a veteran be turned away from VA hospital because of too high of an income in 2012 even though now retired but 4 months before qualified for Medicare?

  • Richard

    If I am 100% disabled can I still work

  • CHL

    The best advice to any Veteran is to have them file the 1010ez form with all of their DD-214s (Member 4 copies) to their local VA. Every Veteran’s record depends on what is in it. Their eligilbity will be determined by what information is provided to the VA.
    All of the information is accessable through http://www.va.gov.

  • dru


  • Shannon

    How to I file a recomp on my va disability?

  • gary

    There is a long segment loop of jejunum in the
    left upper quadrant with a circumferential wall thickening along
    a length of approximately 15 to 20 cm. This came off my ct scan and now we wait for months for the gastro Doc appt go figure

  • Conrad Grenier

    I was being treated for pain in my legs when the VA told me I needed knee replacement surgery. The bad news the Dr. told me at the Gainsville VA was that there was a ten year waiting list thatwas around 2001 or 2002 and now I have had 3 surgeries on my left knee because it is screwed up because it was bone to bone for so long. If I could of had surgery back when it was needed I wouldn’t be in the shape I am in now and wouldn’t be on disability now getting ready for my fourth surgery. Is there any help out there for being put on that 10 year waiting lis.

    • James

      I need left knee replacement and they tell me I need a rotror cup in my right shoulder first I SAID F no 71 years old and live alone I’ll never do it I’M ‘on
      120 mg a day of morphine

  • walter meekins

    i m a vet navy was a gunner mate 3 class i did fight in vetnam war but i was over ther, on a refuel ship we had 3 inch 5o .so fired then pretty regler. that was my job .make sure the wark right. some times i fired the but i had to be all the time. ew did have ear plug. i ben trying to get some comsation. for the last 4 years but havent got a dime for my hearing i have hearing ads from the va but im still wating.

  • Trey

    I have been out for 3 years, i was given 50% disability for my back and PTSD. I am now enrolled but haven’t gone in to see anyone and apparently im class 1. I think i may have diabetes or heart problems and just wanted to know what its like the first time going in. Do they prick and prod and ask you all sorts of questions regarding your disability? I am wondering if I should instead find a job with better health care. Thanks

  • Sam Hourmouzis

    Is is legal for a civilian family practice doctor to obtain my Veteran’s medical records from my Veterans Medical “Center in Hampton, Virginia?