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AARP Expert

How to Enroll in Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care Benefits

Nearly 60% of all Veterans are eligible for some health care benefits from the VA, but less than half actually are enrolled in VA health care. Women veterans are the least likely group to use their earned benefits.


Why? It may be because of confusion about qualifications and eligibility. It can also be a confusing system and a bit grueling to sign up. But let me tell you - it's worth it! My dad was a veteran, and once I finally got him enrolled and using VA health care benefits it was a game-changer for caring for him! 


He eventually received hearing aids, excellent home-based primary care (a game-changer in terms of caring for him at home), home health aides, medications, medical equipment, ramps, respite care, physical therapy, hospice care, and more – all at no cost to him. These supports were crucial for caring for him at home until his death at age 94. Other benefits may include discounted or free adult day health services. 


AARP wants to make it easier for veterans and their caregivers to apply and enroll, that's why we've created a newly expanded Veterans and Military Families Health Care Benefits Navigator. I wish I'd had this Navigator when I was applying for Dad! It makes it SO much easier to get through the system and enroll for the benefits you or your loved ones' have earned. You'll be able to:

  • Learn more about health care benefits provided through the VA and the DOD.
  • Understand how to qualify, apply and enroll in VA health care.
  • Understand how these health care benefits may be combined with Medicare and Medicaid to expand options.
  • Identify how to get help from representatives who have experience and knowledge of the VA’s process for awarding benefits.

This newly expanded version now includes: 

  • The Women Veterans Health Care Program.
  • The Specialty Emotional and Mental Health Services.
  • The Specialty Dental, Oral, Hearing, and Vision Services.
  • The Family Caregiver Assistance Program (which can provide crucial support for family caregivers).

Download the Navigator - I think you'll be glad you did!


Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving


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