May 22, 2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has updated the way it determines eligibility for VA health care benefits, making it easier for many veterans to get access to the benefits. The VA will no longer use the veteran’s net worth as a factor to determine eligibility and co-payments.

Previously, veterans who did not fit into certain categories were required to provide their income and net worth before receiving benefits. Veterans whose combined income and net worth was above the limit would have to make copayments in order to receive health benefits. This meant that some low-income veterans with a high net worth were struggling to make copayments.

Under the new rule, implemented in March 2015, the VA will now only consider a veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year. While veterans whose income exceeds the income thresholds will still be required to pay a copay, the VA estimates that with the new rule 190,000 veterans will become eligible for reduced health care costs over a five-year period.

“Everything that we do and every decision we make has to be focused on the Veterans we serve,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald in a press release. “We are working every day to earn their trust. Changing the way we determine eligibility to make the process easier for Veterans is part of our promise to our Veterans.”