Get Enrolled for VA Health Care
By Charles Tubbs, Public Affairs
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
One of the first steps Veterans should take following retirement or separation from the military is to enroll in the VA for health care. The Orlando VA Medical Center currently serves more than 90,000 Veterans in East Central Florida and wants to ensure all Veterans have access to care.
“The mission of our medical center,” said Tim Liezert, Orlando VA Medical Center director, “is to honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being. We want to be the place Veterans choose to get health care.”
The start the journey of receiving health benefits, a Veteran need only to apply by completing VA Form 1010EZ, Application for Healthcare Benefits, in person at any VA Healthcare Facility, Veteran Service Center, Veteran Regional Office, or any other County or State office that offers services to veterans. Veterans can apply on line at www.va.gov/healthbenefits/ and can mail the application to the local VA Healthcare Facility.
Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998 are eligible for an extended period of eligibility for health care for 5 years after discharge.
“Veterans should apply as soon as they are able after discharge because the Five Year Eligibility is based on the date they were discharge, not the date they are registered,” said Hector Berrios, the Orlando VA Enrollment and Eligibility Supervisor. “If Veterans wait until the five years expire then regular eligibility requirements apply and they will be qualified based on income, service connection category, special eligibility (Purple Heart, Persian Gulf War Environmental Factors, POW, VA Pension)”
Berrios says early registering immediately following
discharge gives Veterans an head start to offset any mental or
physical challenges as a result of military service. “The sooner
they register the sooner we can start taking care of them.”
Veterans may contact the Orlando VA Medical Center Enrollment Office at 407-629-1599, press 2 at the first recording and 3 at the next. Additional health care information can be found on VHA’s Health Benefits web site at www.va.gov/healthbenefits.