I would be impressed if any Veteran could sit and write down every VA medical benefit to which they’re entitled, and just as important, the benefits which they aren’t qualified to receive. There’s all kinds of things you may not know about, or don’t know enough to determine your own eligibility.

It’s a challenge I’ve experienced myself. What can I get? What can I not get? Who do I need to call at my local facility? I’ve heard the same thing from my buddies in VA care. Luckily, VA has (literally) written the book of medical benefits tailored specifically to you.

VA’s Health Benefits Handbook has already arrived at the doorstep for Veterans in Priority Group 1. The flow will continue through the different priority groups through the middle of next year. Of the 13 chapters of medical benefits information and resources, eight will contain information specially made for the recipient.

The book will explain which Priority Group the Veteran belongs to and why, the facility address and phone number they belong to, a sheet of available benefits at a glance, copay information, and more.

For female Veterans, gender-specific scheduling information and resources will be detailed, as well as the fee basis for care outside VA’s system.

A sample health benefits book is available to check out online.

This is a first for VA, and an overdue step in clarifying what Veterans know about their own health benefits. Many Veterans commented that they weren’t aware of various programs, so hopefully this book will help clear up confusion—and get more Vets the care they both need and deserve.

Have you received your book in the mail? Let us know what you think, or what needs to be included in the next iteration. And if you find something wrong, or need to find out more information, call the health eligibility line at 877-222-VETS.

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Published on Feb. 22, 2012

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 165


  1. Mike April 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I called the number at the end of the blog post above since I am in priority group 1 and have not had my personalized health benefits book land on my doorstep as of April 25th, 2012.

    I waited on hold for several minutes and politely told the woman who answered that I would like to request my personalized health benefits book. She told me she didn’t know what that was. I told her that I was looking at the VA blog article about how the personalized health benefits books had ALREADY arrived at the doorstep of priority group 1 veterans, and I would like to request mine since it had not arrived. She then told me, “You can’t request those, they are sent out.” , even though she had just told me she didn’t know what they were. I read the sentence about how they had already arrived at the doorstep of Veterans in priority 1 to her and also the sentence at the bottom of the blog that instructed to call the number listed if you find something wrong, or need to request more information, and explained I was trying to do what the blog article recommended so I could receive my personalized health benefits book.

    She told me “I will connect you to the health eligibility line so they can explain that to you.”

    I waited on hold a much shorter time this time and politely repeated my reason for calling. The very nice woman who I spoke to informed me that all the priority 1 veterans benefits books had not gone out yet, but that they (the vendor) were sending them out in batches.

    She asked me for my social and checked and told me my batch had not been sent out yet. I asked her if I could update my address and she did update it for me, but informed me that the vendor had my old address, so to make sure I filled out a forwarding address card with the post office to ensure that I received mine when the vendor sent it out. She told me to call back in a couple of weeks if I did not receive it.

    This information may be helpful to folks who read the post above from a couple of months ago who are in priority 1 and have not had anything land on their doorstep yet.

    It took me about ten minutes of my time to learn this and it was simple enough to obtain. Maybe VA folks publishing Web content could balance the PR benefit of claiming credit for the good things VA is genuinely doing with accuracy for those of us who depend on that information and VA health care. In an organization as big as VA and with an efffort as big as this, of course this will take time, and people may get missed, or move, etc. That is reasonable to expect.

    Veterans reading this blog,…

    • Tom May 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I still cannot understand how the pertinent individualized information contained in the handbook (I’ve yet to receive) isn’t available via myHealtheVet. For the many veterans who use that web based program this would be a simpler, cheaper and faster way of conveying the same information.

      Given my comments above, I can’t help but wonder if anybody in the VA reads what veterans have to say, or are we simply commenting with no reasonable expectation of interaction with the VA?

  2. Tom Goffe April 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve not received one (over 2 months after the announced availability time frame) nor do I expect to in the near future even thought I am a Priority Group 1.

    Question: would it not be a better use of taxpayer dollars to make this available electronically and allow veterans to “opt out” of receiving a paper copy? By using MyHealthe Vet, enrolled veterans could access a compendium of the benefits they are eligible for as well as information on how to apply. We can access a wealth of health information there and I suspect it would not be a huge technological challenge for a vet to log in there and see their educational, home loan or state benefit eligibility and utilization information. It sure would beat having to call a toll free number, get conflicting or erroneous information and free up service representatives to answer more challenging inquiries.

    This is a perfect opportunity for the VA to set a new standard in leveraging technology to improve service to their constituents.

  3. Ronald White March 3, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Amen Mario! God help us all. I guess since were no longer an asset to the government they could care less. It’s a shame and after these last two wars one still ongoing it will only get worse. Besides politicians start these wars and unlike the past when the people were represented by senators and Representatives who served now unless it’s an election year nobody cares about us anymore. Were broke GI equipment and when there are budget shortfalls we take it on the chin although the DAV, VFW, AL do a pretty good job of taking up for us before the various government committees and what not and to be fair the VA can only work with the money they are given each year no matter how much they beg for and trust me from what I’ve read and seen the VA as sorry as it sounds has to beg…..I do feel sorry for some VA staff because they try to do the best job they can but there are still those whom the VA should never hire because working with vets is different than an average person….

  4. mike March 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I have a general question. I requested copies of my service medical records , which i did receive but i was told there are 2sets of service medical records. 1) General health medical records and 2) Mental health medical records – stating you have to request the Mental health records seperately but where and to whom do i request them from and is there a difference between the two? Any help would be greatly appreciated

  5. Mario S Loya Jr February 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    All the great the VA accomplishes are mote if it keeps ONE single Veteran from receiving benefits they are entitled to. It compares to imprisoning an innocent man and his family to life a life sentence in jail. My brother has had a case before the VA for years. The VA has a case that they refuse to make a decision even denying a CUE before their so called expert claims representatives. They constantly loose the file find it send out forms that they don’t even know why and what they are for. My brother sent in actual Court cases (and I may be wrong but these cases are from Federal Courts) and they still play the Denial Game. Texas Senators and Congressmendo not dare touch. He has requested appearances before any review board or court but the game goes on. I would challenge the National Director to review this case and stop this insanity.

    I only hope they don’t start the GAMES with all the new Vets. It is shameful the Stupidity of their Game. We are three brothers that are Vets and I four nephews and one grandson in the Military and all have gone to war with several deployments not just one. What is the VA going to do to them if they need Benefits.

  6. Mike Jarrett February 24, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Dear Kate Hoit, I saw your response to Donalds remark and I just have to ask. Since this article states that the handbooks have already arrived at the doorsteps of veterans in Prioity Group 1.
    I am wondering, since I am in Priority Group 1 if the handbooks have truly ALL arrived to Priority Group 1 veterans because I have not recieved one as of yet ?



    • Kate Hoit February 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Hey Mike,

      I don’t believe they have reached all those Vets in Priority Group 1. They just started going out at the beginning of this month. Here’s a number you can call for more information if you’d like: 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Hope this helps!

      • Barbara February 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        This is a quote from the above article, “VA’s Health Benefits Handbook has already arrived at the doorstep for Veterans in Priority Group 1. The flow will continue through the different priority groups through the middle of next year. Of the 13 chapters of medical benefits information and resources, eight will contain information specially made for the recipient.”.

        My husband is also priority group one and has not received the handbook as of 2/25/2012.

  7. Pamela Baughman (wife of Walter Baughman) February 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    We need the book, but it would be even greater if there were doctors who cared about the vets they see. My husband is diabetic and we have had some sad situations, one was a doctor who did not care that his A1C had jumped up He said that the VA does not worry until it reaches 10, the physician left VA the very same month he said this to us. It took alot of phone calls over several months to get to someone who cared and got the ball rolling to get his Metformin dose raised. He started at 500 mg. once a day, now he is at 1000 twice a day. It would be wonderful if the Vietnam Vets were treated better now since they were not in the past. The book is needed. I could give many instances that he had substandard care and it took me going with him to get what he should have been given to him from the word go. Thank you for your time. I am Pamela Baughman, wife of Walter Baughman.

    • wifeof a vietnam vet February 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Pamela, ty for your comment. My husband is diabetic from AG and has several other medical problems secondary to the diabetis. Im so glad you decided to go with your husband to see that he gets the proper care he needs, i am going to start going with my husband to all his appts. I also believe that my husband is not getting the proper care he should have due to all the secondary issues he is suffering with, but when he ask the primary doctor if he should be seen by a specialist , her response was its not that bad right now. But what amazes me is when i tried in the past to get a private life insurance policy on my husband they declined and said his protein levels were way to high(which means kidneys arent working properly) Just remember to always document every single doctors visit and the out come, also keep every single piece of paper/document you receive. I know for me, my husband could never keep track of all this , so i do it all for him. Im so glad your husband has you to help him through all this . God bless you both and best of luck

    • Ronald White March 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      I’m sorry you guys I’m a new diabetic because my last piss poor doctor either didn’t review my labs or was out right incompetent. I switched providers due to travel (gas) and my new PCP informed me I was showing all the symptoms (labs) thirsty etc.. for almost 3 years and he was surprised no one caught it. Same old PCP wouldn’t switch my inhaled steroid even though for years id been telling him it wasn’t working an ran through rescue inhalers an home breathing treatments like they were going out of style,my new PCP instantly switched my inhaled steroids but its taking a little longer to get better but it is getting better. Hope he works out hes prior service and we shared some of the same air space. I’m priority 1 and have yet to receive a booklet too. Not holding my breath cuz i cant for very long anyways. God Bless all Vets and their caregivers.

  8. Kathi February 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I enrolled with VA Healthcare way back in 2006, or there about but have not had care at a VA facility since then. Will I still be eligible to get one of these books?

    • Kathi February 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      the date I enrolled was 1986, not 2006

  9. Rose Coop February 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I’m priority gp 1. It hasn’t arrived on my doorstep, either. Am waiting with bated breath.

  10. james c mathews February 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I think it is wonderful. I can’t wait to get mine.

  11. K.C. February 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Kate, could you please explain the “priority groups” that way a Veteran knows what group they are in based on their rating? Thanks!

  12. DONALD CURTIS SR. February 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Have not received the book yet, AS OF, FEBRUARY 23, 2012

    • Kate Hoit February 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Donald, just an FYI: Distribution of the handbooks began this month, with all 8.5 million Veterans enrolled in VA’s health care system scheduled to receive their handbooks by 2013.

      • Jason Daniels February 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        I’m in Priority group 1, it says the books have gone out to all people in group 1 but I have yet to receive one.

Comments are closed.

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