Important VA Healthcare Deadline For Post 9/11 Care Passes
UPDATE: November 28, 2023
The Department of Veterans Affairs reminded qualifying veterans about an important deadline–September 30, 2023, which was the final day for vets who deployed to a combat zone after 9/11 but never enrolled in VA healthcare to apply for VA healthcare benefits.
Veterans who left active duty between September 11, 2001, and October 1, 2013, but didn’t sign up for the benefit were asked to enroll in VA Healthcare before the final deadline of September 30, 2023.
That deadline has since passed. Below, you’ll find the requirement to sign up for VA healthcare benefits preserved here for archival purposes.
Who Qualifies For VA Healthcare Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs has the following qualifying criteria for those who wish to apply for VA healthcare benefits. The rules vary depending on when you served, as we examine below.
VA Healthcare Benefits for Those Who Enlisted After September 7, 1980
Qualifying veterans must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty. Exceptions to the minimum duty requirement may apply if any of the below are true:
- You were discharged for a disability caused or made worse by active-duty service or
- You were discharged for a hardship or “early out” or
- You served before September 7, 1980
VA Healthcare Benefits Eligibility for Reserve or National Guard Troops
You must have been called to active duty under federal orders, AND you must have completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. VA.gov says, “If you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only, you don’t qualify for VA health care.”
VA Healthcare Benefits for Those Who Served in Vietnam
You may qualify for VA Healthcare if you served in “certain locations” in Vietnam. The PACT Act changed the criteria for certain VA benefits, ask a VA representative how the PACT Act may affect your eligibility for VA Healthcare.
Apply For VA Healthcare
You can begin the application process at the VA official site. To apply, you must gather the following documents according to VA.gov:
- Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, and your qualified dependents.
- Military discharge paperwork
- Insurance cards, including any coverage you receive via a significant other This also includes Medicare, private insurance, or insurance from your employer.
- Tax data, including the previous year’s gross household income, plus your tax-deductible expenses from the previous year.
Reminder: Veterans who left active duty between September 11, 2001, and October 1, 2013, but didn’t sign up for the healthcare benefit should enroll in VA Healthcare before the final deadline of September 30, 2023.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.