Priority V.A. Medical Benefits for Veterans With a Service-Connected Disability

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What are priority V.A. medical benefits?

Every veteran is entitled to medical care through the V.A. health system. But certain veterans with service-connected disabilities are entitled to priority care. When a veteran enrolls in the V.A. health system, the V.A. assigns him or her to what's called a priority group, numbered 1 through 8. The lower the number of a veteran's priority group, the higher priority the veteran gets in receiving care. This priority takes the form of earlier appointments, priority in the timing of noncritical care and placement in local programs, and care in a local facility when the availability of care at that facility is limited.

The following veterans with service-connected disabilities receive priority within the V.A. health system:

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability rated 50 percent or more, or who are determined by the V.A. to be "unemployable" due to their service-connected disability, are placed in Priority Group 1.

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability rated 30 or 40 percent are placed in Priority Group 2.

  • Veterans with a service-connected disability rated 10 or 20 percent, or whose discharge from service was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, are placed in Priority Group 3.

How is a priority group assigned for V.A. medical benefits?

A veteran's priority group status is determined when he or she enrolls in the V.A. health system. During the course of enrollment, the veteran will be asked about his or her service-connected disability rating. The V.A. health system then internally verifies the veteran's disability rating. The veteran doesn't have to present any additional documents.

How can a veteran use priority status for V.A. medical benefits?

When a veteran is enrolled in the V.A. health system, he or she is assigned a number and a priority group. The group is entered into the V.A. medical system's records for that veteran and will automatically entitle the veteran to that group's priorities. The veteran doesn't have to file any special papers or requests in order to obtain priority.

Where can I get help applying for or using priority V.A. medical benefits?

You can get free assistance with any V.A.-related question or problem by phone or in person through one of the V.A.'s Vet Centers, which are located in every state. You can also get assistance by contacting the V.A.'s Veterans Benefits Administration office nearest you. The V.A. also has a toll-free telephone help line at 800-827-1000.

For questions about priority at a particular V.A. health center, contact the center directly.

Joseph L. Matthews

Joseph Matthews is an attorney and the author of numerous books, including Social Security, Medicare, and Government Pensions, Long-Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It; How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim; and The Lawyer Who Blew up His Desk. See full bio