As with all VA benefits, veterans must have served on active duty under honorable conditions to be eligible for VA Medical Care. One exception to this requirement is that veterans who have a service connected disability may receive medical care for the service connected disability, even though they have an other-than-honorable discharge.

Minimum Service Requirement
Veterans seeking treatment for a service connected disability are not subject to any minimum length of service requirements. Veterans seeking treatment for conditions that are not service connected and who first entered service before September 7, 1980 may be eligible for most medical treatment if they have at least one day of active duty, and their discharge was under honorable conditions.

Enlisted personnel who first entered service after September 7, 1980 and officers who were commissioned after October 16, 1981 must meet the minimum active duty requirement which is commonly known as the “24 month rule” or the “2 year rule.” This requirement states that the veteran must have completed at least 24 months of active duty, OR the full period for which “called” or ordered to active duty.

Most veterans must be enrolled in order to receive VA healthcare services. Some key points about enrollment are:
  • A veteran may apply at any time - there is no time limit.
  • Veterans are encouraged to retain any existing healthcare coverage (private insurance) that they may already have.
  • Enrollment levels are based on priority groups – veterans in the highest priority groups will be enrolled first.
  • Acceptance of the veterans’ enrollment is contingent upon his or her priority group and theVA’s space and resource availability.

Click here for more information on this benefit.
Click here for A to Z Health Topic Index.
Back to Top