Over the past several years in my dealings with Veterans, there have been several myths about the VA concerning benefits and healthcare that seem to always come to the fore. Let me preface that statement by telling you not to listen to friends or relatives concerning policies and procedures concerning the VA. The first reason is because they probably have wrong information and the second reason is policies at the VA can change on a weekly basis.
Some of the most common myths are:
- I was never in combat. That doesn’t matter. If you put the uniform on and served you are eligible to apply for VA Healthcare and possibly other benefits. The first Tuesday of every month the Hines Community Outreach Team comes to the Naperville VFW Post from 9AM until 2PM. A Veteran Service Officer (VSO) is also there to answer questions and help file claims. Make sure you bring a copy of your DD-214 or discharge papers.
- I make too much money. True, eligibility for VA healthcare is income based, but what many Veterans don’t realize is that all out-of-pocket medical expenses are deducted from you gross income figures. That includes medical insurance payments, prescription drugs, and any other medical expenses.
- I lost my DD-214. Not a problem. Go to the VA website www.va.gov and go down to the bottom of the page. Click on VA forms. In the search area type in SF180. You can either fill out the form online or print it off and mail to the area specified in the form. It will probably be the National Archives in St. Louis. A word of caution, treat that DD-214 or discharge paper like you would your Social Security Card. Everything involved with the VA starts with those forms.
- The VA will pay for my funeral. Not true. Burial benefits include a gravesite in any of the 135 national cemeteries, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, Government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances.
These are a few of the myths circulating about the VA. If you have any questions I am always available to answer questions and help navigate the system.