Veterans' priority groups

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In 1996, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs made changes in eligibility for VA medical care. The law establishes seven enrollment priority groups and requires certain veterans to enroll in the VA health-care system. They will be provided hospital and outpatient care and may be furnished with nursing home care.

Beyond the obvious need for urgent care, the VA employs this system in prioritizing care for veterans:

  • GROUP 1: Service-connected conditions rated 50 percent or more disabling.
  • GROUP 2: Service-connected conditions rated 30 to 40 percent or more disabling.
  • GROUP 3: Former prisoners of war, awarded the Purple Heart, service-connected conditions rated 10 or 20 percent disabling, discharged from active duty for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty or awarded special eligibility classification.
  • GROUP 4: Receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits or determined by the VA to be catastrophically disabled.
  • Group 5: Nonservice-connected with income and net worth below the established dollar threshold, or zero percent service-connected with income and net worth below the established dollar threshold.
  • GROUP 6: All other eligible veterans who are not required to make a copayment for their medical care. Those include World War I and Mexican Border War veterans; veterans solely seeking care for disorders associated with exposure to a toxic substance, radiation or for disorders associated with service in the Gulf War, or for any illness associated with service in combat in a war after the Gulf War or during a period of hostility after Nov. 11, 1998; and compensable zero percent service-connected veterans.
  • GROUP 7: Nonservice-connected and zero percent non-compensable service-connected with income and net worth above the established threshold and agree to pay specified co-payments.
Information: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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