Monday, March 30th, 2009

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has announced that by June 30 it hopes to re-open enrollment to its medical benefits package to approximately 265,000 Priority Group 8 veterans whose incomes exceed the current VA means test income threshold by 10 percent or less.

Under the current rules, for example, those veterans whose income is below $29,402 or whose income is $35,284 or less with one dependent, receive free care. Under the new law, this amount would be increased by 10 percent or $2,940.

Veterans with income levels above this amount but not exceeding $43,050, or $49,200 with one dependent, pay a co-pay of $15 for a doctor visit or $50 co-pay for a specialist. Under the new law, this income limit would be increased by $4,305. Income in excess of this amount would be denied health care coverage in the VA System.

The income amounts are based on last calendar year and are the basis for determining levels of care and deductibles.

All veterans who wish to apply for the first time or re-apply as a result of this relaxation of income limits must complete Form 10-10EZ, according to Charles Jurgensen, Morris County Veterans Coordinator.

Jurgensen said the VA will allow a veteran to apply for health benefits prior to the anticipated effective date of July 1, but that veteran will be assigned a sub category until his or her application has been reviewed. They will then be requested to reapply by the VA. The sub categories have been set up to keep a record of income levels.

Further clarification on levels of income together with income levels for free drug care may be obtained by contacting Charles Jurgensen, Morris County Veterans Coordinator, at 973-285 6866 or the VA regional office in Lyons, N.J., at 908-647-0180