Common Qs and As from the Veterans Administration

Editor’s Note: Following are typical questions answered daily by VA counselors. Full information is available at any VA office. Q: I’ve heard that VA will now pay for treatment in the emergency rooms of private hospitals. How do I get VA to pick up the bill’ A: The new coverage for non-VA emergency care has a narrow scope. It is designed as a safety net for veterans who do not have any way to pay for emergency health care services. If you are treated at a civilian facility for a non-emergency, you will not be covered under this benefit. To be eligible for this coverage, veterans must have no other form of health coverage, including Medicare or Medicaid. They must be enrolled in VA’s health care system and have been seen by a VA health care professional with 24 months. The civilian facility typically files the paperwork to be reimbursed by VA. For information about VA’s emergency care benefits, contact the nearest VA medical facility or call 1-877-222-8387. Q: It used to be that widows and widowers lost their VA pensions if they remarried. Hasn’t this changed’ A: A change in federal law that took effect Oct. 1, 1998 allows VA to resume Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) payments and related benefits to former recipients who lost their benefits because they remarried. The new law applies to people whether that later marriage ended in divorce, annulment or death of the spouse. The current rate is $911 for surviving spouses. In some cases, VA can pay more. Other rates are paid to eligible children. For information about restoring DIC, call toll-free, 1-800-827- 1000. Q: I didn’t get government life insurance when I left the military. Is there any way to get it now’ A: People leaving the military have 1 year plus 120 days to convert their Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). After that period has expired, there are no provisions in federal law to convert one to the other. A couple fine points are important. First, if you didn’t have SGLI when you were in the military, you can’t get VGLI after you leave the military. Second, veterans who receive a disability rating can apply for a different kind of VA-supported life insurance, called Service-Connected Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). They must apply within two years after VA notifies them that a medical problem is being recognized as ‘service connected.’ For information about VA financial payments, call 1-800-827-1000, for information about VA health care, call 1-877-222-8387, or visit VA’s web-page at .

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