South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)
Returning Service Members
Returning Service Members
South Texas Veterans Health Care System is grateful to the men and women who risk their lives to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places around the world. The VA has developed special programs to serve the nation's newest Veterans - the men and women who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) by assisting them with a smooth transition from active duty to civilian life. VA's goal is to ensure every seriously injured or ill serviceman and servicewoman, returning from combat, receives easy access to benefits and world-class service.
Benefits and Services:
In an effort to enhance benefits for many of our nation's Veterans, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2008 extends the period of enhanced VA health care eligibility provided to Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998. Under the "Combat Veteran" authority, the VA provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6, unless the Veteran is eligible for enrollment in a higher priority of care. This benefit applies to OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, currently enrolled Veterans, and new enrollees who were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003 and is good for five years after discharge.
Veterans, including activated Reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and have an honorable discharge. Health benefits include cost-free VA health care and medications provided for conditions potentially related to combat service. Veterans can become "grandfathered" for future access by enrolling with VA during this period. Veterans with service-related injuries or illnesses always have access to VA care for the treatment of their disabilities without any time limit, as do lower-income Veterans.
There are several ways to enroll for care:
- Through the medical center's OEF/OIF/OND Program Office, 1C, near the ER.
- At the eligibility office of the VA medical center or community based clinic near you. Don't forget to bring a copy of your DD214.
- Filling out the 10-10EZ online enrollment form, and mailing/faxing the completed form to the nearest medical center.
Our Welcome Home Events
Veterans, do you want a chance to get to know some Veterans who may be sharing the same experiences you are? Have you recently returned and don't know where to start with VA or even what services you may be entitled to? If so, why not attend one of our Welcome Home events. We frequently advertise these events on our social media pages: Facebook and Twitter. You can also find photos of our events on our Facebook photo page.
Special Eligibility and Coordination of Care for Combat Veterans Serving in Combat Theater After 11/11/1998- Returning Servicemembers (OEF/OIF/OND)
VA is ready to provide health care and other medical services to our nation's returning OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers. The South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) has a team ready to welcome OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers and to help coordinate their care. For more information about the various programs available for recent returning service members, log on to the Returning Servicemembers web site.
Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations also have special eligibility for VA health care. Under the "Combat Veteran" authority VA provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6 or higher for 5 years from the date of discharge or release from active duty, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group.
Combat Veterans who enroll with VA under this enhanced Combat Veteran authority will continue to be enrolled even after their enhanced eligibility period ends, although they may be shifted to Priority Group 7 or 8, depending on their income level, and required to make applicable copays. Additionally, for care not related to combat service, copays may be required depending on their financial assessment and other special eligibility factors.
NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these Veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.