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Veterans Affairs Healthcare

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is a federal agency divided into three branches, each with its own distinct operations… just like different branches of the military.  The branch that provides healthcare to veterans is the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).  Vermont’s award-winning VHA facilities are some of the best in the nation and are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of their local staff.

What is Provided?

VHA provides a full range of healthcare for veterans, to include prescriptions, surgery, counseling, and rehabilitation. Independent evaluators consistently rate VA care to be some of the best in the nation, and this is especially true in Vermont.  Although VA healthcare provides a full range of health services, some specialty care is not available at VA facilities in Vermont.  Veterans who need care that is not available will get it from a contracted community provider or they will travel to another VA facility in New England. 

Where Can I Get Care?

Who is Eligible?

All veterans are encouraged to enroll.  When you enroll, you will be given a priority level based on your situation, and that priority will determine if you can access VA healthcare.  At the present time, veterans enrolled in Categories 1 - 7 can access VA healthcare.  To get in these categories, you typically need to have recent service in the Global War on Terror, a disability, a low income, and/or some specific combat related decorations, such as the Purple Heart.  Veterans without these may be enrolled in Category 8, which does not provide access to VA healthcare.

Although we want to give you information on the different categories, it is critical that you don't deny your own healthcare coverage because you think you aren't eligible.  The category isn't always easy to determine, and the eligibility guidelines are frequently modified by legislation or the VA depending on world conditions.  We recommend any veteran who would be interested in VA healthcare to apply for it.  The worst thing that can happen is the VA saying... "Sorry, you're in Category 8 and are not eligible for care at this time."  There is nothing to lose by enrolling.  If you are placed in Category 8, we recommend you check in with the VA every year or so to find out if the rules have changed.  Again, there's nothing to lose by asking.  

You can talk to an expert about your eligibility at the number below.

  • Healthcare Eligibility - White River Junction VA Medical Center - (802) 295-9363
  • Toll Free - (866) 687-8387 x6281

How do I enroll?

Find out the various ways you can enroll, or just give the eligibility folks below a call.

What Happens After I enroll?

After you enroll, if you are in Category 1 - 7 you will be assigned a primary care provider and an appointment will be made for you to see him or her, typically within 30 days.  Your primary care provider will then work with you to find out if other medical programs would help, such as mental health counseling, physical therapy, and polytrauma support (for veterans with medical conditions that effect multiple areas of the body).

Is Enrolling for Healthcare the Same as Applying for Disability?

No.  VA healthcare and VA disability are separate programs.  Even if you see a VA doctor, and that VA doctor treats you for service connected disabilities, you are not considered a "disabled veteran" until you appy for Disability Compensation through the Veterans Benefits Administration.