Grand County Veterans Affairs re-opens health care enrollment |

Grand County Veterans Affairs re-opens health care enrollment

Dave JonesGrand County Veterans Service Officer

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced plans to re-open enrollment in its health care system by July 2009 to about 265,000 veterans whose incomes exceed current limits.Enrollment for the lowest priority of the eight groups veterans who are not being compensated for a military related disability and who have incomes above a set threshold was suspended on Jan. 18, 2003, although veterans in that priority group who were already enrolled for care were permitted to remain enrolled.VA originally suspended enrollment for Priority 8 veterans because it was unable to provide all enrolled veterans with timely access to its health care due to a tremendous growth in the number of veterans then seeking enrollment. VA now plans to reopen enrollment for a portion of these veterans without compromising the Department’s ability to provide high quality health care services.The rule will take effect by June 30, 2009, if the regulatory process proceeds smoothly, said Admiral James Peake, retired. We look forward to welcoming these newly eligible veterans into the VA system.All local veterans not currently enrolled that have been waiting for this new enrollment policy to take affect should come in and see me by June 30 with your 2008 IRS 1040 income tax statement, 2008 out of pocket medical expenses, and cash asset information.Some parents eligibleBenefits for parents are often overlooked by many surviving family members of a veteran who has died from service-connected disability or died while on active duty.This is called Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (DIC)Parents whose child died in-service or from a service-connected disability may be entitled to DIC if they are in financial need. Parents may be biological, step, adopted, or in loco parentis.The amount of DIC payment from the VA is solely determined by the reported income of the surviving parent. Factors such as medical bills can offset income. All income from all sources must be counted, including Social Security.If you are the parent of a deceased son or daughter who died from service-connected disabilities or died while in active military service, and you are on limited income, I urge you to stop by and see me for a possible DIC parental benefit.Grand County service opportunitiesThe Selective Service System is seeking individuals who wish to provide a service to the their country by serving on a board for Grand County. Please call me to check out details.Don’t forget the Veterans Rally Aug. 14-16. Please call me if you would like more information, to volunteer for the event or make a donation.Getting in touchAll veterans of Grand County can reach their Veteran’s Officer at 970-887-7322 or at 970-509-9024. E-mail: Office hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday. The address is: P.O. Box 264, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451.Please call ahead so we may be sure we have information on hand to assist with Veterans Benefits or just stop by to share stories and get the latest up to date information.We can meet at the Hot Sulphur Spring’s office, your home or at any place you feel comfortable. Be assured that the concerns or issues you discuss will remain confidential.

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