If you’re enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs health-care system, you no longer have to report your income. The VA will get that information themselves — from the IRS and Social Security.
Starting March 2014, you’ll only have to give your income information if you’re applying for the first time. After that, you’ll only need to fill out your renewal form for change of address, next of kin, phone number and so on, using VA Form 1010EZR, which is available online or at your local medical center.
Per the news release, the VA will continue to provide no-cost care to “indigent veterans, veterans with catastrophic medical conditions, veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher, or for conditions that are officially rated as ‘service-connected.’”
The income limits for co-pays and prescriptions are all over the map, literally. Income threshold limits for a veteran and family of four can range from $46,440 in Washington County, Maine, to $101,200 in San Francisco, and from $30,200 in McDowell County, W.Va., to $64,000 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and all points (and amounts) in between.
If your income is over the limit, you still might get help. Income Verification Office benefits case managers can help find reductions in your income. If that doesn’t happen, or if your income has gone up, you might be required to pay co-pays for the year they’re reviewing. (Unfortunately you might end up owing money back for previous year co-pays, as the income information doesn’t get to them until July of the following year.)
To get more information, go online to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/cost or call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to [email protected]