WASHINGTON — Until 11:59pm local time on Sept. 30, 2023, Veterans who deployed to a combat zone, never enrolled in VA health care, and left active duty between Sept. 11, 2001 and Oct. 1, 2013 are eligible to enroll directly in VA health care. This special enrollment period gives Veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones an opportunity to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits.
VA encourages all of these Veterans to visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411 to learn more and sign up for VA health care before the deadline. Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than non-enrolled Veterans, and VA hospitals have dramatically outperformed non-VA hospitals in overall quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings. Additionally, VA health care is often more affordable than non-VA health care for Veterans.
This special enrollment period is a part of the PACT Act, the largest expansion of VA health care and benefits in generations. Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022, more than 344,000 Veterans have enrolled in VA health care and more than 4.2 million enrolled Veterans have been screened for toxic exposures.
Although this deadline is written into law for this specific group of Veterans, many other groups of Veterans are able to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits – including many Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Veterans who deployed to a combat zone and transitioned out of the service less than 10 years ago, and more. Veterans who do not meet any of the above criteria can often still access VA health care by filing for VA benefits or based on income. If a Veteran is granted service connection for any health condition, they become eligible for VA care.
To apply for care or benefits today, visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411. You may also contact a Veterans’ Claims Examiner from the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs at (727) 319-7440.