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Priority Groups

Priority Groups Table

The number of Veterans who can be enrolled in the health care program is determined by the amount of money Congress gives VA each year. Since funds are limited, VA set up Priority Groups to make sure that certain groups of Veterans are able to be enrolled before others.

Once you apply for enrollment, your eligibility will be verified. Based on your specific eligibility status, you will be assigned a Priority Group. The Priority Groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. Some Veterans may have to agree to pay copay to be placed in certain Priority Groups.

You may be eligible for more than one Enrollment Priority Group. In that case, VA will always place you in the highest Priority Group that you are eligible for. Under the Medical Benefits Package, the same services are generally available to all enrolled Veterans.VA determines your eligibility for VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package through our patient enrollment system, which is based on Priority Groups from 1 through 8.

During enrollment, each veteran is assigned to a priority group. VA uses priority groups to balance demand for VA health care enrollment with resources. Changes in available resources may reduce the number of priority groups VA can enroll. If this occurs, VA will publicize the changes and notify affected enrollees. A description of priority groups follows:

Priority Group



Veterans with VA Service-connected disabilities rated 50% or more.

Veterans assigned a total disability rating for compensation based on unemployability


Veterans with VA Service-connected disabilities rated 30% or 40%. 


Veterans who are former POWs.

Veterans awarded the Purple Heart Medal.

Veterans awarded the Medal of Honor.

Veterans whose discharge was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

Veterans with VA Service-connected disabilities rated 10% or 20%.

Veterans awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C., § 1151, “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation.”


Veterans receiving increased compensation or pension based on their need for regular Aid and Attendance or by reason of being permanently Housebound.

Veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.



Nonservice-connected Veterans and noncompensable Service-connected Veterans rated 0%, whose annual income and/or net worth are not greater than the VA financial thresholds.

Veterans receiving VA Pension benefits.

Veterans eligible for Medicaid benefits.


Compensable 0% Service-connected Veterans.

Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Project 112/SHAD participants.

Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.

Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, through November 11, 1998.

Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, as follows:

Veterans discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003, for five years post discharge


Veterans with incomes below the geographic means test (GMT) income thresholds and who agree to pay the applicable copayment. 


Veterans with gross household incomes above the VA national income threshold and the geographically-adjusted income threshold for their resident location and who agrees to pay copays

Veterans eligibility for enrollment: Noncompensable 0% service-connected and:

Subpriority a: Enrolled as of January 16, 2003, and who have remained enrolled since that date and/ or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status.

Subpriority b: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10% or less

Veterans eligible for enrollment: Nonservice-connected and:

Subpriority c: Enrolled as January 16, 2003, and who remained enrolled since that date and/ or placed in this subpriority due to changed eligibility status

Subpriority d: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA National Income Thresholds or VA National Geographic Income Thresholds by 10% or less

Veterans not eligible for enrollment: Veterans not meeting the criteria above:

Subpriority e: Noncompensable 0% service-connected

Subpriority g: Nonservice-connected

Chapter 10 Special Groups of Veterans

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors

Homeless Veterans

VA's homeless programs constitute the largest integrated network of homeless assistance programs in the country, offering a wide array of services to help Veterans recover from homelessness and live as self-sufficiently and independently as possible.

The VA Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program provides a gateway to VA and community supportive services for eligible Veterans. Through the HCHV Program, Veterans are provided with case management and residential treatment in the community. The program also conducts outreach to homeless Veterans who are not likely to come to VA facilities on their own.

Homeless Veterans Supported Employment Program (HVSEP) provides vocational assistance, job development and placement, and ongoing employment supports designed to improve employment outcomes among homeless Veterans. HVSEP is coordinated between CWT and the continuum of Homeless Veterans Programs for the purpose of providing community-based vocational and employment services. All of the HVSEP vocational rehabilitation specialists (VRS) hired to provide employment services for the program consists of homeless, formerly homeless, or at risk of homelessness Veterans.


The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans (NCCHV) assists homeless Veterans, at-risk Veterans, their families and other interested parties with linkages to appropriate VA and community-based resources. The call center provides trained VA staff members 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assess a caller's needs and connect them to appropriate resources. The call center can be accessed by dialing 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838).


The VA's Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program provides funds to non-profit community agencies providing transitional housing (up to 24 months) and/or offering services to homeless Veterans, such as case management, education, crisis intervention, counseling, and services targeted towards specialized populations including homeless women Veterans. The goal of the program is to help homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination.


The Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program provides permanent housing and ongoing case management for eligible homeless Veterans who would not be able to live independently otherwise. This program allows eligible Veterans to live in Veteran-selected housing units with a "Housing Choice" voucher. These vouchers are portable to support the Veteran's choice of housing in communities served by their VA medical facility where case management services can be provided. HUD-VASH services include outreach and case management to ensure integration of services and continuity of care. This program enhances the ability of VA to serve homeless women Veterans, and homeless Veterans with families.


Through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, VA aims to improve very low-income Veteran families' housing stability by providing supportive services in, or transitioning to, permanent housing. VA funds community-based organizations to provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits. Grantees may also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies and licensed child care providers) if these payments help Veterans' families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis.


In VA's Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence (CWT/TR) Program, disadvantaged, at-risk, and homeless Veterans live in CWT/TR community-based supervised group homes while working for pay in VA's CWT Program, to learn new job skills, relearn successful work habits, and regain a sense of self-esteem and self-worth.


The Health Care for Re-Entry Veterans (HCRV) Program offers outreach, referrals and short-term case management assistance for incarcerated Veterans who may be at risk for homelessness upon their release.


For more information on VA homeless programs and services, Veterans currently enrolled in VA health care can speak with their VA mental health or health care provider. Other Veterans and interested parties can find a complete list of VA health care facilities at, or they can call VA's general information hotline at 1-800-827-1000. If assistance is needed when contacting a VA facility, ask to speak to the Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program or the Mental Health service manager. Information is also available on the VA Homeless program website at

Filipino Veterans

World War II era Filipino Veterans are eligible for certain VA benefits. Generally, Old Philippine Scouts are eligible for VA benefits in the same manner as U.S. Veterans. Commonwealth Army Veterans, including certain organized Filipino guerrilla forces and New Philippine Scouts residing in the United States who are citizens or lawfully admitted for permanent residence, are also eligible for VA health care in the United States on the same basis as U.S. Veterans.

Certain Commonwealth Army Veterans and new Philippine Scouts may be eligible for disability compensation and burial benefits. Other Veterans of recognized guerrilla groups also may be eligible for certain VA benefits. Survivors of World War II era Filipino Veterans may be eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation. Eligibility and the rates of benefits vary based on the recipient's citizenship and place of residence. Call 1-800-827-1000 for additional information.

VA Benefits for Veterans Living Overseas

VA monetary benefits, including disability compensation, pension, educational benefits, and burial allowances are generally payable overseas. Some programs are restricted. Home loan guaranties are available only in the United States and selected U.S. territories and possessions. Educational benefits are limited to approved, degree-granting programs in institutions of higher learning. Beneficiaries living in foreign countries should contact the nearest American embassy or consulate for help. In Canada, contact an office of Veterans Affairs Canada. For information, visit

World War II Era Merchant Marine Seamen

Certain Merchant Marine seamen who served in World War II may qualify for Veterans benefits. When applying for medical care, seamen must present their discharge certificate from the Department of Defense. Call 1-800-827-1000 for help obtaining a certificate.

Allied Veterans Who Served During WWI or WWII

VA may provide medical care to certain Veterans of nations allied or associated with the United States during World War I or World War II if authorized and reimbursed by the foreign government. VA also may provide hospitalization, outpatient care and domiciliary care to former members of the armed forces of Czechoslovakia or Poland who fought in World War I or World War II in armed conflict against an enemy of the United States if they have been U.S. citizens for at least 10 years.

World War Service by Particular Groups

A number of groups who provided military-related service to the United States can receive VA benefits. A discharge by the Secretary of Defense is needed to qualify. Service in the following groups has been certified as active military service for benefits purposes:

  1. Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs).

  2. World War I Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit.

  3. World War I Engineer Field Clerks.

  4. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

  5. Quartermaster Corps female clerical employees serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.

  6. Civilian employees of Pacific naval air bases who actively participated in defense of Wake Island during World War II.

  7. Reconstruction aides and dietitians in World War I.

  8. Male civilian ferry pilots.

  9. Wake Island defenders from Guam.

  10. Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence.

  11. Guam Combat Patrol.

  12. Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during World War II.

  13. U.S. civilians who participated in the defense of Bataan.

  14. U.S. merchant seamen on block ships in support of Operation Mulberry in the World War II invasion of Normandy.

  15. American merchant marines in oceangoing service during World War II.

  16. Civilian Navy IFF radar technicians who served in combat areas of the Pacific during World War II.

  17. U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas in World War I.

  18. U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas under U.S. armies and U.S. army groups in World War II.

  19. U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.

  20. Civilian crewmen of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels who served in areas of immediate military hazard while conducting cooperative operations with and for the U.S. armed forces between Dec. 7, 1941, and Aug. 15, 1945 Qualifying vessels are: the Derickson, Explorer, Gilber, Hilgard, E. Lester Jones, Lydonia Patton, Surveyor,Wainwright, Westdahl, Oceanographer, Hydrographer and Pathfinder.

  21. Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and July 18, 1942.

  22. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of United Air Lines who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug.14, 1945.

  23. U.S. civilian flight crew, including pursers, and aviation ground support employees of Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.

  24. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.

  25. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Pan American World Airways and its subsidiaries and affiliates, who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command and Naval Air Transport Service between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945.

  26. Honorably discharged members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command, between June 21,1942, and March 31, 1943.

  27. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Northwest Airlines who served overseas under the airline's contract with Air Transport Command from Dec. 14, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945.

  28. U.S. civilian female employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps who served in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor between Jan. 2, 1942, and Feb. 3, 1945.

  29. U.S. flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Northeast Airlines Atlantic Division, who served overseas as a result of Northeast Airlines' contract with the Air Transport Command from Dec. 7, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945.

  30. U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Braniff Airways, who served overseas in the North Atlantic or under the jurisdiction of the North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command, as a result of a contract with the Air Transport Command between Feb. 26, 1945, and Aug. 14, 1945.

  31. Chamorro and Carolina former native police who received military training in the Donnal area of central Saipan and were placed under command of Lt. Casino of the 6th Provisional Military Police Battalion to accompany U.S. Marines on active, combat patrol from Aug. 19, 1945, to Sept. 2, 1945.

  32. Three scouts/guides, Miguel Tenorio, Penedicto Taisacan, and Cristino Dela Cruz, who assisted the United States Marines in the offensive operations against the Japanese on the Northern Mariana Islands from June 19, 1944, through Sept. 2, 1945.

  33. The operational Analysis Group of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Office of Emergency Management, which served overseas with the U.S. Army Air Corps from Dec. 7, 1941, through Aug. 15, 1945.

  34. Service as a member of the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II or any individual who was honorably discharged under section 8147 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2001.


What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to coverage, control health care costs and improve health care quality and care coordination. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.

Three things you should know:

1 VA wants all Veterans to receive health care that improves their health and well-being.

2 If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.

3 If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.

Veterans Enrolled in VA Health Care

The good news is that Veterans enrolled in VA health care programs have health coverage that meets the new health care law’s standard. You do not have to take any additional steps to have health coverage.  

Veterans Not Enrolled in VA Health Care

Veterans not currently enrolled in VA health care program can apply for enrollment at any time.

Family Members

VA offers health care benefits for certain family members of Veterans through programs such as the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) and the Spina Bifida program. Read more about VA family programs…

Your family members who are not enrolled in a VA health care program should use the Marketplace to get coverage.

Additional Health Care Law Information

We understand you may have questions about the health care law and how it might affect you and your family. We compiled basic information about the health care law to help you make informed decisions about your health care. Let us know if you have questions regarding the health care law and your VA health care at 1-877-222-VETS (8387). After all, ensuring you receive quality health care is not just our obligation, it’s also our privilege.