Mid-Atlantic Regional Group
Blinded Veterans Association
July 26, 2010
For all Blinded Veterans and families, the following is very important information for those non-service connected veterans who are blind and have been unable to attend a VA Blind Center because of the high co-payments required, and for those having trouble with medication co-payments an unexpected surprise from VA when the law was reviewed they added medication co-payments as being eliminated.
Catastrophically Disabled Veterans
Based on a VA clinical decision, Veterans are considered to be Catastrophically Disabled when they have a severely disabling injury, disorder or disease that permanently compromises their ability to carry out the activities of daily living. The disability must be of such a degree that the Veteran requires personal or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed, or require constant supervision to avoid physical harm to themselves or others.
Veterans determined Catastrophically Disabled are placed into Priority Group 4 unless eligible for a higher Priority Group placement based on other eligibility criteria such as being a compensable service-connected Veteran, in receipt of Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, a former Prisioner of War, or a Medal of Honor or Purple Heart recipient.
A Catastrophically Disabled determination may be authorized when a VA clinician determines that there is sufficient medical documentation without further evaluation. Veterans may also request a Catastrophically Disabled evaluation by contacting the Enrollment Coordinator at their local VA health care facility. It is VA policy to provide a Catastrophically Disabled Veteran an evaluation within 30 days of the request. There is no charge for this examination.
Recent Legislative Changes
On May 5, 2010, the President signed Public Law 111-163, the Caregiver and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2011. The law provides Veterans determined by VA to be Catastrophically Disabled an exemption from inpatient, outpatient and prescription copays. However, these Veterans may still be subject to copayments for extended care (long-term care) services.
VA is currently reviewing Catastrophically Disabled Veterans copayment charges for inpatient care, outpatient care, and prescriptions received on or after May 5, 2010. Copayment charges will be cancelled, or if Veterans have previously paid, refunds will be issued. Each VA Medical Center has an Enrollment Coordinator available to provide information about VA health care. Veterans may also call 1-877-222 VETS (8387) or visit www.va.gov/healtheligibility.
The VA web site will be updating information as more policy regulations are distributed to the VA Medical Center business offices. It is important for blind veterans to visit the VIST office if they need assistance with this, if a veteran is already service connected for blindness, nothing will change for them.
BVA successful legislative efforts working with other veteran service organization made this significant change for disabled veterans in the system.
Thomas Zieri Ph.D.
Director Government Relations
Blinded Veterans Association
477 H. Street NW
Washington DC 20001
Direct Office 202-355-9525
BVA's Legislative Alerts Group
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