Veterans have new tool to determine health benefits eligibility

Young military soldier man portrait with laptop on background

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A new tool from AARP is designed to help veterans navigate the complex system of figuring out which benefits they may qualify for, and how to access them.

The Veterans Health Benefits Navigator has detailed health-care information from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Military Tricare, Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

U.S. Army veteran Charles Williams, who’s also on AARP Kentucky’s Volunteer Executive Council, pointed out the resource will also aid new caregivers as they get up to speed on the options available for their veteran loved one.

“And they can pick up on a series of avenues and resources that direct them to what they’re looking for,” said Williams, “what they need to do, and how to get there.”

According to AARP data, around 24 percent of Kentucky’s more than 300,000 veterans have relied on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for health care, and about 7 percent are uninsured.

Find the benefits tool online at ‘AARP.org/VetsHealthNavigator.’ There’s also a toll-free Veterans Health Benefits Assistance hotline: 877-222-8387.

With more than 340,000 veterans nationwide diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 15,000 deaths reported by the V.A. medical centers, Williams added that access to health care is a growing concern.

“I hope folks will go to that website I’ve identified,” said Williams, “and take advantage of what is available to them.”

Researchers estimate the cost of caring for post-9/11 veterans, through medical care and disability benefits, could reach up to $2.5 trillion by 2050.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 40 percent of veterans who served in the post-9/11 era qualify for disability benefits, compared to to fewer than 25 percent of those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War.