Elder Law Blog

Eligibility for VA Benefits in New York

Individuals who actively served in the military and were not dishonorably discharged are considered “veterans” for the purpose of determining VA health benefits and services. Below is an overview of VA benefits eligibility.

The Basics

Former active military service personnel who separated under any condition other than dishonorable discharge may qualify for VA health benefits. In addition, former and current members of the National Guard or reserves who were called to and completed a full period of active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits. Excluded from eligibility are reserve or National Guard members whose active duty experience was limited to periods of training.

Minimum Duty Requirements

A majority of veterans who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, or enlisted after September 7, 1980, are required to have served the full period for which they were called to active duty or 24 continuous months or in order to be eligible for VA benefits. However, there are a number of exceptions to these requirements. For example, the aforementioned minimum duty requirement may not apply to veterans who:

â• Were discharged due to disability aggravated or incurred in the line of duty;
â• Were discharged due to hardship; or
â• Served prior to September 7, 1980.

Due to the high number of additional exceptions to the above minimum duty requirements, it is recommended that veterans with questions about VA benefits consult with an experienced New York elder law attorney to determine eligibility.

Enhanced Eligibility Status

Some veterans have the option of being granted enhanced eligibility status when applying for VA benefits, including:

  • VA pension recipients
  • Medal of Honor recipients
  • Prisoners of war
  • Purple Heart recipients
  • Veterans who are catastrophically disabled
  • Veterans with certain compensable disabilities
  • Veterans who were discharged from military service due to disability, early out, or hardship
  • Veterans who served in a Theater of Operations for five years after discharge
  • Veterans who served in the Vietnam War between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Veterans who served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998
  • Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
  • Veterans whose previous household income was below certain minimum amounts as determined by the VA

New York Elder Law Attorneys

If you have questions about your eligibility for VA benefits, please consult an experienced New York elder law attorney to determine your situation. At O’Connell and Aronowitz, our experienced New York elder law attorneys provide clients with solutions to this and other long-term care issues. Our experienced New York elder law attorneys work closely with elders and their loved ones in Albany, Latham, Plattsburgh, Saratoga, and across upstate New York to help them manage the complexities of aging. In order to begin the long-term care planning process, please contact us for a free consultation.

Back to Top