Forward Observer — Doing Income Verification a Better Way
VA Removes Annual Income Reporting Requirement for Almost All
As the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) enters the twenty-first century of healthcare, it is getting smarter in its uses of the electronic databases of other federal agencies to the benefit of our veterans and their own work processes.
Effective March 2014, almost all veterans enrolled in the healthcare system are no longer required to file an annual VA Form 10-10EZR, a change in policy which affects many veterans in the system. Instead, the VA will automatically match income information obtained from the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration. The new “means test” policy is more customer-centric and ensures healthcare eligibility is kept up to date.
The new policy also follows on the heels of an earlier decision on the same topic made in December of 2012 with regard to annual Eligibility Verification Reports for both veteran disability and survivor pensions.
As to the initial financial assessment itself, those veterans who are not receiving a service-connected compensation or a disability pension payment, or have special eligibility – such as a Purple Heart – must continue to complete it at the time of application for enrollment in the VA’s healthcare system, using the VA Form 10-10EZ.
To be a clearer about what “special eligibility” means to the VA, the VA Form 10-10EZ explains that financial disclosure requirements do not apply to:
– a former Prisoner of War; or
– those in receipt of a Purple Heart; or
– a recently discharged Combat Veteran;
– those discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty; or
– those receiving VA SC disability compensation; or
– those receiving VA pension; or
– those in receipt of Medicaid benefits;
– those who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975; or
– those who served in SW Asia during the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and November 11, 1998; or
– those who served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987.
Those veterans who complete a financial assessment to determine their eligibility for cost-free medications or beneficiary travel only will still be required to submit their income on an annual basis, for some unexplained reason. Perhaps this is because they are not considered enrolled? Frankly, these are atypical circumstances.
Unaffected is the longstanding policy to provide no-cost care to indigent veterans, veterans with catastrophic medical conditions, veterans with a disability rating of 50 percent or higher, or for conditions that are officially rated as “service-connected.”
Therefore, for most veterans, the health benefits renewal form, VA Form 10-10EZR (available online or at their local VA medical facility), is now to be used only to report changes in their personal information, such as address, phone numbers, dependents, next of kin, income and health insurance.
For more information, visit the VA’s health benefits cost webpage or call Veterans Health Administrations toll-free line at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
As of 3 April 2014