Until 11:59 p.m. local time on Sept. 30, 2023, veterans who deployed to a combat zone, never enrolled in VA health care, and left active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Oct. 1, 2013, are eligible to enroll directly in VA health care. This special enrollment period gives veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other combat zones an opportunity to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs encourages all of these veterans to visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411 to learn more and sign up for VA health care before the deadline.
This special enrollment period is a part of the PACT Act, the largest expansion of VA health care and benefits in generations.
Although this deadline is written into law for this specific group of veterans, many other groups of veterans are able to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits – including many Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, veterans who deployed to a combat zone and transitioned out of the service less than 10 years ago, and more. Veterans who do not meet any of the above criteria can often still access VA health care by filing for VA benefits or based on income. If a veteran is granted service connection for any health condition, they become eligible for VA care.
The PACT Act also expanded VA benefits for millions of veterans, making more than 300 health conditions “presumptive” for service connection. This means that if an eligible veteran has one of these health conditions, VA automatically assumes that the condition was caused by the veteran’s service and provides compensation and care accordingly. Since the PACT Act was signed into law, VA has delivered more than $1.85 billion in PACT Act benefits to veterans and their survivors.
More information on eligibility for the special enrollment period can be found at VA.gov/PACT.
The enrollment period applies to veterans who deployed to a combat zone, never enrolled in VA health care, and left active duty between Sept. 11, 2001, and Oct. 1, 2013 – specifically those who served in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998.
Linn County veterans can contact Linn County Veteran Affairs with questions or for help enrolling in VA benefits by calling 319-892-5160 or by emailing Veteran Affairs staff.
Watch a video for more information.