Do I Qualify for Both TRICARE and VA Disability Compensation?
Some veterans qualify for both TRICARE and VA disability compensation. Here’s what you need to know about eligibility and how these two types of benefits are coordinated when you qualify for both.
What is TRICARE and Who Is Eligible?
TRICARE is a health benefits program for enlisted service members, reservists, retired members of the military, and family members. The benefits available may vary depending on status.
TRICARE operates differently from VA disability compensation in that there are multiple TRICARE plans available to choose from. VA disability compensation is a monthly payment and TRICARE is health coverage. Coverage through TRICARE will depend on the terms of your plan, just as it would with an employer-sponsored healthcare plan or a plan you purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Do Disabled Veterans Qualify for TRICARE?
Not every disabled veteran qualifies for TRICARE benefits. However, there are circumstances in which someone receiving VA disability compensation may also qualify for TRICARE. For example, if you retired from military service and were entitled to TRICARE coverage, then later received a disability rating for a service-connected condition, you will remain eligible for TRICARE.
If you are medically retired from the military, you will remain eligible for TRICARE as long as you are on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) or Permanent Disability Retirement List (PDRL).
Do I Need TRICARE if I have VA Disability Compensation?
Since TRICARE is a health coverage plan with premiums, some people ask whether they can or should drop TRICARE coverage when they are approved for VA disability. There are several reasons to maintain your TRICARE coverage and use it in combination with VA disability compensation. For example:
- If your disability rating is less than 50%, your VA medical benefits won’t cover most non-service-related care.
- VA disability compensation generally does not provide medical care for family members, while you can purchase TRICARE coverage for your spouse and dependent children.
- Some TRICARE plans give you significant freedom to manage your own care and choose your own medical providers.
The VA encourages those receiving VA disability compensation to maintain their TRICARE coverage, and also to sign up for Medicare when they are eligible.
At Veterans Help Group, we know issues like this one can be confusing, and that pursuing veteran disability benefits can be a challenging process. If you need help securing VA disability compensation, contact us or call (855) 855-8992 to learn more about how we can help you navigate the system and put together the strongest application or appeal possible.
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