Dependents and Survivors Health Care

Health Care Benefits

Under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), certain dependents and survivors can receive reimbursement for most medical expenses – including inpatient, outpatient, mental health, prescription medication, skilled nursing care and durable medical equipment.

Eligibility: To be eligible for CHAMPVA, an individual cannot be eligible for TRICARE (the medical program for civilian dependents provided by the Department of Defense) and must be one of the following:

  1. The spouse or child of a Veteran whom VA has rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability.
  2. The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died from a VA-rated service-connected disability, or who, at the time of death, was rated permanently and totally disabled.
  3. The surviving spouse or child of a Veteran who died on active duty service and in the line of duty, not due to misconduct. However, in most of these cases, these family members are eligible for TRICARE, not CHAMPVA.

A surviving spouse under age 55 who remarries loses CHAMPVA eligibility on midnight of the date of remarriage. He/she may re-establish eligibility if the remarriage ends by death, divorce or annulment effective the first day of the month following the termination of the remarriage or Dec. 1, 1999, whichever is later. A surviving spouse who remarries after age 55 does not lose eligibility upon remarriage.

For those who have Medicare entitlement, CHAMPVA is secondary payer to Medicare. For additional information, contact the VA Health Administration Center, CHAMPVA, P.O. Box 469028, Denver, CO 80246, call 1-800-733-8387 or visit the Web site at www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/champva/champva.asp.

Many VA health care facilities provide services to CHAMPVA beneficiaries under the CHAMPVA In-house Treatment Initiative (CITI) program. Contact the nearest VA health care facility to determine if it participates. Those who use a CITI facility incur no cost for services; however, services are provided on a space-available basis, after the needs of Veterans are met. Not all services are available at all times. The coverage of services is dependent upon the CHAMPVA benefit coverage. CHAMPVA beneficiaries who are covered by Medicare cannot use CITI.

Children Born with Spina Bifida to Certain Vietnam or Korean Veterans: Program (SB) is a comprehensive health care benefits program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for birth children of certain Vietnam and Korea Veterans who have been diagnosed with spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta). The SB program provides reimbursement for medical services, pharmacy, durable medical equipment, and supplies. Effective October 10, 2008, Public Law 110-387, Section 408, expanded the coverage of health care benefits beyond the spina bifida condition. The VA’s Health Administration Center in Denver, Colorado, manages the SB Program, including the authorization of benefits and the subsequent processing and payment of claims. For more information about spina bifida health care benefits, call 1-888-820-1756 or visit the Web site at www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/spina/spina.asp

Eligibility: To be eligible for the SB Program, you must be eligible for a monetary award under the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA). The Denver VA Regional Office makes determination regarding this entitlement. The VBA notifies the VA Health Administration Center after an award is made and the eligible child is enrolled in SB.

Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV) Born with Certain Birth Defects: The CWVV Health Care Program is a federal health benefits program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for children of women Vietnam Veterans born with certain birth defects. The CWVV Program provides reimbursement for medical care related to covered birth defects and conditions associated with the covered birth defect except for spina bifida. For more information about benefits for children with birth defects, call 1-888-820-1756 or visit the Web site at www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries and select Spina Bifida/Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV.)

Eligibility: To be eligible for the CWVV Program, you must have received an award under VBA. The Denver VA Regional Office makes determination regarding this entitlement. The VBA notifies the VA Health Administration Center after an award is made and the eligible child is enrolled in CWVV.

Bereavement Counseling

VA Vet Centers provide bereavement counseling to all family members including spouses, children, parents, and siblings of servicemembers who die while on active duty. This includes federally activated members of the National Guard and reserve components. Bereavement services may be accessed by calling (202) 461-6530.

Bereavement Counseling related to Veterans: Bereavement counseling is available through any Veterans Health Administration medical center to immediate family members of veterans who die unexpectedly or while participating in a VA hospice or similar program, as long as the immediate family members had been receiving family support services in connection with or in furtherance of the veteran’s treatment. (In other cases, bereavement counseling is available to the veteran’s legal guardian or the individual with whom the veteran had certified an intention to live, as long as the guardian or individual had been receiving covered family support services.) This bereavement counseling is of limited duration and may only be authorized up to 60 days. However, VA medical center directors have authority to approve a longer period of time when medically indicated. Contact the Social Work Service at your closest VA Medical Center to access bereavement counseling services.

Design by Adam J. Balée