According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 580,000 veterans received dental care from their VA benefits in fiscal year 2019. However, not everyone who qualifies for VA health care benefits also qualifies for VA dental coverage.
This important benefit is only available to some military service people. Knowing whether you qualify can help you navigate the various VA types of coverage afforded to you through the Veterans Affairs office. Knowing your rights as a military veteran can help you live a healthier life and take care of your dental health.
What Are VA Dental Benefits and How Do You Apply?
VA dental benefits offer dental care to people who have retired from the United States military. If you believe that you qualify for benefits, you can apply through the VA’s online application.
Who Qualifies for VA Dental Benefits?
The Veterans Affairs office breaks down the people who qualify for dental benefits into tiers. Not everyone qualifies for all dental benefits.
- Class I: This group is comprised of anyone who has a service-related dental disability or who has a condition for which they receive compensation. This group is qualified to receive any needed dental care.
- Class IIC: This group is made up of anyone who is a former prisoner of war. This group is qualified to receive any needed dental care.
- Class IV: This group is made up of people who have service-related disabilities that are 100% disabling, and people who are unemployable and receiving disability compensation at 100% disabling rate due to conditions related to service. This group is qualified to receive any needed dental care. However, people with temporary disabilities do not qualify for benefits under this class.
- Class II: This group served on active duty in the Persian Gulf War Era for 90 days or more. This benefit is only available to people who did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and who did not apply for dental care within 180 days of discharge or release. Their DD214 certificate of discharge must not reveal that they received a full dental exam and all necessary dental treatment before they were discharged.
- Class IIA: This group has a service-connected dental condition that they’re not getting disability payments for, or a disability that is the result of wounds that occurred during combat. This group qualifies for any dental care needed to ensure they will maintain a functional set of teeth.
- Class III: This group is comprised of people whose VA dental care provider has determined that their dental condition is connected to a service-related health condition and is making their medical condition worse. This group qualifies for any dental care that is necessary to treat the oral conditions that are related service-connected health condition.
- Class V: This is a group of people who are active in a 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 Veteran Readiness and Employment Program. This group qualifies for dental care under certain circumstances. For example:
- The dental care must enable the individual to be in the employment program or must enable the individual to reach the goals of the Veteran Readiness Employment program, or
- The dental care must be able to prevent the individual from stopping the employment program, or
- The dental care must enable the individual to get back to the program faster if they’ve had to stop and are currently in “leave” or “interrupted” status, or
- The dental care must enable the individual to get back to their employment program if they’ve had to stop because of a physical condition, including a dental condition, or
- The dental care must enable the individual to get a job and adjust to the job while getting employment assistance, or
- The dental care must make it possible for the individual to be independent in their daily living.
- Class VI: This group gets VA care or is scheduled for inpatient care for a health condition and needs dental care for a dental issue that’s making their health harder to treat. Individuals in this group qualify for dental care to treat the dental issue that’s making their health harder to treat.
- Class IIB: This group is signed up to get care through the Homeless Veterans Dental Program. Individuals in this group qualify for a one-time course of dental care that a VA dental care provider concludes is necessary to achieve either pain relief or which helps them get a job or treat their moderate or severe gingival and periodontal conditions.
- Inpatient Status: This group lives in an inpatient care setting such as a nursing home or a hospital. Individuals in this group qualify for dental services that a VA dental care provider concludes is necessary to manage a health condition they are being treated for by a doctor.
What Should I Do If I Don’t Qualify for VA Dental Benefits?
People who don’t qualify for VA dental benefits may still qualify for assistance paying for dental insurance. Dental insurance is available at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP). To qualify, individuals must meet one of these two requirements:
- Signed up for the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA)
- Signed up for VA healthcare
Struggling with VA Disability Benefits? Need Help from an Attorney? Contact Us
As a United States Veteran, you may be entitled to a variety of disability benefits that can help you after your discharge from the service. If you’re struggling to get the service-connected disability benefits that you’re entitled to from the VA, contact an attorney to help. At the offices of Hill and Ponton, we can help you get the services that you’re entitled to. Call us today to discuss your VA Disability case.