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The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or CHAMPVA, is a comprehensive health care program in which the VA shares the cost of health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries. This program is available to eligible spouses and children of qualified veterans. This program is sometimes confused with TRICARE which is a health care program sponsored by the Department of Defense and available to active-duty and retired members of the armed services, their families and survivors. CHAMPVA is offered through a Veteran Affairs program and is offered to individuals falling into one of the following four categories:
Beneficiary – A CHAMPVA eligible spouse, widow or widower or child
Child – Includes birth, adopted or stepchild; also helpless child as determined by VA Regional Office
Helpless Child – A child who, before reaching the age of 18, becomes permanently incapable of self-support. VA Regional Office is responsible for making this determination.
Dependents – A child, spouse, widow or widower of a qualifying sponsor
Qualifying Sponsor – A veteran who is permanently or totally disabled from a service-connected condition, died as a result of a service-connected condition, was rated permanently and totally disabled from a service-connected condition at the time of death, or died on active duty and whose dependents are not otherwise eligible for TRICARE benefits.
It is possible for either your spouse or children or both to be eligible for education benefits.
If a dependent is physically or mentally disabled to a degree that it prevents them from pursuing an education program and are at least 14 years of age, the dependent would be eligible for Dependents Education Assistance benefits for Special Restorative Training or Specialized Vocational Training. Special Restorative Training courses may include such topics as speech and voice correction, language retraining, lip reading, auditory training, braille reading and writing and the like. Specialized Vocational Training are courses focused on a vocational objective.
Upon separation from the military, your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance can be converted to an affordable, renewable term life insurance policy the can be retained for life. The new policy is referred to as the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. More information on policy details can be found at www.insurance.va.gov. You can apply for the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance with no additional proof of good health if it is done within 120 days after separation. During this time your Servicemembers’ Group Life insurance is still in effect. After the first 120 days if you have still not applied, you have up to one year to submit your application, however, proof of good health must be included in the submission. You should receive an application for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance both 60 days after separation and 120 days after separation. Applications should be submitted to the address on your DD Form 214 or equivalent separation papers. Deadlines for submission are still in effect even if you do not receive your application. You are unable to acquire additional coverage over that which you had upon separation. You can, however, convert your Veterans’ Group Life Insurance policy to an individual permanent, whole or endowment policy through one of 54 participating commercial insurance providers. If you have been rated as totally disabled at the time of separation, your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance policy will remain in effect for two years or at such date you are no longer termed totally disabled, whichever comes first, at no cost to you. This policy is referred to as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Total Disability Extension. After the term of this policy ends, you will be automatically billed for Veterans Group Life Insurance without the need for proof of good health. If you choose not to be enrolled at this time you have up to one year to submit an application, however, evidence of insurability will need to be included. In the case of terminal illness of the veteran, an application for accelerated benefits can be submitted in which the veteran can request up to 50% of their Veterans’ Group Life Insurance coverage in a lump sum. This will reduce the overall amount for the beneficiaries and will require a written medical prognosis of nine months or less to live.
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