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VA Healthcare Enrollment Blitz

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that all Veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military — at home or abroad — will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024. This means that all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Additionally, Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the United States will also be eligible to enroll.

Following the VA announcement of "one of the largest-ever expansions of veteran health care" – qualifying for benefits all veterans exposed to toxins and other hazards during military service – Lincoln County Veteran Services Office will hold a health care enrollment blitz next week in north, central, south and east county locations. On Tuesday, March 5, Lincoln County Veteran Services staff will be at the Driftwood Public Library in Lincoln City at 801 SE Highway 101 from 10 a.m. to noon. Then they'll be at the Newport 60+ Activity Center on SE Second St. from 3 to 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 6, staff will be at the Toledo VFW Post 4227 (268 Pioneer Mountain Loop) from 9 to 11 a.m. Then they'll be at Cafe Chill in Waldport (540 NE Commercial St.) from 1 to 3 p.mLincoln County Veterans Service Officer Keith Barnes said their goal is to register 100 new VA Healthcare enrollees. In addition to expanding access to VA care, this decision makes it quicker and easier for millions of Veterans to enroll. Many Veterans believe they must apply to receive VA disability compensation benefits to become eligible for VA health care, but this is not correct. With this expansion and other authorities, millions of eligible Veterans can enroll directly in VA care – without any need to first apply for VA benefits.

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