Health Benefit Changes are Effective Immediately
January 20, 2004
The VA estimates that as many as 9,000 Filipino veterans living in the United States who are citizens or lawfully admitted for permanent residence may be eligible for some of the expanded benefits. Previously, both Commonwealth Army veterans and New Philippine Scouts were eligible for treatment of service-connected disabilities in VA medical facilities. The Veterans Health Care, Capital Asset, and Business Improvement Act of 2003 removes the requirement that these veterans must qualify for VA service-connected compensation as a condition of health care. In addition to removing the compensation requirement, the law treats both groups equally, expanding eligibility for certain health care benefits to New Philippine Scouts. Under earlier regulations, only Commonwealth Army veterans were eligible for treatment of non-service-connected disabilities in the same manner as U.S. WW II veterans if they receive certain VA compensation and reside legally in the United States.
Service-connected Filipino veterans who meet the U.S. citizen/residency requirements are eligible for treatment for any condition at the VA Clinic in the Philippines. Affected Filipino veterans not currently using VA health care may apply for enrollment in the VA medical plan immediately by completing Form 10-10EZ online at www.va.gov/1010ez.htm or by requesting a mailed form by calling theVA at 1-877-222-8387. Filipino veterans seeking care must include proof of legal residency with their applications when submitted to the VA treating facility of their choice.
The Veterans Benefits Act of
2003 will provide some Filipino World War II veterans additional
financial benefits that were requested by the administration.
It will double the VA disability compensation currently paid
to New Philippine Scouts if they live in the United States and
are either a citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent
residence. Previously these veterans were paid at half the disability
rates normally paid to U.S. veterans. That law will improve benefits
for the eligible survivors of both New Philippine Scouts and
veterans of the Commonwealth Army or organized guerrilla units
if the survivors are currently paid at the half rate and meet
the U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent alien criteria. Those
changes are effective immediately and no action is required by
the affected Filipino veterans or dependents who are currently
on the rolls at the lower rates. VA will automatically adjust
their payments. New Philippine Scouts who lawfully reside in
the United States are now eligible for burial in a national cemetery
and are eligible for the monetary and headstone or marker burial
benefits available to U.S. veterans if they meet the residency
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