The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, or CHAMPVA, is one of the major health care benefits for a spouse, surviving spouse or child of a veteran who has died or is totally disabled due to a service-connected disability. In this program, VA shares the cost of health care services and supplies with qualified beneficiaries. CHAMPVA is only eligible for those dependents who do not qualify for TRICARE.
It is easy to mistake CHAMPVA with TRICARE as both programs offer health care benefits to veterans and their dependents. The main difference between the two benefits is that VA administers CHAMPVA, while TRICARE is regionally managed by the Department of Defense and is offered to active duty veterans and their survivors.
Can I lose my CHAMPVA eligibility?
As stated above, receiving TRICARE disqualifies you from receiving CHAMPVA. Other ways in which you can lose eligibility for CHAMPVA include:
- If you are receiving health care benefits from Medicare Part A and you decline Medicare Part B
- In the case of a divorce with a qualifying veteran sponsor
- In case a child turns 18 and does not join an accredited school
- If an eligible child who has enrolled full time in an accredited school turns 23 years
- If an eligible child marries
- A stepchild of a qualified veteran may also lose eligibility for CHAMPVA if the parents divorce.
How do I apply for CHAMPVA?
If you are eligible for CHAMPVA, you should use VA Form 10-10d to apply for the benefit. You should also include VA Form 10-7959c as a certification for other health insurance. Beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare should attach a copy of their Medicare card during the application.
Seniors above 65 years and are not eligible for Medicare must also attach documentation from the Social Security Administration that indicates that they are not receiving any Medicare benefits under another party’s social security number.
You can submit the application through the mail to: VHA Office of Community Care, CHAMPVA Eligibility, PO Box 469028, Denver, CO 80246-9028. Another way to submit your application is through fax at 303-331-7809.
It takes approximately six weeks to eight months for VA to process your application. This usually depends on the documents you have provided. If you have not added additional supporting documents, the VA must confirm the information you have provided with other federal agencies, which might take time.