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Relaxation of Priority Group 8 enrollment restrictions update

Public Law 110-329 provides VA additional funding to allow expanded enrollment opportunity for certain Priority Group 8 veterans who may have been previously denied enrollment in VA's health care system because their income exceeded VA's means tests thresholds.

The new provision allows veterans whose incomes do not exceed these thresholds by more than 10 percent to enroll in VA's health care system. The new provision has taken effect and has been applied retroactively to all enrollment applications received on or after Jan. 1, 2009. These changes do not open enrollment to all Priority 8 veterans.

A veteran who applied for enrollment after the effective date of the new provision, does not qualify for a higher priority group and whose income exceeds the means test threshold or geographic means test threshold by 10 percent or less will be placed in Priority Group 8b (if the veteran is 0 percent service-connected, non-compensable) or 8d (if the veteran is non service-connected) and enrolled in the VA health care system.

With the implementation of the Priority Group 8 relaxation of enrollment, the intent is to allow veterans assigned to Priority Group 8 who report income less than an established percentage above the applicable VA Means Test threshold or an established percentage above the Geographically-based Means Test threshold to be enrolled in either sub-priority group 8b or 8d.

This clarifies the enrollment prioritization of veterans whose income plus assets are above $80,000. With implementation of Priority Group 8 enhancements, a veteran's assets are not taken into consideration for enrollment purposes if their income is below or within 10 percent or less of the national income thresholds. Therefore, these veterans qualify for enrollment in PG 8b or 8d.

The income thresholds for veterans to be eligible for care under the new PG-8 guidelines are:

• Veteran with no dependents: $35,000

• Veteran with one dependent: $37,500

• Veteran with two dependents: $40,000

So now veterans that are below the above income limits but have assets above $80,000 will be enrolled in the VA health care system, this means that as long as your combined income (minus medical expenses) is less that the limits above they will not count your assets against you (i.e. farm land, savings accounts, IRA CD and such), and you can be enrolled in the VA health care system. Please see your local veterans service Oofficer for enrollment forms or assistance in enrollment.

You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at As always, have a great week.