VA priority groups | Veterans Affairs (2024)

We’ll base your priority group on:

  • Your military service history, and
  • Your disability rating, and
  • Your income level, and
  • Whether or not you qualify for Medicaid, and
  • Other benefits you may be receiving (like VA pension benefits)

We assign Veterans with service-connected disabilities the highest priority. We assign the lowest priority to Veterans who earn a higher income and who don’t have any service-connected disabilities qualifying them for disability compensation (monthly payments).

If you qualify for more than one priority group, we’ll assign you to the highest one.

Priority group 1

We may assign you to priority group 1 if any of these descriptions are true:

  • You have a service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 50% or more disabling, or
  • You have a service-connected disability that we’ve concluded makes you unable to work (also called unemployable), or
  • You received the Medal of Honor (MOH)

Priority group 2

We may assign you to priority group 2 if you have a service-connected disability that we've rated as 30% or 40% disabling.

Priority group 3

We may assign you to priority group 3 if any of these descriptions are true:

  • You’re a former prisoner of war (POW), or
  • You received the Purple Heart medal, or
  • You were discharged for a disability that was caused by—or got worse because of—your active-duty service, or
  • You have a service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 10% or 20% disabling, or
  • You were awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C § 1151, “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation”

Priority group 4

We may assign you to priority group 4 if either of these descriptions is true:

  • You’re receiving VA aid and attendance or housebound benefits, or
  • You have received a VA determination of being catastrophically disabled

Priority group 5

We may assign you to priority group 5 if any of these descriptions are true:

  • You don’t have a service-connected disability, or you have a non-compensable service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 0% disabling, andyou have an annual income level that’s below our adjusted income limits (based on your resident zip code), or
  • You’re receiving VA pension benefits, or
  • You’re eligible for Medicaid programs

Priority group 6

Assignment based on disability rating or general service history

We may assign you to priority group 6 if any of these descriptions are true:

  • You have a compensable service-connected disability that we’ve rated as 0% disabling, or
  • You participated in Project 112/SHAD, or
  • You served in World War II between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, or
  • You served in the Persian Gulf War between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998, or
  • You served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987

We may also assign you to priority group 6 if all of these descriptions are true for you:

  • You served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and
  • You were discharged from active duty on or after October 1, 2013, and
  • You meet the minimum active-duty service requirement

Note: You’ll have 10 years of enhanced eligibility from the date of your discharge or release. At the end of this 10-year period, we’ll assign you to the highest priority group you qualify for.

Assignment based on exposure to toxins or other hazards

We may also assign you to priority group 6 if you were exposed to toxins or other hazards during military service at home or abroad in any of the ways listed here.

We may assign you to priority group 6 if you participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (TERA) while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training.

We may assign you to priority group 6 if you were assigned to a duty station (including airspace above) in certain locations during specific periods:

  • On or after August 2, 1990, in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, or the United Arab Emirates, or
  • On or after September 11, 2001, in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, or any other country that we determine is relevant

We may assign you to priority group 6 if you were deployed in support of any of these operations:

  • Operation Enduring Freedom, or
  • Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, or
  • Operation Iraqi Freedom, or
  • Operation New Dawn, or
  • Operation Inherent Resolve, or
  • Resolute Support Mission

We may assign you to priority group 6 if you were exposed to ionizing radiation in any of these ways:

  • During atmospheric testing, or
  • During the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or
  • While conducting cleanup of Enewetak Atoll between January 1, 1977, and December 31, 1980, or
  • While participating in onsite response efforts in Palomares, Spain, between January 17, 1966, and March 31, 1967, or
  • While participating in onsite response efforts  on Thule Air Force Base, Greenland between January 21, 1968, and September 25, 1968

We may assign you to priority group 6 if you were exposed to Agent Orange and served in any of these locations and time periods:

  • The Republic of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, or
  • Thailand at any United States or Royal Thai base between January 9, 1962, and June 30, 1976, or
  • Laos between December 1, 1965, and September 30, 1969, or
  • Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province between April 16, 1969, and April 30, 1969, or
  • Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off of Guam or American Samoa between January 9, 1962, and July 31, 1980, or
  • Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll between January 1, 1972, and September 30, 1977

Priority group 7

We may assign you to priority group 7 if both of these descriptions are true for you:

  • Your gross household income is below the geographically adjusted income limits (GMT) for where you live, and
  • You agree to pay copays
    Review current copay rates

Priority group 8

We may assign you to priority group 8 if both of these descriptions are true for you:

  • Your gross household income is above VA income limits and geographically adjusted income limits for where you live, and
  • You agree to pay copays
    Review current copay rates

If you’re assigned to priority group 8, your eligibility for VA health care benefits will depend on which subpriority group we place you in.

VA priority groups | Veterans Affairs (2024)
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