Army National Guard Veteran Kim had a service-connected disability, but didn’t know she was eligible for free health care at VA. Now, she is determined to spread the word to other women Veterans.

Tell me what benefits you do utilize from the VA.

VA has opened up doors for me in my career, financially, getting my medical care, I got my master’s degree. I used the GI Bill. So now a part of my job as a social worker, I feel like, is educating.

When did you first come into contact with VA?  

When I was still working for the National Guard. VA was present at the reintegration events. I had no idea what I was eligible for. In basic training, I broke my hip, my last week of basic training.

I had no idea that I could get disability for that, that I could get care through the VA for that, that I could get benefits, free health care for that.

I don’t think I would be where I’m at if it wasn’t for VA. And I think being a female Veteran, you know, where, it’s the smallest group using the VA and yet the largest group that needs it. I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t meet a female Veteran who is unaware of the services she can get through the VA.

And how are the services?

Great. I actually just went for my annual physical in the women’s clinic about 10 days ago. And I had a new doctor. She spent an hour with me.

That just doesn’t happen. She collected all sorts of history on my family, asked me questions about myself — an hour. I mean, I maybe get 15 or 20 minutes at my civilian doctor.

And did you use those services when you were pregnant?

I did. My last son, who was born in March of 2012, I used the maternity care. Women just don’t really realize you can come to the VA for healthcare, and get your maternity care paid for, and get a breast pump.

I mean these are all sorts of things that I was not aware of until I went there. I think just finding someone who can help you navigate the system or go with someone, go with another female veteran or another veteran, that can be very helpful.

Veterans might be eligible for things that they had no idea they were eligible for, no matter what age you are. I have three boys. They are wonderful and they know about VA. They know mommy was in the army, so, it’s pretty cool.

Listen to Kim’s Story here and share it on social media.

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Enrolling for VA health care is easier than ever before. Explore your eligibility today at www.choose.va.gov/health.


Bronwyn Emmet is a public affairs specialist for the National Veterans Outreach Office.

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7 Comments

  1. william L fury April 2, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    Why I don’t get my heath care at the VA ,Because I was not allowed to en role, Because I made to much Money in Civilian Life ,But because I retired ,not working now could Enrole But ! not needed now because! I have Medicare & TFL ,Don’t need Appointments Stand on Line ,Can go to any Doc I choose ,when and where . I did the time ,and refused Help ,due to Higher ups changing the Rules at their whims Was given a 9 % hearing loss for being in the Hospital in 1958 for 23 days in Pensacola Fl ,Re evalueated. Stayed the Same for a Broken Ear Drum The VA was no help to me after spending 4 yrs USN ,plus 37 yr USNR Drilling out at 60 . My country lied to me but!, the Southern Border runners got more than ME ,When I needed it SAD! Now 83 1955 to 1998 ,2 yrs out 41 yrs total service

  2. Earl Pitman March 25, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Hello, I am a Veteran receiving VA healthcare for a number of years. I am approaching 65 and presently receiving a lot of Medicare information through the mail enticing me to sign up. I have already applied to Medicare as its required by law. However, VA Healthcare versus Medicare System, can someone advise of the risks and/or benefits of both systems. I personally prefer to stay with the VA system but I would love to hear from someone with the knowledge of both healthcare systems. Thanks…EARL

    • James Perry March 25, 2021 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Earl. I am also receiving VA healthcare as a Vietnam era vet. I am getting Medicare A & B with prescription drugs alongside the VA benefits. The reason I have opted to do this is because I can go anywhere with my Medicare. With the VA benefits, you are usually required to stay within the system, but with Medicare you are free to visit the local ER or an urgent care center. Overall, I feel they treat me better or at least are more dedicated to providing better care at the VA. There are times though having the treatment center closer is more important to me.

      There is another reason too, this is the association I have with some care givers. One example for me is, I had injured my back and go to a pain manager. This was a civilian doctor I have been seeing for a few years. Since I was already going to her and had good results, I didn’t want to change doctors.

      Reason three, the VA is pretty busy. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get an appointment if it isn’t something that is not considered urgent. Often I can get in faster with my civilian doctor. The final reason is, there are those times when you may want a second opinion.

      These are my opinions, you have to decide for yourself if they are worth the extra money.
      Jim

      • william L fury April 2, 2021 at 8:53 pm

        at 65 if your military retired ,you get Medicare A&B ,Pay for B Part ,Qualled for TFL Medicare 80% and ,TFL picks up the 20% can go to any doctor ,Emg. Room , Most Doctors accept, Had a Heart Attack .$21000 Bill they paid everything ,Good in the whole USA ,wife gets it at 65 also Part “B” costs you $144 a month ,taken out of SS before you get it TFL is Free No long Appointments

  3. Dan Rom March 25, 2021 at 12:16 am

    Is there a cadaver body donation program for medical students can practice on.

  4. Lataisha Jones March 24, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Hello my name is Lataisha S Jones my Husband name was Leo Jones I spoken with Mr Mc Donald I informed him at the time my husband had pass and I was his care giver send 2013 when we was married he passed on September 26,2018 he it told me I was still entitled for benefits just for the last two year so I applied back in November of 2020 and someone told me that’s not how the program work and they denied me. So if someone could help me why would the President of the program tell me to apply then they tell you you don’t qualify. Do they now when your husband passed away you’ll left with Bill and taking care of my kids by myself and pay off his bills and expenses so please could someone help thanks

  5. MDS329 March 18, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Awesome! I thought about using the VA for my healthcare.

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