In January 2008 Congress increased Combat Veteran benefits by extending the period of enhanced health care enrollment eligibility from two to five years post discharge for Veterans who served in the theater of operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf  War, or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998.

In addition, Combat Veterans discharged from active duty before January 28, 2003 who had not enrolled in VA’s health care system were provided an enhanced enrollment window through January 27, 2011. This enhanced enrollment provides cost-free hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness determined to be possibly related to their combat service.

Veterans whose enhanced enrollment eligibility is about to expire are encouraged to enroll by either applying for enrollment on-line at, contacting VA at 1 877-222-VETS (8387), mailing an application to their local VA medical center or visiting the nearest VA health care facility to apply in person. For more information regarding enrollment, visit VA’s eligibility site at