Claiming VA Health Care
Benefits in a Foreign Country
with your DD214
Not all military retirees or recently discharged vets come back to the United States once they've completed their service commitments. In fact, so many veterans travel the world or remain in one overseas location that the Department of Veterans Affairs has a program for them called FMP-the Foreign Medical Program.
FMP is a VA program that allows veterans to get medical treatment at overseas facilities. The VA has “allowable amounts” that it will pay for service-connected medical conditions or any medical issue that is determined to aggravate a service-related condition. Note that it does not pay for treatment of ANY issue—just those that are judged to be service-connected health problems.
FMP also has a limited dental plan for recently retired or separated military members who didn't get a final dental checkup before leaving the service. Military members must apply for and be approved to use this aspect of the Foreign Medical Program and follow the guidelines set by the VA for use of an overseas dental facility.
One of the most important details to know about using FMP is how the service provider gets paid; the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have contracts or agreements with these overseas service providers, so it's up to the veteran to seek treatment and get billed accordingly. Then the veteran must file a claim with the Department of VA.
It's up to the vet to pay the service provider on the “front end” and seek reimbursement after the fact. (Don't forget, reimbursement is only paid for approved treatment related to the vet's service-connected medical issues.)
That's where the DD214 comes in. Before the VA will consider any claim, veterans must submit an initial Foreign Registration Form complete with a DD Form 214 to show proof of service and the nature of the military discharge. Vets can't get treatment paid for without submitting this initial sign up paperwork, so it's crucial to apply before medical treatment is needed.
If you have lost your DD214 and need a replacement, you'll need to get the replacement first and submit along with your paperwork. Recently retired or separated military members should check with their last base to see if a replacement copy can be obtained directly from the Military Personnel Center before the military service records have been shipped to the National Archives in St. Louis.
It's important to remember that the Department of Veterans Affairs must receive your application for FMP complete with the DD214 and assess your eligibility for the program—approval is not automatic and you may not be reimbursed if you seek treatment without being entered into FMP first. You can learn more about FMP at www.va.gov/hac.
- VA Home Loans and the DD214
- The GI Bill and your DD214
- Enlisting in the National Guard or Reserves
- Lost DD214
Do you know
what's on your
Military guidelines, regulations, and benefits are introduced each year for everything from Military Pay Charts to your VA Loan benefits. We can help you stay informed.
Few decisions are more important than how to pay for or maintain your home. Question Big can help you stay smart and avoid mistakes.