After your military service, you may find yourself in need of dental care. Unlike medical procedures, finding out which dental care you qualify for is more complicated. Here is a simple breakdown to help you through the system.
The Department of Veterans Affairs splits veterans into nine classifications. Four of these classifications cover the full cost of dental visits and procedures, all of which are related to damage you may have incurred during military service.
Full Coverage Classifications
- Class I: If you have a service-connected compensable dental disability or condition. In other words, if a loss or hardship related to your military service resulted in a disability or condition that a dentist will need to treat, this is your classification.
- Class IIC: Often prisoners of war were poorly fed and cared for during their internment, and may have experienced physical trauma due to treatment or neglect. If you are a former prisoner of war, you automatically qualify for dental coverage.
- Class IV: If you received a disability during your service that the VA deems 100% disabling, or are unemployable due to conditions that resulted from your service, you are eligible for full benefits. There is a caveat with this classification. If you are temporarily classified as a Class IV individual, you are not eligible for comprehensive outpatient dental care. Examples of veterans with temporary classifications are those who require extended hospitalization, convalescence, or pre-stabilization.
- Class IIA: If you have a dental condition or disability as a result of service trauma or combat wounds that are not compensable, you are offered any care that will allow you to maintain function of your dental needs. There are two letters you need to review for this classification: The Dental Trauma Rating document, or a VA Regional Office Rating Decision letter. These documents identify which trauma related injuries or conditions that are trauma related. Contact your local Veterans Affairs Office for access to these documents.
Partially Covered Classifications
If you find that you are not fully covered in your dental care, you may still qualify for some dental care. These are for veterans who are homeless, newly discharged within the last 180 days, or those who have a service-related medical condition that is aggravated by a dental problem. All of these classifications can be found on the IB-10442 Form.
If you find that you have no coverage, there are still places where you can find care. The VA Dental Insurance Program requires enrollment, but can help cover some of your cost, and Dentists for Veterans provides critical and urgent care to veterans who have been abandoned or lost in the system. We can help you find the best care for you.