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Friday, May 24, 2024
HomeUncategorizedVHA VERSUS VBA

VHA VERSUS VBA

This week’s topic is not about a competition or a court case. I will attempt to offer clarification about two parts of VA, namely Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Both administrations fall under VA, but each has a unique function as to which benefits and how each are provided.

The VHA is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1300 health care facilities. 9 million enrolled Veterans are served each year. Each Veteran’s medical benefits package is unique. Care and services may include treatment of illnesses and injuries, prevention of future health problems, improvement of your ability to function, and enhancement of your quality of life. VHA provides Veterans with medical treatment. For example, you may receive audiology services for hearing loss resulting in the receipt of hearing aids. VHA is treating your hearing loss.

The VBA is responsible for providing financial and other forms of assistance to Veterans, their dependents, and survivors. Nearly 6 million Veterans and their survivors receive dis-ability compensation benefits. VBA handles disability compensation claims to determine if claimed conditions are service connected and the severity of those conditions. For example, you may have military hazardous noise exposure and you have a hearing loss diagnosis. You may submit a claim requesting service connection for hearing loss due to noise exposure. VBA will schedule a C&P (compensation and pension) exam with an audiologist to determine a nexus (connecting in-service event and cur-rent hearing loss). VBA is compensating you for your hearing loss.

I provided a very condensed explanation of VHA and VBA. The similarities in the examples I provided is to illustrate the confusion when a Veteran uses both administrations simultaneously. VHA will provide treatment to address your hearing loss. VBA will provide monthly compensation if they determine your hearing loss is service connected. The common thread is hearing loss, but each entity plays a specific role in addressing your hearing loss.

Please do not be confused if you have an audiology exam at a VHA facility followed up by another exam scheduled by VBA. Different purposes for each exam resulting in different outcomes. If you have questions about the purpose of your exam, then ask the provider. Do not refuse or cancel an exam because you just attended a similar one. You may lose out on treatment or compensation.

Brad Anderson and Melissa Crandall are the Lake County Veterans Service Officers and can be reached at 218.834.8326 or cvso@co.lake.mn.us

Karen Christianson is the Cook County Veterans Service Officer and can be reached at 218.387.3639, or karen.christianson@co.cook.mn.us

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