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VA rules on audiology and eye care

VA will ensure access to audiology and eye care services including preventive health (care) services and routine vision testing for all enrolled veterans and those veterans exempt from enrollment. Eyeglasses and hearing aids will be provided to the following veterans:

• Those with any compensable service-connected disability.

• Those who are former prisoners of war (POWs).

• Those who were awarded a Purple Heart.

• Those in receipt of benefits under Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1151.

• Those in receipt of an increased pension based on being permanently housebound and in need of regular aid and attendance.

• Those with vision or hearing impairment resulting from diseases or the existence of another medical condition for which the veteran is receiving care or services from VHA, or which resulted from treatment of that medical condition, e.g., stroke, polytrauma, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, vascular disease, geriatric chronic illnesses, toxicity from drugs, ocular photosensitivity from drugs, cataract surgery, and/or other surgeries performed on the eye, ear or brain resulting in vision or hearing impairment.

• Those with significant functional or cognitive impairment evidenced by deficiencies in the ability to perform activities of daily living.

• Those who have vision and/or hearing impairment severe enough that it interferes with their ability to participate actively in their own medical treatment and to reduce the impact of dual sensory impairment (combined hearing and vision loss).

Note: the term “severe” is to be interpreted as a vision and/or hearing loss that interferes with or restricts access to, involvement in, or active participation in health care services (e.g., communication or reading medication labels). The term is not to be interpreted to mean that a severe hearing or vision loss must exist to be eligible for hearing aids or eyeglasses.

• Those veterans who have service-connected vision disabilities rated zero percent or service-connected hearing disabilities rated zero percent if there is organic conductive, mixed, or sensory hearing impairment, and loss of pure tone hearing sensitivity in the low, mid, or high-frequency range or a combination of frequency ranges which contribute to a loss of communication ability; however, hearing aids are to be provided only as needed for the service-connected hearing disability.

Veterans meeting the eligibility requirements to receive health care are eligible for diagnostic audiology services and eye and vision care services. Eligibility rules are the same for both inpatient and outpatient medical services. Veterans will not be denied access to audiology services and/or eye and vision care services covered by the Medical Benefits Package (38 CFR£17.38) because they do not meet the eligibility criteria for hearing aids and/or eye glasses.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198, and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays, call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.