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VSO explains eligibility for hearing, eyeglass benefits

Greg Remus

The VA may be the answer if you are an honorably discharged veteran and are in need of hearing aids or eyeglasses. Veterans are eligible for access to audiology and eye care services including preventive health services and routine vision testing for all enrolled veterans and those exempt from enrollment. Eyeglasses and hearing aids will be provided to the following veterans if:

You who are service connected at any percentage for an ear or eye related condition;

You are service connected 10 percent or greater for any condition;

You are in receipt of increased pension/compensation based on the need for regular aid and attendance or by reason of being permanently housebound;

You were a former POW;

You are a Purple Heart recipient;

You are a non-service connected veteran in priority group #5.

Non-service connected veterans

A non-service connected veteran must be enrolled or exempt from enrollment and receiving a vested level of care from a VA medical facility. Consideration of hearing aids for non-service connected veterans in priority groups #6 and #7 will be determined on an individual basis by the examining VA audiologist. He will consider the degree and configuration of hearing loss and its effect on their ability to effectively participate in their own health care services.

The process to obtain the hearing aids or eyeglasses is simple. You should make an appointment with your primary care provider at the VA Health Care facility and in turn the provider will initiate the referral to the audiology or opthamology department for a hearing or optic evaluation. The audiologist/opthamologist is responsible for determining medical necessity and prescribing the appropriate medical hearing or optic device. VA's licensed audiologists and opthamologists also are the gate keepers in they are responsible for ensuring that veterans meet the above-established criteria for the devices. In most cases if you attempt to coordinate directly with the audiologist/opthamologist, you will not get an appointment.

If you have any questions I encourage you to visit my office at 201 Fair Ave, Park Rapids of you can call at 732-3561.

The purpose of the Hubbard County Veteran Service Office is to provide assistance and support to eligible veterans, their dependents and survivors in obtaining benefits through the State and Federal Departments of Veterans Affairs, and to provide benefit counseling, claims service, referral and assistance in a variety of other programs.