VA has program for eyeglasses, hearing aids

Veterans enrolled in the VA Healthcare System may receive care for any condition whether it is service connected or not. This includes diagnostic audiology and diagnostic and preventive eye care services.

VA will provide hearing aids and eyeglasses to the following veterans:

• Those with any compensable service-connected disability.

• Those who are former prisoners of war.

• Those who were awarded a Purple Heart.

• Those in receipt of benefits under Title 38 United States Code 1151.

• Those in receipt of an increased pension based on being rated permanently housebound or 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 or hearing impairment or combined visual and hearing impairments severe enough that it interferes with their ability to participate actively in their own medical treatment.

Veterans without service-connected disabilities are eligible for hearing aids or eyeglasses on the basis of medical need. All such veterans must receive a hearing evaluation by a state-licensed audiologist prior to determining eligibility for hearing aids or an appropriate evaluation by an optometrist or ophthalmologist prior to determining eligibility for eyeglasses to establish medical justification for provision of these devices.

These veterans must meet the following criteria for eligibility based on medical need: Be enrolled at VA medical facility where they receive their health care; and have hearing or vision loss that interferes with or restricts communication to the extent that it affects their active participation in the provision of health care services as determined by an audiologist or an eye care practitioner or provider.

If you are not already enrolled in the VA healthcare system, you can contact the Shawano County Veterans Service at 715-526-9183 for details and assistance in completing and application. If you are already enrolled, contact your VA primary care physician for a referral to audiology or optometry.