Veterans who choose to live abroad are well served by the VA in most cases, education services, medical benefits, compensation and pension claims, etc.

If you haven’t ever filed a claim before, you’ll have to complete a VA Form 21-526 to get started. If you have filed a VA Form 21-526 before, you don’t have to repeat that…you can write a simple letter telling VA who you are and what you’re filing for.

There are a couple of ways to go about it. You can manage the claim yourself or you can visit the closest U.S. State Department representative. We suggest that you may be best served by doing it yourself. If you are close to an American consul or embassy office, you may want to visit to see how comfortable you are with the people who would help you.

In order to speed up your claim processing, have your provider submit the claim in English. Claim information submitted in a language other than English will require translation; your claim processing is then delayed.

Veterans in other countries often think that the delays they are subjected to are because they live outside the borders of the United States. The fact is that vets who reside elsewhere are given the same attention as if they lived down the street from the VA Regional Office that holds their claim. That means they are subjected to the backlog of claims, delays, lost paperwork and overall ineptness that the VBA is well known for. You can depend on your claim taking a year or two to adjudicate and you’ll probably be denied and have to appeal to prevail. That’s the same lack of professional VBA services as the stateside veteran experiences so there’s no built in bias towards ex-pats.

Can I receive VA Education Benefits while attending school in a foreign country?

Yes, there are two situations in which you may receive VA benefits for attending school in a foreign country:

  1. You are attending a U.S. school but actually attending classes in a foreign country. If the course of study is approved by the State Approving Agency for the State where the school is located, your VA benefits can be used to attend school. For information about applying for education click here.
  2. You are actually attending a foreign school (not based in the U.S.A.). If this is the case, you must make sure that your program is approved by VA before you can receive your education benefits for that program.

You can also find approved schools, courses, or programs of education here.

You may also write to:

VA Regional Office
P.O. Box 4616
Buffalo, NY 14240-4616

You may also call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) for more information.

How do I get a foreign medical claim processed?

Please contact the nearest U S Embassy and ask them for a list of Doctors who are available to conduct physical examinations needed by VA. If the examination is in a foreign language, VA will get it translated when it is received.

Once you are found to have a service-connected disability, there is a program called Foreign Medical Program (FMP) designed for US veterans residing outside the US. Under FMP, VA assumes payment responsibility for certain services that are associated with service-connected conditions. FMP’s phone is 303.331.7590 and their e-mail is: G.FMP@CHAMPVA.DENVER.VA.GOV

For a list of Fact Sheets in the local languages please click here.

The Foreign Medical Program is a program is established to provide health care benefits to U.S. veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad (Philippines excluded). They also require you register for services here.

Under FMP, the VA assumes payment responsibility for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of those service-connected conditions.

This information is designed for veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are
planning to move or travel abroad and addresses the procedures for obtaining health care services for service-connected conditions while in a foreign country and how to file a claim for VA payment or reimbursement.

With the exception of medical services received in Philippines, all foreign provided services are under the jurisdiction our Foreign Medical Program (FMP) Office in Denver, Colorado.

The FMP Office is responsible for all aspects of the program including application processing, verification of eligibility, authorization of benefits, and payment of claims. If you are a veteran living or traveling outside the United States and have questions about other VA benefits such as compensation and pension exams and disability ratings you should direct those questions to your servicing VA regional office

Assistance

With the exception of services obtained in the Philippines, any other assistance you may need from the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) can be obtained by writing to the following address. You can also use this address when submitting claims:

VA Health Administration Center
Foreign Medical Program (FMP)
PO Box 469061
Denver CO 80246-9061
USA
Telephone Inquiries 1-303-331-7590
Facsimile (FAX) Service 1-303-331-7807
E-mail hac.fmp@med.va.gov

Assistance with Other VA Issues abroad

While the FMP Office is responsible for paying claims for medical services obtained for the treatment of VA-rated service-connected conditions, please note that your servicing VA regional office is responsible for establishing service-connected conditions. They are also responsible for administering educational benefits, vocational rehabilitation and other benefit programs. Inquiries related to any of these regional office matters should be directed to your servicing VA regional office.

Veterans in Phillipines:

VA Outpatient Clinic – Manila
Department of Veterans Affairs
PSC 501
DPO AP 96515

Phone: 1-800-1888-8782 Or 011-632-318-8387
Fax: 011-632-310-5957
Contact via the Internet: IRIS

Veterans in Mexico, South & Central America, and the Caribbean:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Regional Office (362/21)
6900 Almeda Road
Houston TX 77030-4200
USA
FAX 1-713-794-3818
Email: houstonfsi@vba.va.gov

Veterans in all Other Countries

VA Regional Office
Foreign Claims
1000 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15222-4004
USA

FAX 1-412-395-6057
Contact via the Internet: IRIS

Benefits

Generally, as long as the service you require is medically necessary for the treatment of a VA rated service-connected condition, it will be covered. There are however, some In general exclusions that are listed below.
Also the services you use must be accepted and approved by the VA and/or the U.S. medical community such as the American Medical Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

General Exclusions

  • procedures, treatments, drugs or devices that are experimental or investigational
  • family planning services and sterilization
  • infertility services
  • plastic surgery primarily for cosmetic purposes
  • procedures, services and supplies related to sex transformations
  • non-acute institutional care such as long-term inpatient psychiatric care and nursing home care
  • day care and day hospitalization
  • non-medical home care (aid & attendance)
  • abortions
  • travel, meals and lodging

As always, follow our guidelines of how to write to the VA. We do not recommend that you fax or email the VA. When you mail the materials, we recommend that you use a verification of receipt such as certified mail or a courier who will provide you documentation that your paperwork was received by the VA.

For questions about the Foreign Medical Program, please go to their homepage.

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions click here.