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Rep. Tipton Reintroduces Bill to Provide Dental Care for Low-Income Veterans

April 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) reintroduced legislation to make low-income veterans eligible to receive dental benefits that are currently not provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Dental Care for Low-Income Veterans Act (H.R. 2138) would create an exemption within the current eligibility requirements for veterans who meet certain income thresholds.

“Routine dental care should not be restricted from veterans, especially those with low incomes,” said Tipton. “Dental benefits should instead be made available to all eligible veterans to prevent burdensome out of pocket costs and improve overall health and wellbeing. My bill would provide critical dental benefits to veterans who need them most and better ensure our nation is living up to the promises made to veterans.”

Under current law, eligibility for VA dental care is limited to veterans who have a service-connected disability rated 100%, veterans with a service-connected dental disability or condition, former prisoners of war and homeless veterans.

H.R. 2138 would create an exemption within the current eligibility requirements, providing VA dental benefits to veterans who meet a certain income threshold. Annually, the VA would verify the veteran’s gross household income based on Federal Tax Information obtained by the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration to determine continued eligibility.

The bill received praise from Pueblo Community College Veterans Service Group President Jeremy Peterson. “A harsh reality for many veterans upon separating from service is the fact that most of us only have the six months separation dental coverage,” said Peterson. “Imagine after serving your country after multiple combat tours only to leave the service and find out that if you have a cavity or need a tooth pulled you must simply tolerate the pain because you can’t afford to pay the bill. It is my profound hope that this bill will pass and gain support from both parties simply because it is the right thing to do to help those who have already given so much.”

An identical bill, H.R. 6963, was introduced in the 115th Congress and referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.