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Congressman Scott Tipton

Representing the 3rd District of Colorado

Tipton Introduces Bill to Provide Dental Benefits for Low-Income Veterans

October 17, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) introduced legislation to provide critical dental benefits for low-income veterans. The Dental Care for Low-Income Veterans Act (H.R. 6963) would create an exemption within the current eligibility requirements for veterans who meet certain income thresholds to receive Veterans Affairs (VA) dental benefits.

“While medical benefits are available to all veterans through the VA, dental benefits are not. This can create a variety of problems for veterans who may not have insurance coverage and cannot afford to pay for a trip to the dentist’s office out of pocket,” said Tipton. “Going without routine dental care can have severe impacts on health and wellbeing, including impacting appearance, decreasing chances of securing employment, impacting mental health and increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. My bill will 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. 6963 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 President of Pueblo Community College Veterans Service Group, Jeremy Peterson, highlighted the importance of H.R. 6963:

“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. “Many veterans leave service and go on to college and only work part-time jobs at best that are not eligible for any sort of employer benefits. This bill if passed would go a long way to bridge this gap that many veterans feel needs to be addressed. Imagine serving your country and leaving service, many of us after multiple combat tours and finding out that if you have a cavity or need a tooth pulled and having to tolerate the pain because you simply can’t afford to address the issue because of more pressing bills to pay. 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.”

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