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The Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) is a program very similar to TRICARE. But, they are not the same. When a veteran is retired from the military, both the veteran and their family members are eligible for TRICARE. People eligible for TRICARE are not eligible for CHAMPVA. Additionally, veterans are not eligible for CHAMPVA care for themselves. Only family members qualify for CHAMPVA benefits.

There are several ways to qualify. You can qualify if the veteran has a 100% permanent and total service-connected rating, or if the veteran dies while rated 100% permanent and total. This does not include Individual Unemployability which is a temporary rating. You can also qualify if the veteran dies of a service-connected condition, or a service member dies in the line of duty after 30 days of entry into service for reasons other than misconduct. If a surviving spouse remarries prior to age 55, eligibility terminates. Remarry after 55 and the benefit continues.

CHAMPVA can save a veteran, and their family, thousands of dollars a year. For more information contact our office. You can also view related fact-sheets at

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The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell at the email address provided below, if you would like to receive periodic veteran’s information by email. There are many state and federal benefits and programs available to veterans and their dependents. To determine if you are eligible for any of these benefits, visit or call our office. We can and will assist you in completing all required application forms. You can get information on the Web from the Kings County Veterans Service Office webpage at www.countyofkings.com/vets.

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Scott Holwell, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, is the Veterans Service Officer for Kings County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Hanford, CA 93230; call (559)852-2669; or e-mail scott.holwell@co.kings.ca.us

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