If you are the husband or wife of a veteran who can sponsor you for CHAMPVA benefits, your eligibility depends on and will be affected by your marital status. Changes in your marital status may cause you to lose CHAMPVA health coverage.
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Effect of Divorce or Annulment on Your CHAMPVA Health Coverage
Naturally, a divorce between a veteran sponsor and his or her spouse beneficiary will have an impact on the latter’s eligibility for benefits.
Divorce or annulment will cause the sponsored husband or wife to lose CHAMPVA coverage. Ineligibility takes effect at midnight on the effective date of termination of marriage. The termination or dissolution date is stated in the divorce or annulment papers.
In the strict legal sense, annulment means a marriage was never valid from the beginning. However this doesn’t mean that the ex-spouse must pay back CHAMPVA for the coverage received during the marriage.
Effect of Remarriage on Your CHAMPVA Eligibility
Another change in marital status that may affect your CHAMPVA eligibility is remarriage.
Remarriage Before Age 55
If you are widow or widower of your veteran sponsor and you remarry before 55 years of age, you will lose CHAMPVA benefits. Your coverage will end at midnight on the date of the remarriage.
If the remarriage comes to an end through death, divorce or annulment, CHAMPVA benefits can be reinstated.
If the veteran’s widow(er) instead lives in a common law marriage, and later separates from that person, he or she can also regain CHAMPVA benefits.
Benefits can be restored on the latter of:
- the first day of the month following the end of that remarriage
- the first day of the month after one leaves the spouse / common law spouse or
- December 1, 1999
To reclaim CHAMPVA coverage, you must furnish the VA Health Administration Center with proof of the dissolution of your remarriage, such as a divorce or death certificate.
Remarriage After Age 55
A law that took effect on February 4, 2004 let widow(er)s of veteran sponsors to keep their CHAMPVA benefits if they remarried after turning 55 years old. Those who had already remarried before the law took effect, and were 55 years old, were given until the end of December of that year to reclaim their benefits.
Effect of Divorce on CHAMPVA Eligibility for Children
Divorce and remarriage have no impact on a child’s eligibility for CHAMPVA. In the case of a stepchild, the stepchild loses benefits only if he or she ceases to live with the veteran sponsor. A mere divorce or annulment alone between the veteran and the stepchild’s parent will not cause him or her to lose CHAMPVA coverage. See official policy manual on children’s eligibility.