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Foreign Medical Program

August 7, 2023

While the sacrifices of veterans are universally acknowledged, the support they require post-service, especially in terms of medical care, often comes into the spotlight primarily within national borders. But what about those American veterans who choose to reside or travel abroad? Are they left to navigate the intricacies of foreign healthcare systems without assistance? The answer, thankfully, is 'no.'

This is where the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) comes into play — a lesser-known but vitally important program for U.S. veterans living or traveling outside the country. This program ensures that those who've served their country valiantly don't face medical uncertainties, even thousands of miles from home.

In this blog, we'll delve into the ins and outs of FMP, understanding its significance, eligibility criteria, and the benefits it extends to our cherished veterans.

Program Contact1-303-331-7590
Additional InfoApplication for Foreign Medical Program
Managing AgencyU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Understanding the Foreign Medical Program

The Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is a specialized healthcare benefits initiative provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) designed to offer medical care and services to Veterans who have service-connected conditions rated by the VA and are either residing or traveling abroad. Unlike other VA healthcare programs, the FMP caters specifically to Veterans who are not necessarily enrolled in the VA healthcare system.

Under the FMP, the VA takes on the financial responsibility for covering certain essential medical services necessary for the treatment of Veterans' VA-adjudicated service-connected conditions. This includes disabilities that are directly related to, or exacerbate, a service-connected condition. Moreover, the FMP extends its benefits to Veterans participating in a rehabilitation program as outlined in 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31.

Importantly, eligibility for the Foreign Medical Program is not determined by the degree of disability, as expressed in percentage ratings. Veterans who have VA-rated service-connected conditions or conditions associated with such service-connected conditions are eligible for foreign medical services under FMP. This signifies that even if a Veteran has a lower disability rating, they may still qualify for medical services under this program.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is determined based on specific criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To participate in the FMP, Veterans must meet certain conditions, which are as follows:

Not Part of Medical Benefits Package

The FMP operates independently of the VA's general Medical Benefits Package. This means that even if a Veteran is not enrolled in the VA health care system, they can still be eligible for the FMP.

Service-Connected Conditions

Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions are eligible for the FMP. This includes conditions that the VA has determined are directly connected to their military service.

Aggravating Conditions

Eligibility extends to Veterans with disabilities that are associated with and aggravating a service-connected condition. In other words, if a condition worsens due to a service-connected condition, the Veteran may qualify for FMP benefits.

Rehabilitation Programs

Veterans participating in a rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 are also eligible for the FMP. This includes individuals seeking to rehabilitate and reintegrate into civilian life.

Disability Percentage Not a Factor

Unlike some other VA programs, the eligibility for FMP medical services is not based on the percentage of disability assigned by the VA. This means that even Veterans with lower disability ratings can qualify for FMP benefits.

Character of Discharge or Service

Generally, to access VA benefits and services, the Veteran or Servicemember's character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions. This includes discharge types such as honorable, under honorable conditions, and general.

Special Discharges Consideration

In certain cases, even Veterans with discharges that are considered undesirable, bad conduct, or other types of dishonorable discharges may still be eligible for VA benefits under the FMP. This determination is made by the VA on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to note that the FMP is designed to offer medical care and services to Veterans who are residing or traveling abroad, ensuring that they receive necessary healthcare support even when outside the United States.

Application Process

Here is a step-by-step guide to the application process for the Foreign Medical Program (FMP):

Step 1: Gather the Required Information

Before you begin the application process, make sure you have all the necessary information on hand. This might include your personal identification details, VA-rated service-connected conditions, and any relevant medical documents.

Step 2: Download the Application Form

To apply for the FMP, you need to fill out the VA Form 10-7959f-1. Visit the official VA website or the FMP page on Benefits.gov to download the required form. The specific form you need is VA Form 10-7959f-1.

Carefully fill out the downloaded application form with accurate and up-to-date information. Make sure to provide all the required details, as this information will be used to determine your eligibility for the program.

Step 4: Attach Supporting Documents

Depending on the nature of your application, you might need to provide supporting documents such as medical records, service-connected condition documentation, and any other relevant paperwork. Ensure that all attachments are legible and properly organized.

Before submitting your application, review all the information you've provided. Double-check for accuracy and completeness. Errors or incomplete information could potentially delay the processing of your application.

Step 5: Submit the Application

Once you are confident that your application is complete and accurate, submit it through the appropriate channels. Typically, you can submit the application form online through the official VA website.

Step 6: Communication and Approval

After submitting your application, it will go through a review and processing period. The VA will evaluate your eligibility based on the information provided and the documents submitted.

The VA might contact you for additional information or clarification if needed. Keep an eye on your email or postal mail for communication from the VA. If your application is approved, you will receive further instructions on the next steps.

Step 7: Medical Services Authorization

Once your application is approved, the VA will provide you with the necessary authorization to access foreign medical services under the FMP. This might involve instructions on how to seek medical care abroad and how to have the VA assume payment responsibility for eligible services.

With your FMP authorization in hand, you can now seek necessary medical services abroad. Follow the guidelines provided by the VA to ensure that your medical expenses are properly covered through the FMP.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Foreign Medical Program (FMP)?

The FMP is a health care benefits program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad. It provides coverage for certain necessary medical services associated with the treatment of service-connected conditions and disabilities that aggravate such conditions.

2. Who is eligible for the FMP?

The FMP is open to Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions or those with disabilities associated with and aggravating a service-connected condition. It also covers Veterans participating in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Eligibility is not based on disability percentages, and Veterans with discharges under other than dishonorable conditions generally qualify.

3. Do I need to be enrolled in the VA health care system to participate in the FMP?

No, the FMP is separate from the VA's Medical Benefits Package. You do not need to be enrolled in the VA health care system to participate in the FMP.

4. How do I apply for the FMP?

To apply for the FMP, download and complete VA Form 10-7959f-1, which is the online registration form. This form is available on the official VA website. Make sure to provide accurate and complete information.

5. What if I have questions during the application process?

For more information, you can visit the FMP page on the VA website. If you have questions, you can use the Ask VA (AVA) website to ask a question electronically or call the VA Insurance Center at 1-800-669-8477.

6. What kind of medical services does the FMP cover?

The FMP covers necessary health care services associated with treatment of VA adjudicated service-connected conditions, as well as disabilities that are aggravating a service-connected condition. It also covers care for Veterans participating in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program.


The Foreign Medical Program (FMP) serves as a vital resource for Veterans with VA-rated service-connected conditions who are residing or traveling abroad. By assuming payment responsibility for necessary health care services, disabilities, and care associated with service-connected conditions, the FMP ensures that eligible Veterans receive the medical support they need even outside the United States.

It stands as a testament to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare services to Veterans, regardless of their geographical location. If you're a Veteran who meets the eligibility criteria, the FMP offers a crucial avenue to access quality medical care beyond the borders of the United States.

Navigating through the VA disability process can feel daunting, but understanding your potential rating shouldn't be. With our VA Disability Ratings Calculator, you can get an estimate of your VA disability rating in just a few clicks. Don't leave it to guesswork; empower yourself with knowledge.

Michael Blair contributes his expertise to help veterans access government benefits and resources. Through his informative articles and guides, he plays a vital role in empowering veterans and improving their quality of life.
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