Eligibility and Enrollment - Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders System of Care
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Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders System of Care


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Eligibility and Enrollment

Veteran on the phone Do you have a spinal cord injury or disorder? Were you ever in the military? If the answer to both questions is yes, you may be eligible for care from VA.

Your spinal cord injury or disorder does not need to have occurred as a result of your military service in order to eligible for spinal cord injury and disorder care from VA.

Contact your closest SCI/D Center or contact VA in one of the ways described below for more information.



Apply for VA Health Care

Visit VA's Apply for health care page to begin the enrollment process.


Who is Eligible for Care from VA's SCI/D System of Care?

To qualify for care through VA's Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders System of Care you will need to fit VA's parameters for this condition. If you don't qualify for Care through VA's Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders System of Care, you can still get excellent care through other VA health care services. The policy governing spinal cord injury and disorder care in VA is explained in VHA Handbook 1176.01.

We serve the following population
a. VHA's SCI/D System of Care provides a full range of care for all enrolled Veterans who have sustained a spinal cord injury or have a stable neurologic impairment of the spinal cord. This includes:

  1. All traumatic spinal cord injuries due to such events as motor vehicle accidents, falls, and acts of violence; and
  2. Atraumatic, non-progressive etiologies of spinal cord disorders.
b. The following principles and conditions describe the population served.
  1. The neurologic condition is stable (i.e., not progressive or deteriorating over time).
  2. The primary problem is related to a spinal cord disorder as opposed to brain or peripheral nerve disorder.
  3. The resultant sequelae are clinically and functionally significant, thereby resulting in impairments of mobility, activities of daily living, and/or visceral function (e.g., neurogenic bladder, neurogenic bowel).
  4. Any level of the spinal cord, conus medullaris, or cauda equina is involved.
c. Illustrative examples of the population served are Veterans who have:
  1. Benign spinal cord or vertebral column neoplasms that result in significant spinal cord dysfunction.
  2. Multiple sclerosis with evidence of primary spinal cord involvement and minimal cognitive, swallowing, movement disorders, and/or visual impairments (which are typically best addressed by the Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine Services).
  3. Myelopathy secondary to herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal stenosis, or other vertebral column degenerative changes if sequelae include significant mobility, activities of daily living, and visceral/autonomic deficits (e.g., neurogenic bladder).
  4. Arterio-venous malformation that results in myelopathy.
  5. Epidural abscess that results in spinal cord dysfunction.
  6. Any other vascular, inflammatory, or infectious etiology that results in significant myelopathy.

Exceptions and Qualifiers to SCI/D Population Served
Although the clinical presentation may be similar in appearance to an SCI/D, Veterans with the following pathologic entities are not routinely admitted to SCI/D Centers:
a. Quadriparesis or paraparesis due to intracranial or peripheral nerve disorders.
b. Conversion disorder and/or hysteria manifested as paraplegia or tetraplegia.
c. Multiple sclerosis that is progressive, in active relapse, and/or with extensive cognitive, swallowing, and visual impairments. NOTE: The delivery of services for Veterans with multiple sclerosis is the primary responsibility of the National Director of Neurology and shared by the Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine, Primary Care, and SCI/D Services.
d. Veterans with diagnoses that do not affect the spinal cord.



Some VA benefits to which Veterans with SCI/D may be entitled include: compensation, pension, higher aid and attendance for those who require daily skilled care, car grants, adaptive automotive equipment, home grants, clothing allowance, educational benefits, HISA programs, and life insurance premium waivers.