Veteran Affairs health benefits extended for Alabama vets

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ Veteran Affairs health benefits have been extended to more than 142,000 veterans living in rural Alabama.

Al.com reports that the extension of federal program was approved by Congress to allow vets living more than a certain distance from a VA facility to seek private medical care outside of the Department of Veteran Affairs. The program was voted to allow the program to last until the $1 billion within the program is used up.

Congress voted on the program’s extension on Wednesday.

More than 400,000 veterans live in Alabama, and 142,000 of them live in rural areas that are not within 40 miles of a VA facility.

The new Mobile VA clinic should be operational by summer 2018. The clinic is expected to increase services for the 65,000 veterans living in South Alabama.