As of April 1, veterans who received a Purple Heart during their military service will have their veterans disability claims moved ahead of other requests.
Existing rules provided Purple Heart veterans with priority consideration when requesting medical appointments at VA hospitals. Such veterans are also exempt from all co-payments related to their medical care.
While most think this prioritization is a good idea, others worry that there are veterans with serious wounds that are not usually recognized with medals, like traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.
The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration and was first presented by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War as the Badge of Military Merit. The Military Order of the Purple Heart estimates that over 22,000 Afghanistan War veterans and 35,000 Iraq War veterans have received the medal.