New program bridges gaps to meet the health and wellness needs of King County’s veterans

Many of America’s veterans, servicemembers, and their family members face challenges in accessing healthcare and wellness supports. Often times, challenges arise due to gaps in eligibility for health coverage, difficulties navigating large healthcare systems such as the VA, and the complexities in applying for and receiving disability benefits.

Since 2005, the King County Veterans Program (KCVP), the nation’s strongest local veterans program, has supported King County veterans, servicemembers, and their families through a range of financial assistance, employment and job training supports, housing resources, mental health counseling, and social engagement services.

Noticing a gap in health systems which left many veterans unable to access and pay for supports such as dental care and medical devices, and with an increasing population of older veterans in King County in need of assistance to age healthily, KCVP launched the KCVP Wellness Program in 2022. The program, funded through the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy, provides cost and stigma free health and wellness supports to help bridge the gaps and meet the evolving health and wellness needs of King County’s veterans, servicemembers and their families. The program follows the mantra of KCVP, “serve those whom others cannot,” by maintaining broad eligibility requirements so more veterans, servicemembers and their families may receive the support they need to live healthy and thriving lives.

Supporting veteran health and wellness

Veterans, servicemembers and their families who meet KCVP financial assistance criteria (60% of Area Median Income or lower) may qualify for assistance toward wellness related expenses. The program is designed to be flexible to best meet the wellness needs of veterans and to include servicemembers and their families, who are often not eligible for other military-related supportive health programs. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to dental services, vision care, medical bills, hospice care, home health care, behavioral health care, medical aids such as glasses and hearing aids, mobility devices, and other wellness related needs such as health assessments not covered by insurance or co-pays for health-related services.

“The KCVP Wellness Program bridges the gap between military and veteran benefits and the essential health and wellness supports that are often not covered for veterans and their families. I am proud of KCVP’s creativity in meeting the needs of King County’s veterans,” shared Leon Richardson, King County Department of Community and Human Services Adult Services Division Director.

Life changing supports

Since the KCVP Wellness Program launched in August 2022, over 175 veterans and their family members  have been served, totaling an investment of over $475,000 for veteran health and wellness.

The KCVP Wellness Program helped Ronald, an Army veteran, receive dental care and new dentures.

Michael, a 67-year-old veteran who served in Vietnam, found KCVP while staying at a shelter for people experiencing homelessness. After finding permanent housing through KCVP’s Collaborative Case Management program, Michael mentioned to his KCVP Social Service Professional (SSP) that he was experiencing severe pain in his mouth which had been contributing to significant weight loss. Not only had he been unable to chew on one side of his mouth for nearly two years, but also had not been able to find a program that was able to help him. The KCVP Wellness Program paid for Michael’s much needed oral surgery resulting in his ability to chew food normally and have a renewed appetite now that pain and discomfort were no longer issues. Michael’s improved health contributed to his ability to remain stably housed in his new home.

John*, a veteran working with KCVP, had received an electric wheelchair from their VA provider. During a meeting with his KCVP SSP, John expressed feelings of isolation and depression as the large device and limited power supply had kept him mostly homebound in the years since receiving the wheelchair. With the help of KCVP, John was able to have an electric wheelchair trailer installed behind his vehicle which allows him to transport his wheelchair beyond his home and neighborhood. The wheelchair trailer opened up many new possibilities of mobility, allowing him to reengage with his community. He expressed gratitude to KCVP for regaining his independence and a connection with his community. *not his real name.

How to get support

Veterans and their families can connect to the KCVP Wellness Program by calling the King County Veterans Program at 206-263-8387 or visiting the KCVP offices in Northgate or Tukwila. Households may be eligible for the program if they live in King County, have served at least one day in the military (any branch or discharge type), are or become enrolled with KCVP, and fall within income limits.

Visit KCVP at:

Northgate Office 9725  3rd Ave NE, Suite 300, Seattle, WA  98115

Tukwila Office 645 Andover Park West, Suite 100, Tukwila, WA 98188  

Download a flyer about the KCVP Wellness Program.