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USERRA Advisor

USERRA provides for the continuation of health benefit coverage for persons who are absent from work to serve in the uniformed services. The Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004 (VBIA), P.L. 108-454, amended Section 4317(a)(1)(A) of USERRA to provide that if a person's employer-sponsored health plan coverage would terminate because of an absence due to uniformed service, the person may elect to continue that coverage for up to 24 months after the absence begins, or the period of absence, whichever is shorter. The person cannot be required to pay more than 102% of the full premium for the coverage -- if the uniformed service was for 30 or fewer days, the person cannot be required to pay more than the normal employee share of any premium.

On return from service, health insurance coverage must be reinstated without any waiting period or exclusions for preexisting conditions, other than waiting periods or exclusions that would have applied even if there had been no absence for uniformed service. This rule does not apply to the coverage of any illness or injury determined by the Secretary of Veterans' Affairs to have been incurred in, or aggravated during, performance of service in the uniformed service. See 20 CFR Part 1002.168.

For additional information, contact your local VETS office. If you think your situation warrants a complaint, please review the instructions on how to file a complaint form. You will find a link to the form on the instructions page. The Veterans' Employment and Training Service will investigate complaints and attempt to resolve them. Persons whose complaints against non-Federal employers are not resolved by VETS may request that their complaints be submitted to the Attorney General for possible representation in Federal court. Unresolved complaints against Federal employers will, upon request, be referred to the Office of Special Counsel for possible representation before the Merit Systems Protection Board.

NOTE: In Federal cases involving non-selection or layoffs, a person may wish to file complaints under both the USERRA and Veterans' Preference (VP) statutes. If you think that this situation applies to you, you must submit a separate complaint form for each statute allegedly violated (i.e., one for USERRA and one for VP). When this situation occurs, VETS will open two separate cases for investigation.

Please return to the Main Menu for more information on USERRA.