Veteran assistance programs run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) receive about $185 billion in funding. The programs support veterans in a variety of ways like with housing, education and health care.
Federal grants are the main way that the federal government provides funding for these assistance programs that are intended to support citizens. In many cases, veterans may be eligible for help from programs targeting veterans in addition to other non-military related assistance programs.
Typically, veterans will need to meet specific eligibility guidelines in order to participate in the program. Certain programs have specific groups of people that they are targeting.
For example, some assistance programs are aimed at supporting rural communities, while others may try to provide veterans who have disabilities with accessible homes or vehicles. Veterans are encouraged to take advantage any programs that they are eligible to receive benefits from.
Eligibility for Veteran’s Affairs Benefits
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a veteran is a person who served active-duty time in the military and ended their career with any discharge except for dishonorable. For certain programs, a veteran’s assistance eligibility and benefit amounts will depend on:
- The length of his or her active-duty service.
- When and where they served.
- How they were discharged.
Generally, the minimum duty requirement for service members is 24 months. However, this minimum requirement may be waived if a veteran was discharge due to a duty-related disability.
Certain veteran’s assistance programs may have additional criteria for eligibility. Furthermore, some programs will have guidelines that vary from state to state.
Laws regarding federal assistance programs are constantly changing, which may also affect eligibility requirements. For more cases, veterans are encouraged to visit a local VA office for more help finding suitable programs.
Types of Grants for Veterans
Veterans can receive a variety of grants from the VA that can help them in numerous different ways. Some grants are awarded to organizations to manage, while others are dispersed directly to eligible veterans who apply. The primary focuses of these federal grants include:
- Housing assistance for veterans.
- Education and training for veterans.
- Veteran disability benefits.
- Veteran burial benefits.
These types of assistance programs are the most common, but there are many more available for veterans to benefit from. Local Veteran Affairs offices will have representatives available to help veterans navigate the many assistance programs offered by the VA. These representatives will be able to identify which programs will be most helpful in addition to providing state-specific information about the requirements and benefits of each program.
Resources for Service Members and Their Families
Grants for Veteran Housing Assistance
One of the biggest focuses of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is to provide housing assistance to all veterans in need. Housing programs for veterans receive the most funding from the federal government. These grants help veterans find and afford suitable housing for themselves and their families.
There is an assortment of different programs for the varying housing needs that veterans may face. For example, some programs are designed to help veterans pay off a mortgage or finance a home in order to become homeowners.
Federal funding is also used to support shelters across the country that are used as housing for homeless veterans in local communities. Many other housing assistance programs are available to help with different types of housing needs.
Veteran’s Education Benefits
After the passing of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, education benefits for veterans have been expanded and are more accessible than ever before. Veterans who have served on active duty for 90 days or more (since September 10, 2001) will be eligible for these Post-9/11 GI bill benefits.
The longer period of time a veteran has served on active duty, the more benefit amount they will be granted. The maximum benefit amount is usually enough to cover 100 percent of the tuition at most public universities.
Additionally, veterans will have the choice to use their GI bill benefits at alternative training institutes, trade schools and technical colleges. Veterans are not limited to studying or training in any specific field.
These benefits can be used to learn a wide variety of skills ranging from massage therapy to welding. Education benefits from the VA are intended to help veterans transition successfully back into civilian life.
Benefits for Veterans with Disabilities
Veterans living with disabilities, especially those that are active-duty related, are eligible to receive additional aid from the VA. For example, veterans with disabilities have access to Adaptive Housing Grants in addition to the standard housing grants for veterans.
These benefits can be used to make a veteran’s home more accessible for his or her condition. Housing grants can also be used to buy homes that already meet a veteran’s accessibility needs.
Also, veterans with disabilities may also be eligible for benefits such as financial compensation or expanded insurance coverage.
Veteran Burial Benefits
Another major benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs is the financial aid offered for the burial expenses of deceased veterans. Typically, the VA will provide up to $2,000 to beneficiaries for service-related deaths and up to $762 in non-service related deaths. Many national cemeteries also receive federal grants if they reserve and maintain a plot of land designated for deceased veterans.
How to Apply for Veteran’s Benefits
While there are a varied range of benefits available, veterans will not receive any assistance unless they apply for some programs. Although a few programs are offered to veterans automatically, others require an application.
Each program or grant has specific guidelines and application requirements. For example, some programs may offer online applications while others will only accept in-person applicants.
Application that are available on eBenefits.gov include:
- Disability compensation benefits for veterans.
- Home loans for veterans (and service members in some cases).
- Life insurance benefits for veterans (and other beneficiaries).
Applications that are available on Vets.gov include:
- Retirement pension benefits.
- Veteran’s education benefits.
- Burial services of benefits for veterans.