Veterans can access a variety of support services provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). This branch of the government provides veterans with assistance in several areas such as housing, life insurance and employment opportunities. The department was created to support service members, ensuring their welfare and quality of life after serving their country. There are different programs, each with its own requirements and application processes.
Veterans may qualify for benefits if they meet the requirements of the program that they apply for. These include honorable discharge, and some specify a minimum period of active duty required to obtain benefits. Moreover, some programs only benefit certain branches of the military such as the air force, army or marines. However, some exceptions may be made depending on the applicant’s case, so it is important for veterans to understand what each program requires to verify if they qualify for benefits. Review our sections below to better understand each program along with an overview of the type of benefits that the VA offers.
Some of the services veterans can access through their VA health care benefits include dental care, physical therapy, treatment for physical trauma and mental health. To determine eligibility, the VA utilizes a priority system that takes the applicants’ information provided in their application, and then decides how to distribute benefits. The VA considers factors such as income and types of disability to determine aid.
Moreover, although some of the VA health benefits cover services at no cost based on the applicant’s circumstances, other services such as inpatient care may require copayments. To access healthcare benefits, veterans may apply in person or over the phone. Once the application is complete, the VA enrolls the applicants for coverage, and sends an identification card they can use at their local VA facility. Otherwise, if the veteran’s application is denied, he or she could start an appeal process for their case.
Disabled veterans that suffered service-related injuries may qualify for VA disability compensation. Benefits veterans can receive include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), which provides benefits to family members of veterans who have passed away. Another compensation program is the Special monthly Compensation (SMC) that is aimed to financially support disabled veterans.
Applicants must provide the proper documentation to the department to see if they qualify for benefits. The claims process is extensive, and veterans must wait on the department’s decision on their case, which will notify them if they have been denied or approved for benefits. Moreover, veterans may have to provide the department with additional evidence, such as medical records and examination reports. Just like with health care benefits, applicants may appeal their claim in case it is denied.
Education and Training
Veterans may also apply for Post 9-11 benefits to purse an education after service. Qualified veterans may apply for this benefit, which offers up to four years of education benefits, an may also cover payments for housing, books and other school supplies. Veterans may qualify if they have served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001. Applicants may complete the application by mail, in person or online. Factors like the applicant’s contribution to his or her education fund, influence the education benefits he or she might receive. In general Payment raters vary per participant and program.
VA also offers employment benefits for veterans to adjust to civilian life and return to the workforce. Along with the Department of Defense and Department of labor, the VA offers programs such as the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) to ease the transition. The program offers resources such as:
- Vocational Training
- Certification Courses
- Resume Building Sessions
Through the TAP program, unemployed veterans gain a better understanding of the professional opportunities available to them, depending on their interests. Learn about the eligibility requirements for the TAP program by downloading our comprehensive guide on this benefit.
Home Loans and Housing Assistance
Veterans can receive financial assistance through the veterans housing assistance programs the VA offers. With these benefits, veterans may purchase loans and cash-out refinance loans that may be used to ren or purchase a home. The VA also offers home loan certificate of eligibility, which certifies applicants meets the qualifications to obtain this type of loan. Veterans can also access other resources on mortgage payments information and other financial knowledge. To qualify, veterans should have served for a minimum of 90 days and received honorable discharge. Download our guide to learn about other requirements to receive home assistance program.
The VA offers life insurance benefits that veterans’ families may use to cover costs such as funeral arrangements or mortgages costs after a veteran’s death. This program is aimed to provide veterans’ families with financial stability, and premiums are usually made affordable through the VA. Some veterans may qualify to have life insurance premiums waived depending on their case. Requirements to qualify include top a veteran’s position in the military and their medical status. Moreover, there is an application process for this benefit, but the VA may automatically enroll some veterans who are currently enlisted in different branches of the military.
Disabled veterans who meet annual income requirements may receive pension benefits from the VA. Applicants must also meet additional requirements such as having been honorably discharged and served for a minimum of 90 days. Benefits vary per program and are aimed to ensure veterans’ good financial standing after they retire. Moreover, other pension programs such as the survivor’s pension, provides support to a veteran’s family after he or she dies. Applicants must provide information including their identity, income and work and medical history to complete the application process for pension benefits. Download our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to apply.
Veterans Benefits for Spouses, Dependents and Survivors
Family members of veterans who have died or have been injured during service, are also eligible to receive some of the benefits outlined above. However, the eligibility requirements are different than from those of veterans, and applicants may qualify if they can prove their relationship with the veteran. For example, employment assistance may be given in case the family member needs to work to look after a disabled veteran. Applicants should review each program’s requirements prior to applying and to fully understand the benefits they could receive.