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Veteran Benefits - Federal

"Veterans benefits" means the various allowances, awards, preferences, rights and advantages given to eligible veterans of service in the Armed Forces.



  • Disability pension is paid for any permanent and total disability not resulting from service in the Armed Forces. Pension is paid only to veterans with at least 90 days of consecutive service, with at least one day during wartime, who meet certain income limitations.
  • If you are receiving a Veterans Administration pension, or if you later do receive one, be sure to advise the Veterans Administration of any un-reimbursed medical expenses, since this may allow the Veterans Administration to pay you a larger pension. You must also report any change in income, as this may affect your VA pension.
  • The VA also pays additional benefits to veterans and/or their spouses who are permanently housebound or in a nursing home. This additional benefit is called Aid and Attendance.



  • Disability compensation is payable at rates of 10% and higher to veterans for disabilities resulting from injury or disease incurred or aggravated in the line of duty in active service.
  • When a claim for disability benefits has been filed, after consideration of all evidence, including service records, medical and lay affidavits and statements, examinations and other evidence, an appropriate rating decision will be made by the VA. A rating decision will include the questions of service connection, initial evaluation, increase or reduction, special statutory evaluation (special monthly compensation) and others.
  • A disability may be rated from 0% to 100%. Payments are paid for disabilities in multiples of 10% up to 100%. Certain serious disabilities are given special monthly rates.
  • A compensation evaluation of 30% or more entitles a veteran having dependents (wife, minor child, and/or dependent parents) to additional monthly compensation.
  • To substantiate a claim for increase, the veteran must submit acceptable evidence indicating that his disability has in fact worsened or become more severe.
  • As a veteran, you are entitled to burial at a national cemetery. Your spouse and minor children (in some cases, adult unmarried children) are also eligible for burial at a national cemetery.


Medical Benefits

  • Hospitalization - Available to veterans in need of diagnosis and treatment for acute medical problems that cannot be treated on an outpatient basis.
  • Outpatient Care - Available to veterans in need of diagnosis and treatment for medical problems that do not require hospitalization. Also, it provides for conditions requiring post-hospital care.
  • Nursing Home Care - Available to veterans in need of skilled or basic nursing care, rather than medical care. This type of care can be provided either in a Veterans Administration Nursing Home Care Unit or in a private community nursing home under contract to the Veterans Administration. For care in Veterans Administration Nursing Home Care Unit, admission can be from home. Care in a contract home, however, must immediately follow a period of hospitalization in a Veterans Administration hospital.
  • Domiciliary Care - Available to disabled veterans capable of self-care activities who require supportive living arrangements rather than medical or nursing care. To apply for medical treatment, contact your County Veterans Service Officer. If an emergency, have your local doctor call the VA Medical Center and arrange for admission; or, you may appear personally at the Medical Center's admitting office.


Widow's Pension

  • All widows, widowers, and unmarried children under age 18 (or until age 23, if attending a VA approved school) of deceased veterans, may be eligible for a pension if the veteran served 90 days or more on active duty. At least one of those 90 or more days must have been during a wartime period. The widow must also have an income which meets certain limitations.
  • If the death was found to be the result of a service -connected condition, income is not a factor, as the VA will pay a basic monthly rate. Contact your County Veterans Service Officer for assistance in applying for these benefits.


Burial Benefits

  • The VA will pay up to $300.00 toward a veteran's burial if one of the following conditions have been met: the veteran died in a VA hospital or en route to such; the veteran was receiving VA pension or compensation at time of death; the veteran was entitled to VA pension or compensation but was receiving military retirement pay instead. In addition to the $300.00 allowance, a transportation cost will be paid where death occurs in a VA facility, within limits proscribed by the VA.
  • A $150.00 plot allowance is made where an eligible veteran is not buried in a national cemetery, or a cemetery under the jurisdiction of the United States.
  • If the death is found to be service related, the VA will pay up to $1500.00 toward the burial of the veteran.
  • A headstone or grave marker is available for all veterans with a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • An American flag will be furnished by the VA to drape the casket of a veteran who was either a wartime veteran or one who served after January 31, 1955, or a veteran who served at least one enlistment during peacetime, unless discharged sooner because of a service connected disability.
  • Flags may be obtained from VA offices or first class Post Offices. After the burial of the veteran, the flag may be given to the next-of-kin.



The VA pays benefits to eligible veteran, dependants, reservists, and service members while they are in an approved training program. These programs are as follows:

  • Montgomery GI Bill - Persons who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, are generaly eligible. Some Vietnam Era veterans and certain veterans seperated under special programs are also eligible. The bill also includes a program for certain reservists and National Guard members.
  • Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) - This program is for veterans who entered active duty for the first time after December 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, and contributed to a training fund.
  • Survivors & Dependents Educational Assistance - Some family members of disabled or deceased veterans are eligible for educational benefits.
  • Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve - This program provides up to 36 months of benefits to members of the Selected Reserve. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the Army National Guard and the Air Guard. An eligible reservist may get education benifits while in an approved training program, with the monthly benefit being based on the type of training.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation - This is a program which helps eligible veterans get and keep lasting, suitable jobs. It also helps seriously disabled veterans achieve independence in daily living. The program offers a number of services to help each eligible veteran reach his or her rehabilitation goal. These services include vocational and personal counseling, education and training, financial aid, job assistance, and if needed, medical and dental treatment. Services generally last up to 48 months, but they can be extended in certain instances. Generally, veterans have 10 years from the date they were last released from active duty to use their education benefits. Spouses generally have 10 years from the date the VA first finds them eligible. Children are generally eligible from age 18 until age 26. These time limits can sometimes be extended.


Home Loans

The VA offers a number of home loan services to eligible veterans, some military personnel, and certain spouses.

  • Guaranteed Loans - The VA can guarantee part of a loan from a private lender to help you buy a home, a manufactured home a lot, or certain types of condominiums. The VA also guarantees loans for building, repairing, and improving loans.
  • Refinancing Loans - If you have a mortgage, the VA may be able to help you refinance your loan at a lower interest rate.
  • Special Grants - Certain disabled veterans can receive grants to have their homes specially adapted to their needs.
  • Native American Veteran Direct Home Loan - Loans are now available for Native American veterans who wish to purchase or construct a home on trust lands. The loans can also be used to simultaneously purchase and improve a home. The veteran's tribal organization must also be participating in the direct loan program.
There is no time limit for a VA home loan, except for eligible reservists. Their eligibility expired October 28, 1999.


Life Insurance

  • Servicemen's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) - Low-cost term life insurance for service members and reservists. Generally, coverage begins when you enter the service. Is is available in amounts up to $200,000. Generally, it expires 120 days after you get out of the service.
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) - Renewable five-year term life insurance for veterans. It is available in amounts up to $200,000. You may apply any time within 1 year from date your SGLI expires.
  • Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance - Also called "RH" insurance, it is life insurance for service-disabled veterans. The basic coverage is $10,000. If your premium payments for the basic policy are waived, you may be eligible for a supplimental policy of up to $20,000. Generally, you have 2 years after being notified of your service-connected disability to apply for basic coverage.

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