Of the 16 million military personnel who served during WWII, 70% (11.2 million) were members of the U.S. Army.
Most WWII U.S. Army veterans are eligible for VA benefits including a special long-term care pension called Aid & Attendance.
To qualify for Aid & Attendance, a WWII veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during the WWII war period of December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered WWII service.
The Army of the United States
America’s first army was the Continental Army, which was founded in 1775 to fight the British Army during the American Revolutionary War. The Regular Army was established after Continental Army as a permanent, land-based military branch. Today, Regular Army refers to full-time, active members of the U.S. Army. The United States also has an Army Reserve and Army National Guard.
The Army Reserve is a federal reserve force that is part of the U.S. Armed Forces reserve organization. Reservists typically perform 39 days of military duty per year, and can be called to Active (full-time) Duty in support of the military when needed.
The Army National Guard is another type of U.S. military reserve component. The National Guard is under state and federal government control. Most Guardsmen have civilian full-time jobs, and serve in the National Guard on a part-time basis.
The Army of the United States (the legal name of the land forces of the United States) includes the Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves.
WWII and the U.S. Army
At the beginning of September, 1939, there were 227,000 U.S. Army personnel. A year later, following the passage of the Selective Service Act, the U.S. Army increased in size to 1.4 million service members.
In March, 1941, the Army was re-organized into the Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces and the Army Service Forces. Army Ground Forces participated in combat operations, and sustained most (80%) of the U.S. military casualties during the war. The Army Air Forces was the Army’s military aviation arm. The AAF became an independent military service (the U.S. Air Force) in 1947. Army Service Forces were responsible for procurement and supplies.
During the summer of 1943, the Army began increasing its ranks to 7.7 million service members. Two years later, there were 8.3 million Army personnel. Approximately one-third (2.7 million) served in the Army Ground Forces.
WWII Army Ground Forces
Army Ground Forces had both divisional and non-divisional groups. Each division had approximately 15,000 service members and was capable of performing independent military operations. There were 91 divisions during WWII: 68 infantry divisions, 1 mountain division, 16 armored divisions, 5 airborne divisions and 2 cavalry divisions.
The divisions were deployed to three theaters of operation (wartime land, air and sea areas): the Pacific (22 divisions), the Mediterranean (15 divisions) and Europe (61 divisions). Some divisions served in the Mediterranean and Europe.
Benefits for WWII Veterans
The VA provides several different benefits to WWII Army veterans, including health care, disability compensation, pensions, home loans and burial.
VA Disability compensation is paid to veterans who became disabled due to a wartime injury or illness, or an injury or illness that was aggravated by active military service. It is a tax-free monetary benefit based on the degree of disability (10% to 100%).
The VA’s healthcare system provides medical and health care services to veterans with active military service and an other than dishonorable discharge. Reservists and members of the National Guard who were called to active duty by federal order and completed their active duty service period may also be eligible for VA health benefits. Veterans who enroll in the system are assigned to one of eight Priority Groups, depending on their service-connected disability status and other criteria.
VA pensions (monthly monetary benefits) are available to qualified low income veterans and veterans who need help paying for long-term care. A veteran’s spouse and surviving spouse may also qualify for a VA pension. Types of VA pensions include Basic Pension, Homebound Pension and Aid & Attendance.
The Aid and Attendance benefit is a tax-free, monthly pension for veterans who need the assistance of another person to perform daily living activities like bathing and dressing. The benefit is a reimbursement for home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living and skilled nursing care. To qualify for the benefit, the veteran must have served during an eligible period of war. The VA will also look at income, assets and cost of care when determining benefit eligibility and payment amounts.
Most WWII Army veterans are now in their 90s and need long-term care. Home and facility care can cost thousands of dollars a month. With Aid and Attendance, WWII Army veterans get up to $2,127 per month to pay for either a home caregiver or care facility.
If you or a loved one are a WWII Army veteran who needs long-term care, contact one of our benefit consultants today to find out more about the Aid & Attendance pension.
VA Home Loans
The VA can help veterans purchase a home at a competitive interest rate and, in many cases, without a down payment or private mortgage insurance. Refinance and interest rate reduction refinance loans are also available.
Burial Benefits for Veterans
VA burial benefits changed in 2014. Now the VA pays up to $2,000 toward burial expenses for a service-connected death on or after September 11, 2001, or up to $1,500 for deaths prior to September 11, 2001. The VA may pay some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased if the veteran is buried in a VA national cemetery
Burial benefits are also available for non-service connected deaths. For non-service related deaths on or after October 1, 2016, the VA will pay up to $300 for burial and funeral expenses if the veteran was not hospitalized by the VA at time of death, and a $749 plot-interment allowance if the veteran was not buried in a national cemetery. If the veteran was hospitalized by the VA at the time of death, the VA will pay up to $749 toward burial and funeral expenses.
If the veteran died on or after April1, 1988, but before October 1, 2001 and was hospitalized by the VA at the time of death, the VA will pay $300 toward burial and funeral expenses.
A member of the U.S. Armed Forces, including WWII Army veterans, can be buried in a National Cemetery if they died while on active duty or received an other than dishonorable discharge from military service.
Burial benefits at a VA National Cemetery, which are at no cost to the family, include a grave site, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag and a Presidential Memorial certificate.
To find out more about the Aid & Attendance benefit for World War II veterans, call us today at 877-427-8065 and ask to speak to a benefit consultant.