If you served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible for Veterans Administration benefits. These benefits provide various types of assistance to service members, veterans, dependents, and survivors. Here are some of the main benefit programs:
Pension – For low income veterans and spouses. A VA pension is a tax-free, monthly monetary benefit. To qualify, veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty and at least 1 day during a wartime period. Applicants must also meet various income and asset criteria.
Aid and Attendance Benefit (Special Monthly Compensation): – A tax-free benefit for veterans, spouses and surviving spouses who need long-term care. The care can be provided at home or in a care facility such as board and care, assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Aid and Attendance can also be used to help pay for adult day care.
To qualify, the veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war. Applicants must need help with some of the activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing and mobility. There are also specific income and asset requirements. Monetary payments range from a maximum of $1,228 per month for a surviving spouse to $3,032 per month for two married veterans. To find out more about Aid and Attendance, contact one of our Benefit Consultants today at (877) 427-8065 or click here.
Disability Compensation – Are you a veteran with a service-connected disability? The VA pays monetary benefits to veterans who:
- became ill or suffered an injury while serving in the military
- aggravated an injury or illness during their service period
- Has a disability that occurred after service that is related or secondary to disabilities that occurred while serving
- Has a disability that occurred after service that is presumed to be related to military service
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment – helps veterans with service-related disabilities find and maintain employment. Also helps veterans with service-connected disabilities who are not yet work-ready to live as independently as possible.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) – a tax-free benefit paid to the spouse, children and, in some cases, parents of service members who:
- Died while in active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training, or
- Died from a service-related disability or illness. Or
- Died from a non-service connected disease or injury, but was receiving or was entitled to receive compensation for a service -connected disability that was rated totally disabling for at least 10 years before death, or since the veteran’s release from active duty and at least five years preceding dearth, or for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
To qualify for DIC, the spouse must have been:
- Married to a servicemember who died in active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training, or
- Married the veteran before January 1, 1957, or
- Married the veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or illness that caused the veterans’ death started or was aggravated, or
- Was married to the veteran for at least one year, or
- Had a child with the veteran, or
- Lived with the veteran continuously until the veteran’s death, or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation, AND
- Has not remarried. (Note: A surviving spouse who remarried on or after December 16, 2003 and was 57 years of age or older at the time of remarriage, can continue receiving DIC)
The child of a deceased veteran may be eligible for the benefit if he or she:
- Was not part of the surviving spouse DIC award
- Is unmarried and
- Is under the age of 18, or between the ages of 18 and 23 and attending school.
Other kinds of Veterans Administration benefits include:
Education – provides education opportunities the veteran may have lost due to their service, such as the:
- Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty and Selected Reserve)– A monthly monetary benefit that helps pay for education and training costs. Can be used for college, business, vocational, correspondence courses, apprenticeships and job training, flight training, licensing, and certification exams. Accelerated training and national testing programs.
- Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Program – For veterans on active duty from January 1, 1977 to June 30, 1985. Benefits must be used within 10 years after separation.
- National Call to Service – For individuals who enlisted on or after October 1, 2003 under the National Call to Service program and selected one of the education incentives. Can be used while the person is on active duty or after separation.
- Dependents Educational Assistance Program – For dependents (children, spouses and surviving spouses) of veterans who died while on active duty, or a service-connected condition, or was determined to be 100% permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected condition.
- Reservists Educational Assistance Program – For members of the Selected or Ready Reserve called to active duty to support contingency operations. In most cases the benefit can be used for as long as the person remains in the Selected or Ready Reserve.
Insurance – VA insurance programs provide life insurance to service members who are exposed to the extra hazards of military service. The insurance can be continued after separation.
Loan Guaranty – The purpose of the loan guaranty program is to help service members and veterans buy or keep a home. In some situations, a spouse may also be eligible for this program. Generally, a qualified veteran can acquire a loan with making a down payment.
Burial and Plot Interment Allowance – A flat-rate monetary benefit that can help cover a veteran’s burial and funeral costs. The veteran must have an other than dishonorable discharge and meet several other requirements and conditions, such as the veteran was:
- Receiving a VA pension at the time of death
- Receiving VA disability compensation at the time of death
- Entitled to receive VA pension or compensation at time of death, but instead received full military retirement or disability pay.
- Died while hospitalized by the VA or receiving care under a VA contract
- Died on or after October 9, 1996 while a patient at a VA-approved state nursing home.
How much the VA pays depends on whether or not the death was service-connected.