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Federal Benefits for Veterans

Veterans Health Administration
VA Health Care Benefits: VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, community clinics, community living centers, domiciliary, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. For additional information on VA health care, visit: www.va.gov/health.
Veterans Benefits Administration
Disability Compensation: Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service-connected. Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of a veteran’s dependents, and is paid monthly. Veterans with certain severe disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation. The benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax.
Programs for Service-Connected Disabilities
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E): Program assists veterans who have service-connected disabilities obtain and maintain suitable employment. Independent living services are also available for severely disabled veterans who are not currently ready to seek employment.
Specially Adapted Housing Grants: Certain veterans and service members with service-connected disabilities may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant from VA to help build a new specially adapted house, to adapt a home they already own, or buy a house and modify it to meet their disability-related requirements. Eligible veterans or service members may now receive up to three grants, with the total dollar amount of the grants not to exceed the maximum allowable. Previous grant recipients who had received assistance of less than the current maximum allowable may be eligible for an additional SAH grant.
Automobile Allowance: Veterans and service members may be eligible for a one-time payment of not more than $11,000 toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if they have service-connected loss or permanent loss of use of one or both hands or feet, permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to a certain degree, or ankyloses (immobility) of one or both knees or one or both hips.
Clothing Allowance: Any veteran who is service-connected for a disability for which he or she uses prosthetic or orthopedic appliances may receive an annual clothing allowance. This allowance also is available to any veteran whose service-connected skin condition requires prescribed medication that irreparably damages outer garments. To apply, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest VA medical center.
Disability Pension: Veterans with low incomes who are either permanently and or totally disabled, or age 65 and older, may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. (Veterans who entered active duty on or after Sept. 8, 1980, or officers who entered active duty on or after Oct. 16, 1981, may have to meet a longer minimum period of active duty). The veteran’s discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable and the disability must be for reasons other than the veteran’s own willful misconduct.
Payments are made to bring the veteran’s total income, including other retirement or Social Security income, to a level set by Congress. Un-reimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income for VA purposes.
Education and Training: VA pays benefits to eligible Veterans and service members while they are in an approved education or training program. Based on the type of military service, primary benefit programs are:
Active Duty Service: Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)
Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 30)
Reserve/Guard Service: MGIB – Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
The Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 1607)
Additional information can be found at www.gibill.va.gov/ or by calling 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551)
Home Loan Guaranty: VA home loan guaranties are issued to help eligible service members, veterans, reservists and unmarried surviving spouses obtain homes, condominiums, residential cooperative housing units, and manufactured homes, and to refinance loans. For additional information or to obtain VA loan guaranty forms, visit www.homeloans.va.gov/.
Dependents and Survivors Benefits

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: For a survivor to be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), the veteran’s death must have resulted from one of the following causes:

  1. A disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training.
  2. An injury, heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty for training.
  3. A service-connected disability or a condition directly related to a service-connected disability.

DIC also may be paid to certain survivors of veterans who were totally disabled from service-connected conditions at the time of death, even though their service-connected disabilities did not cause their deaths. The survivor qualifies if the veteran was:

  1. Continuously rated totally disabled for a period of 10 years immediately preceding death; or
  2. Continuously rated totally disabled from the date of military discharge and for at least 5 years immediately preceding death ;or
  3. A former POW who died after Sept. 30, 1999, and who was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of at least one year immediately preceding death.

Death Pension: VA provides pensions to low-income surviving spouses and unmarried children of deceased veterans with wartime service.  Dependents’ Educational Assistance: VA provides educational assistance to qualifying dependents as follows:

  1. The spouse or child of a service member or veteran who either died of a service-connected disability, or who has permanent and total service-connected disability, or who died while such a disability existed.
  2. The spouse or child of a service member listed for more than 90 days as currently Missing in Action (MIA), captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, or detained or interned by a foreign government or power.
  3. The spouse or child of a service member who is hospitalized or is receiving outpatient care or treatment for a disability that is determined to be totally and permanently disabling, incurred or aggravated due to active duty, and for which the service member is likely to be discharged from military service.
National Cemetery Administration
Headstones and Markers: Veterans, active duty service members, and retired Reservists and National Guard service members, are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker for their grave at any cemetery – national, State Veterans, or private. VA will deliver a headstone or marker at no cost, anywhere in the world. For eligible Veterans whose deaths occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, VA may provide a government headstone or marker even if the grave is already marked with a private one. Spouses and dependent children are eligible for a government headstone or marker only if they are buried in a national or State Veterans cemetery.

Burial Flags: VA will furnish a U.S. burial flag to memorialize:

  1. Veterans who served during wartime or after Jan. 31, 1955.
  2. Veterans who were entitled to retired pay for service in the Reserve or National Guard, or would have been entitled if over age 60.
  3. Members or former members of the Selected Reserve who served their initial obligation, or were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or died while a member of the Selected Reserve.
Military Funeral Honors: Upon request, DOD will provide military funeral honors consisting of folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “Taps.” A funeral honors detail consists of two or more uniformed members of the armed forces, with at least one member from the deceased’s branch of service.
Family members should inform their funeral director if they want military funeral honors. DOD maintains a toll-free number (1-877-MIL-HONR) for use by funeral directors only to request honors. VA can help arrange honors for burials at VA national cemeteries. Veteran’s service organizations or volunteer groups may help provide honors. For more information, visit www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/.