Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions.
Do you have disabilities resulting from a disease or injury related to your military service? You may be eligible for monthly benefits, no matter when or where you served.
VA disability compensation provides monthly benefits to Veterans in recognition of the effects of disabilities, diseases, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service. The program also provides monthly payments to surviving spouses, dependent children, and dependent parents in recognition of the economic loss caused by a Veteran’s death during military service or, after discharge from military service, as a result of a service-connected disability. A summary of VA’s disability compensation programs is below.
A tax-free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. The benefit amount is graduated according to the degree of the Veteran’s disability on a scale from 10 percent to 100 percent (in increments of 10 percent). Compensation may also be paid for disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
DIC is a tax-free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or to survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. Parents DIC is an income-based benefit for parents who were financially dependent on of a Servicemember or Veteran who died from a service-related cause.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)
SMC is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person.
Claims Based on Special Circumstances
Veterans may be eligible for other types of disability compensation once a disability has been determined to be service connected. Special VA disability compensation programs include: individual unemployability, automobile allowance, clothing allowance, prestabilization, hospitalization, convalescence, dental, and birth defects.
The VA can help you cover the cost of advancing your education and skills. Some programs may pay for tuition, housing, training, and other costs.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD)
Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)
Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP)
Post-Vietnam Era Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
VOW to Hire Heroes – Veterans Retraining Assistance Program
The VA has over 1,700 sites of care and serve 8.76 million Veterans each year. With VA health care, you’re covered for regular checkups with your primary care provider and appointments with specialists (like cardiologists, gynecologists, and mental health providers). You can access Veterans health care services like home health and geriatric (elder) care, and you can get medical equipment, prosthetics, and prescriptions. Find out how to apply for and manage the health care benefits you’ve earned.
If you qualify for VA health care, you’ll receive coverage for the services you need to help you get—and stay—healthy. Learn more about your health care benefits.
What care and services does VA health care cover?
Each Veteran’s medical benefits package is unique. Yours will include care and services to help:
- Treat illnesses and injuries
- Prevent future health problems
- Improve your ability to function
- Enhance your quality of life
All Veterans receive coverage for most care and services, but only some will qualify for added benefits like dental care. The full list of your covered benefits depends on:
- Your priority group, and
- The advice of your VA primary care provider (your main doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant), and
- The medical standards for treating any health conditions you may have
You should also know that being signed up for VA health care meets your Affordable Care Act (ACA) health coverage requirement of having “minimum essential health coverage.”
The VA helps Service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. You can also apply for specially adapted housing based on special circumstances.
VA direct and VA-backed Veterans home loans can help Veterans, service members, and their survivors to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home. You’ll still need to have the required credit and income for the loan amount you want to borrow. But a Veterans home loan may offer better terms than with a traditional loan from a private bank, mortgage company, or credit union. For example, nearly 90% of VA-backed loans are made with no down payment. Learn about our different loan programs—and how to apply.
The VA offers many insurance options for Veterans. We invite you to explore the various options for securing your and your family’s future.
VA offers several types of insurance, including:
- Comprehensive medical insurance – for more information, visit the Health benefits page;
- Group life insurance programs that provide financial security for Service members (SGLI), Veterans (VGLI), and their families (FSGLI);
- Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI), which can provide mortgage protection for families of severely disabled Service members or Veterans; and
- Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI), a life insurance benefit for Veterans who have service-connected disabilities but who are otherwise in good health.
If you are a low-income, wartime period Veteran who meets certain age or disability requirements – or if you are a surviving family member of a Veteran who meets the criteria – you may be eligible to receive tax-free, supplemental income.
The Veterans Pension program provides monthly payments to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements, and who have income and net worth within certain limits. Find out if you’re eligible for this benefit.
Am I eligible for Veterans Pension benefits from VA?
If you meet the VA pension eligibility requirements listed below, you may be eligible for the Veterans Pension program.
Both of these must be true:
- You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse.
And at least one of these must be true about your service. You:
- Started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- Started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
- Were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months
And at least one of these must be true. You:
- Are at least 65 years old, or
- Have a permanent and total disability, or
- Are a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability, or
- Are getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
How do I apply?
You can apply online right now.
ORGANIZATIONS HELPING VETERANS
4Vets4Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing vital assistance and support to Disabled American Veterans in order to help them overcome their injuries and re-establish themselves as successful productive members of society.
Help.org – While other segments of the population might turn to substance abuse for a variety of reasons, veterans often turn to substances like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs when suffering from difficulties like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and homelessness.
Birch Gold Group – A lot of the resources here are geared towards helping veterans minimize debt and maximize savings so that they are well-positioned for retirement.
Annuity.org – Find out what benefits are available to you and how eligibility is determined. By combining veterans benefits with Social Security income, savings plans and annuities you will be one step closer to handling your future expenses.