Learn About Resources Available for Veterans

Retired U.S. service members can qualify for a number of useful benefits that are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). These programs are meant to assist returning veterans transition back to their civilian lives. The services offered include health insurance, career and education training and much more. Thus, if you are a returning service member, you will have many options and resources to turn to for assistance. 

One of the primary qualifying criteria that veterans must meet in order to be approved for any VA program is being discharged honorably from service. Additionally, you must have been on active duty for a certain amount of time. For some programs, only service members from particular branches of the military will be eligible such as the Air Force or Army. Read below to learn more about these programs and the benefits that you can receive from them if you qualify. 

Find Out About Assistance for Housing 

Veterans housing assistance programs enable retired service members to obtain home loans at special rates. With a VA home loan, you can renovate, refinance or build a home. These types of loans typically have better terms than traditional home loan options as they usually do not require a down payment. 

Basic VA home loan eligibility requirements specify that you must have received an honorable discharge from service and accumulated enough active service time while on duty. Application submissions are permitted online, by mail and in person at a Veteran Affairs office. In addition, you will likely be asked to submit other paperwork that verifies your service in the military and identity. 

Receiving a certificate of eligibility (COE) verifies that you meet certain requirements. This document must then be submitted to your lender. A COE can also be utilized by a surviving spouse to show proof of their relationship. However, spouses must satisfy other criteria as well before they can be approved for VA benefits.

Learn About Health Insurance

Various health coverage options are available for veterans. For example, former service members can obtain mental health care, dental services and vision exams. However, they must meet eligibility requirements before the VA will grant health care benefits. 

The status of your discharge and income are two essential components of eligibility. However, already holding insurance does not disqualify you from VA health coverage. Additionally, you may qualify for other health programs depending on your health status and household composition. While VA health insurance is meant to be affordable, many services require that you contribute a copayment. 

You can apply for health coverage from the VA in person, through an online portal or by telephone. If you are deemed eligible, you will receive your medical identification card that can be used at various medical facilities. However, your benefits may be denied. If that is that the case, then you can submit an appeal. 

About Compensation for Disability

Veterans who developed disabilities through military service may qualify for disability compensation.  Their discharge type, disability and income are all considered when they apply for benefits. 

Additionally, their disability must be included on the list of qualifying conditions. If it is not then they can review a list of special claims. More than one type of compensation is available. This includes Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) and Survivor and Dependent Compensation (DIC).

If you are disabled and believe that you might qualify for disability benefits, then you can apply at a VA office, by phone or online. It may take several weeks for your claim to be processed after you submit your application. This is because VA representatives must carefully review your case and analyze examination reports and medical documents. If you are determined to be ineligible but disagree with the decision, then you can request an appeal. 

What is a Pension?

Veterans who meet the age, income, net worth and disability requirements of the Veterans Pension program will be able to receive a monthly pension payment. Moreover, applicants must have served on active duty during an eligible time of war. And, as is required for all veterans benefits programs, you must have earned an honorable discharge to considered for benefits. 

Applications for pension are accepted at VA office branches, through mail delivery and online. When completing your application forms, having certain documents nearby will help you fill in your information quickly and accurately. Some documents that will help you include:

  • Bank statements.
  • Social Security Number (SSN).
  • Medical records.
  • Work contracts.

Your submitted application will be processed by the Fully Developed Claim (FDC). Then, the Department of Veterans Affairs will make its decision based on priority. Because of this, the length of time that it will take to receive your notice of approval or denial will vary. However, the decision will be delivered to you in the mail. 

If you are a retired service member and need daily assistance in the home for basic tasks, you may be able to qualify for additional benefits from the pension program. You may qualify for the Aid and Attendance program if that is the case. 

Learn About Education Resources

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits for veterans seeking work or education opportunities. Many eligible retired service members utilize the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and obtain a traditional four-year university education. Veterans who served after September 9, 2001, for a minimum of 90 days are eligible for this program. They will receive financial aid to cover the costs of tuition, housing and other education essentials. 

The application is available online. However, you can also access it at a VA office or by mail. After you are approved for benefits, you will be able to view your benefit statements online. However, the exact amount that you receive will depend on your specific situation. In addition to the amount of your GI Bill award, your virtual statements will also display how much you have remaining. 

If you need assistance with finding employment or training programs, you can find it through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Through this program, veterans can participate in workshops that teach them about opportunities that are based on their interests. In addition, both the Department of Labor and the Department of Defense partner with the VA to provide work opportunities to veterans.