22 Veterans Benefits You May Not Know
Many veterans know about the basic health care and education benefits available to them through the Department of Veterans Affairs: Tricare and the GI Bill.
While these benefits alone are substantial, numerous other programs help provide more benefits to veterans and their families. Even within the health care and education programs are little-known benefits to improve the lives of veterans and help ease the financial burden of medical care or other expenses.
Long-term care is expensive, but often necessary to provide care for aging relatives. Through the Aid and Attendance program, many veterans are eligible to receive money to cover the cost of nursing homes, assisted living programs and other long-term care options. With the ability for couples to receive up to $25,020 a year, the Aid & Attendance benefit will help take care of a significant portion of long-term care costs. Surviving spouses of veterans are also eligible to receive up to $13,560 a year to cover their long-term care costs.
Should you choose to take care of an ailing Veteran at home, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a caregiver support program. While this program does not offer any monetary support to caregivers, they are provided with a free support line and a caregiver support coordinator to help navigate military benefits and the stress of care giving.
When a veteran dies, families have a few unique benefits available to them. A U.S. flag may be requested to drape over the casket and families may request a Presidential Memorial Certificate to honor the deceased loved ones service. The Department of Veterans Affairs also provides free headstones or grave markers.
Non-College Degree Programs/Certificates
In addition to receiving credits to use towards a college degree, the GI Bill is available for training certification courses or other vocational training programs such as HVAC repair, truck driving, emergency medical training, and barber/beautician school. This benefit will work well for veterans who wish to change careers or pursue a career path that does not require a college degree. Other non-college degree programs are available through the VET TEC program which offers “accelerated training in coding bootcamps” or similar information science programs, software training, etc. Lastly, there are several free it certifications available to veterans.
Transferring GI Bill® Credits
Unused credits through the GI Bill may be transferred to spouses and dependents of veterans. There are service limits required to transfer the benefits.
Free Tax Preparation
Veterans and their family have access to free tax preparation services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices on military bases. The individuals who work in the offices have expertise working with the complicated nature of military-related tax issues.
Veterans having trouble making their mortgage payments are eligible for repayment assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Options for help include special repayment plans, loan forbearance and loan modification programs. Additional benefits are available for veterans with VA loans and for homeless veterans.
The VA maintains a list of homes serviced by VA loans that have gone into foreclosures. Veterans have the ability to search the list of VA acquired properties and purchase homes at a discount. You do not have to be a veteran to search the properties, but all properties qualify for VA financing.
American Corporate Partners
American Corporate Partners connects veterans with top companies to help them obtain a job after their time of service. Along with being connected to job opportunities, veterans have the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring and other career development services.
Certificate of Eligibility for a VA-backed home loan
Review the requirements for getting a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home. Open to service members and Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
Life insurance for you and your family
Find out if you qualify for and how to manage your SGLI coverage, and learn about coverage options for you and your family after separation or retirement.
Open to service members and Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve)
If you have an illness or injury that you believe was caused—or made worse—by your service, learn how to file a disability claim through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program. This may help speed up your claim so you can get your benefits sooner. You'll need to file 180 to 90 days before separation. Open to active-duty service members, Guard members, and Reservists.
Converting your life insurance after separation
Find out how to convert your SGLI coverage to a Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) or commercial policy. Learn about other options for coverage if you have service-connected disabilities. In some cases, you must act within 120 days of separation to ensure no lapse in coverage. Open to service members and Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
Educational and career counseling
Get support transitioning to a civilian career with free educational and career counseling. You can use this benefit if you're leaving active service soon, have been discharged within the past year, or are a Veteran or dependent who is eligible for VA education benefits. Open to active-duty service members and Veterans only.
Active-duty service members and VA health care
Learn about your health care options after separation or retirement and how to apply for VA health care when you receive your separation or retirement orders. If you're a combat Veteran, apply right away to take advantage of 5 years of enhanced eligibility. Open to active-duty service members and Veterans only.
Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, find out how to apply for VR&E services. You can apply up to 12 years from when you receive your notice of separation or your first VA disability rating. Open to service members and Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time. Open to Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
Support for Veteran-owned small businesses
If you served on active duty, register to do business with VA and get support for your Veteran-owned small business. If you have a service-connected disability related to active-duty service or training, you may qualify to register as a service-disabled Veteran-owned small business. Open to Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
Veterans Pension program
If you served on active duty during wartime, are at least 65 years old or have a service-connected disability, and have limited or no income, find out if you qualify for Veterans Pension benefits. Open to active-duty Veterans only.
Aid and attendance or housebound allowance
If you need help with your daily activities or you’re housebound, check whether you're eligible to have increased aid added to your monthly Veterans Pension payments. Open to active-duty Veterans only.
Disability housing grants
If you have a service-connected disability, find out how to apply for a housing grant to make changes to your home so you can live more independently. Open to Veterans (active duty, Guard, and Reserve).
Pre-need eligibility determination for burial in a VA national cemetery
Apply for a pre-need eligibility decision letter to confirm that you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery. This can help you pre-plan, and it can make the process easier for your family members in their time of need. Open to active-duty Veterans only.