The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide range of benefits to wounded, ill and injured Veterans and their Families/Caregivers. Some of these benefits are also available to service members still on active duty.
Veterans who serve at least 90 days of active duty and are honorably discharged can receive Montgomery GI Bill benefits, which provide help with education and training costs. Montgomery GI Bill benefits expire after 10 years.
Veterans who served after Sept 11, 2001 may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In order for Veterans to receive additional benefits covered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Veterans must convert their Montgomery GI Bill to the Post-9/11 GI Bill before the 10 year deadline. You must use your 36 months of benefits within 15 years of your discharge date.
For additional information on the Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill, instructions on how to convert your GI Bill, and expirations, visit the GI Bill section of the VA website.
Veterans can receive a special allowance for individual tutoring if they are participating in a postsecondary program and are enrolled half time or more. To qualify, Veterans must have a deﬁciency in a subject, making the tutoring necessary. The school must certify the tutor’s qualiﬁcations and the hours of tutoring. If eligible, Veterans can receive a maximum monthly payment of $100. The maximum total beneﬁt is $1,200. The entitlement for tutorial assistance is not charged.
To apply, complete VA Form 22-1990t Application for Individualized Tutorial Assistance.
The following are the VA’s rules for handling GI Bill benefits for classes and instances where you must repay the VA:
If a Veteran has at least a 10 percent service-connected disability, he or she can obtain a Veterans preference letter from the VA Regional Office to help get a Federal job. Call the VA benefits line at (800) 827-1000 to request one or go to eBenefits.va.gov.
If a Veteran is 100 percent totally and permanently disabled, the spouse can request a Veterans preference letter for themselves. Contact the VA benefits line at: (800) 827-1000 or visit eBenefits.va.gov for additional information.
The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program is designed to help get Veterans into gainful employment and will pay for a degree if that is what is needed. The Vocational Rehabilitation case manager will provide ongoing counseling and assistance, and coordinate services such as tutorial assistance, training in job-seeking skills, medical and dental referrals, adjustment counseling, payment of training allowance, if applicable, and other services to help the Veteran achieve rehabilitation. Veterans need at least a 10 percent VA disability rating. For additional information on VR&E, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/index.asp.
Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are so severe they are currently unable to pursue an employment goal may qualify for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment – Independent Living program.The Independent Living program helps to make sure that each eligible Veteran is able, to the maximum extent possible, live independently and participate in Family and community life, increasing their potential to return to work. Services may include the following:
To apply, go to Veterans On-Line Application (VONAPP) and fill out the Vocational Rehab Form 28-1900. Following form submission, a counselor will call to set up an appointment. For additional information, call (855) 829-6636.
Veterans in the medical board process and who were discharged within one year are eligible for Chapter 36 Vocational Counseling. Vocational Counseling will:
Veterans using their GI Bill are eligible for the Work-Study program. This program provides part-time employment to students receiving VA education benefits who attend school three-quarter time or more. Services performed under a VA Work-Study program must be related to VA work. A student can work at any VA facility, a hospital, a Regional Office, a Veteran Center, or even at the school he or she is attending to help fellow Veteran students. Veterans are paid either the State or Federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. For additional information, visit the VA website.
If a VA doctor deems a Veteran unable to work and the Veteran has a disability rating of at least 60 percent, they may be eligible to receive VA pay at the 100 percent level. Veterans will need the VA doctor to put it in writing that they are unemployable.
It may be best for you to request assistance from a Veteran Service Officer to help you apply for this benefit.
If interested in volunteering at the VA, contact the VA Voluntary Services Office.
My HealtheVet’s free, online Personal Health Record is available 24/7, wherever there is Internet access. Those with an upgraded account (obtained by completing the one-time In-Person Authentication process) can:
For additional information, visit My HealtheVet’s website.
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their Families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text message. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24/7 every day of the year.
Veterans should speak with their VA primary care physician (PCP) for PTSD treatment options and programs. For additional information on PTSD treatment options, visit the VA National Center for PTSD or to find a PTSD program near you, access the VA PTSD Program Locator.
The Vet Center is funded by the VA, but is a separate entity that can provide one-on-one PTSD readjustment counseling. There are professionals to help you deal with readjustment or talk through PTSD issues. Click here to find your nearest counseling location or to contact the 24/7 Vet Center Combat Call Center.
The Vet Center can provide one-on-one counseling for spouses. Both the Veteran and their spouse will have to go to the intake appointment together. At the end of the intake, the counselor will suggest couples counseling.
Veterans who have a substance abuse problem and want help can visit their nearest substance use program facility or contact their nearest Vet Center for additional options.
Veterans who are dealing with insomnia and are going through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may access a free app called the CBT-I Coach. For additional information, visit the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) section of the VA’s website.
The Women Veterans’ Hotline call center is setup to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their Families and Caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans. The hotline can be reached at: (855) 829-6636.
The week-long National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic features adaptive surfing, sailing, cycling (hand and tandem), track and field events and kayaking. Veterans come from all over the country with a variety of injuries, ranging from traumatic brain injury and polytrauma, to spinal cord injury or loss of limb.
The VA holds annual Winter Sports clinics. The five-day clinic consists of downhill and cross-country ski lessons, a challenge race, adaptive sports workshops and educational classes, plus sponsored and self-directed alternate activities such as scuba diving, sled hockey, a climbing wall, snowmobiling and other activities. More than 200 certified ski instructors for the disabled and several current and former members of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team serve as ski instructors to meet the unique needs of the participants.
The VA sponsors annual wheelchair games in the summer. The following events are held: air guns, archery, basketball, bowling, field events, handcycling, a motorized wheelchair rally, nine-ball, power soccer, quad rugby, slalom, softball, swimming, table tennis, track, trapshooting and weightlifting.
The Valor Games brings together disabled Veterans and wounded, ill and injured service members and engages them in three days of Paralympic sport competition. The event celebrates sport as a means of empowering individuals and strengthening community. Beyond competition, the Valor Games connects athletes with ongoing sports opportunities and resources in their local communities. Events include: air guns, basketball, seated volleyball, table tennis, fencing, cycling, kayaking, and power lifting.
The VA has an annual TEE Tournament in September for the blind and other eligible Veterans to participate in adaptive golf and bowling.
The VA Creative Arts Festival promotes rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. The local competitions are held in January and February of every year and the national competition is usually in October. The divisions are:
For Veterans eligible to compete on the US Paralympic team, the VA will give a subsistence allowance if selected to compete for a slot. The allowance is around $570 a month per Veteran plus extra for each dependent.
Disability Compensation is 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. For additional information, visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/.
Some of the death benefits available for Families of deceased service members are:
Visit the VA website or access the “Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors Guide” for full details.
A service member is eligible to receive an accelerated benefit if he/she or a covered spouse has a valid written prognosis from a physician of nine months or less to live. Only the insured member may apply for an Accelerated Benefit. The amount of Accelerated Benefit available to a member is up to 50 percent of the face value of the member's insurance coverage. To apply for this benefit, complete the claim for accelerated benefits form and mail to:
Office of Service members' Group Life Insurance
80 Livingston Avenue
Roseland, NJ 07068-1733
VA compensation is available for the Families of Veterans who pass away from a service-connected disability. Currently, Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP) is reduced dollar-for-dollar according to the amount of DIC that is given.
To apply for DIC, complete a VA Form 21-534 Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Death Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child and mail to the regional VA office.
The Chapter 35 Education Benefits for Dependents program is only for Veterans declared by the VA as 100 percent permanent and totally disabled. This program provides 45 months of education benefits to every dependent. Spouses have ten years to use the benefits after the VA rating decision and children must use it between ages 18 and 26. For additional information, visit the VA’s website.
If someone that lives with an Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veteran and helps the Veteran accomplish activities of daily living, that person may be eligible for the VA Caregiver program, which can provide basic training, a monthly stipend, counseling and other services. To apply, you must submit a VA Form 10-10CG. Visit http://www.caregiver.va.gov for additional details.
The VA Caregiver Support Line also provides licensed and caring professionals that can:
The VA and DoD have created a free online parenting course. Topics include:
Veterans are eligible for a VA loan. In most cases, there is no down payment and the closing costs are included in the loan amount. Veterans can also refinance their homes through the VA Home Loan Guaranty program. The Certificate of Eligibility is available through the eBenefits website or Veterans may apply with a VA Form 26-1880.
Veterans can add the VA funding fee and up to $6,000 of energy efficient modifications to the home into the home loan. For additional information, visit the VA website.
Veterans who have a VA loan on their house and have to short sale it or do a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, the VA has authorized mortgage servicers to give $1,500 to the Veteran to relocate.
Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is mortgage protection insurance that can help families of severely disabled service members or Veterans pay off a home mortgage in the event of their death. The Veteran must have used a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant from the VA to be eligible for this benefit. To apply, complete a VA Form 29-8636.
The VA has a hotline to provide support and resources for Veterans in danger of being homeless or those who are already homeless. The hotline can be reached at (877) 424-3838 or visit http://www.va.gov/homeless/nationalcallcenter.asp.
For Veterans traveling or living overseas, the VA can provide benefits services such as disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment and burial. Non-service connected benefits may be excluded. If you are traveling to the following countries, call (877) 345-8179:
Veterans in need of a ride to VA medical appointments may have a nearby VA Center provide transportation. Contact your nearest facility to see if they offer this service.
Veterans with the following disabilities many receive a one-time automobile grant of up to $18,900 from the VA paid directly to the dealer:
The VA will pay for adaptive equipment and installation of equipment for Veterans who need this equipment in order to drive their vehicle. The VA will also pay for any repairs to the equipment and replacement and re-installation of new equipment. They will do this for up to two of your vehicles. There is a rule that says only two cars can be adapted every four years. So if you apply this benefit to two cars and then trade one car in two years later, the VA will not adapt the third car until four years have passed since the first car was adapted.
If you need these services, you must have a prosthetics consult with your VA primary care physician, which can be requested through a secure email using My HealtheVet. For additional information, speak with a Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service (PSAS) representative.
100 percent total and permanently disabled Veterans can get up to $30,000 of life insurance for free. Visit the insurance section of the VA website for additional details.
There is an option to convert to a commercial insurance policy under some conditions. This applies to those covered under Service members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs, as well as spouses covered under Family Service members Group Life Insurance (FSGLI).
VA Veterans Court representatives may be able to work with the local court system to modify or reduce punishments for Veterans in exchange for rehabilitation through the VA treatment systems. For additional information, contact a local representative.
The clothing allowance reimburses Veterans if clothing gets permanently damaged by a prosthetic or orthopedic appliance, or by a prescribed medication for skin.
Submit VA Form 10-8678, Application for Annual Clothing Allowance, to the prosthetic representative at any VA medical center. Applications are collected throughout the year and held until the closing date of August 1st. They are then processed, and Veterans will receive payments between September 1st and October 31st.