Veterans are often offered many perks by the VA and their local community, many of which they may not even be aware of. Some are offered to all Veterans; some to Veterans based on their rating levels. The most comprehensive lists can be found by contacting your local VA office because many benefits are state specific but here is a breakdown of many of the benefits veterans may be entitled to. Below is a listing of many of the benefits available based on the minimum rating required:
- Home loan guarantee
- Interest Rate Reduction Loans
- Mortgage Delinquency Assistance
- Life Insurance
- Veteran’s Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
- Serve Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI; must have a service-connected disability)
- VA Medical treatment:
- For any service connected disabilities regardless of the rating percentage at VAMC facilities
- Fee basis outpatient: for service connected treatment that may not be able to be treated at the local VAMC or for vets who cannot travel the distance to the nearest VAMC; these must be preauthorized by the VA
- Sensorineural aids; hearing aids, glasses, and contact lenses are available to veterans whether the conditions is service connected or not
- Long term nursing home care for any condition; all veterans enrolled in the VA health system are eligible for long term nursing home care; various rating levels determine levels of care available and payment coverage. For more details see VA Geriatric Care
- Clothing allowance; yearly monetary benefit to vets with a s/c condition that requires prosthetics or orthopedic appliances or topical medications that lead to additional wear and tear on clothing; no minimal rating required
- Beneficiary travel; reimbursement at a designated rate per mile for travel to and from a designated VA health facility with regards to your s/c disability
- Eligibility for home improvement and structural alteration home modification grant; available to vets with s/c disabilities or non s/c who require home improvement necessary for continuation of treatment. Eligibility requires a medical determination that improvement and structural altercations are necessary or appropriate for effective and economical treatment of the disability. No minimal rating required. For such things as lowering counters or expanding doorways for wheelchair-bound veterans.
- Burial and Funeral benefits; payment varies based on whether the death is service connected. For eligibility and requirements go to Death and Burial Benefits
- Beneficiary Financial Counseling, Will preparation, and Accelerated Benefits (for members with SGLI, TSGLI, FSGLI, and VGLI)
- Pension (eligibility requirements here)
- Survivor’s Pension (eligibility requirements here)
10% or higher Rated (all of the above plus):
- Education or training under VA Vocational Rehabilitation
30% or higher Rated (all of the above plus):
- Additional allowance for dependents
- Additional Aid and Attendance: Allowance for disabled spouse – vet receiving VA benefits who also has a disabled spouse and needs Aid and Attendance with Activities of Daily Living
50% Rated (all of the above plus):
- Concurrent retirement and disability pay – rated at least 50% and meet other criteria requirements
- Prosthetic Appliances, equipment, devices, and other durable medical equipment that is medically necessary.
- VA Medical treatment (all above plus):
- If S/C at 50% or more or are determined to be unemployable due to S/C disabilities, vet is qualified for treatment of any condition at a VAMC; also the vet is eligible for enrollment in VHA Priority group 1 where copayments for treatment or prescriptions are waived see: VHA Priority Group 1
100% Rated (all of the above plus):
- Expedited SSDI (must have a Permanent and Total disability rating in addition to 100%)
- Possible waiver of premiums for VA Life insurance – vets rated 100% , under age 65, can’t work
- VA Medical treatment (all above plus:
Permanent and Total Disability Rating (all of the above based on rating % plus):
- Health Care coverage for spouse under CHAMPVA – VA rating that has established a permanent and total rating, dependents may be entitled to health care through CHAMPVA
- Survivor and Dependents Education Allowance
Severely Disabled-100% with severe limitations (all of the above plus):
- Veterans mortgage life insurance (for Vets who receive SAH grants)
- Automobile Allowance to purchase or adapt a vehicle to accommodate the disability
State Benefits: Many states offer specific discounts or programs to veterans; check Veteran State Benefits to see which ones your specific state offers. These are usually not based on rating levels and often only require identification you are a veteran such as a DD-214. Some benefits that are prevalent in most states include:
- Educational discounts or free tuition at local universities
- Homeowners tax exemptions
- Veteran housing programs (assisted living, retirement villages)
- Long term nursing facilities
- Property tax exemptions
- Employment preferences
- DAV state license plates
- Free admission to state parks
- Discounts on hunting and fishing licenses
- Waiver of certain state fees such as tolls, parking, permits, business or drivers licenses, etc.
- Homeless Veterans programs
- Counseling, PTSD, and Wellness programs
There are also benefits specific to special groups such as Elderly Veterans, Female Veterans, Former Prisoners of War, Minority Veterans, and Incarcerated or Homeless Veterans. See the VA’s Special Groups page for more information. You can also check with your local VSO. As a Veteran, you deserve the benefits offered, but you can’t utilize them if you aren’t aware of them. Take some time to make yourself familiar with the benefits because even if you aren’t eligible for them now, you may be in the future.
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