The men and women who served the country in the United States Armed Forces, as well as their surviving dependents, are owed a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid. Although there is no way to truly repay veterans and their dependents for the sacrifices they have made, the government does try to acknowledge that sacrifice by providing a number of veterans benefits. Though you may already know about many of the benefits to which you are entitled, a Hartford veterans aid planning attorney explains some basic information regarding several of the most common benefits.
What Benefits Might You Be Entitled to As a Veteran, Survivor, or Dependent?
- Pension — Pension is a needs-based benefit for wartime Veterans with limited or no income who are age 65 or older or who have a permanent and total non-service-connected disability.
- Veterans Aid and Attendance Program — The Veteran’s Aid & Attendance (VA&A) program is intended to provide additional monetary assistance above and beyond that provided by the VA pension program. The additional assistance is aimed at helping veterans who need help with daily tasks of living, such as dressing, bathing, or cooking by providing the financial resources to hire someone to help.
- Disability Benefits — Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service may be eligible to receive tax-free monthly benefits. To be eligible for disability benefits, you must show:
- You have a current physical or mental disability.
- You had an injury or disease in service or experienced an event in service that caused or aggravated an injury or disease.
- There is a link between your current disability and the event, injury, or disease in military service.
- The amount of your disability benefits will depend on several factors, including the extent of your disability – rated from 0 to 100 in increments of 10 — and your household members (spouse and/or dependents) at the time of your disability rating.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) — Provides monthly benefits to surviving spouses, dependent children, or parents in recognition of the economic loss caused by a Servicemember’s death during military service, or by the death of a Veteran as a result of a service-connected disability. You can find out if you are eligible for the DIC program on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
- Health Care — Veterans, and their families, have access to excellent health care services. To be eligible you must:
- Have served in the active military, naval, or air service and separated under any conditions other than dishonorable.
- If you enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, you most likely will be required to have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty. This includes current and former members of the Reserve or National Guard called to active duty by a federal order.
- Along with providing basic preventative care and emergency care, veterans may also be eligible for a wide variety of specialty health care programs, such as:
- Inpatient and hospitalization benefits
- Mental health care
- Geriatrics and Extended Care Services
- Home health care
- Home telehealth
- Homeless services
- In addition, the VA also offers a number of non-medical services aimed at maximizing access to health care services or supporting those services. For example:
- Beneficiary Travel
- My HealtheVet
- Rural Health
- Transplant Services
- VA Point of Service (VPS)
- Veterans Canteen Service
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Veteran Transportation Services
- Education and Training — Several programs help veterans and their dependents to further their education at little, or no, cost. Among the programs offered are:
- Post-9/11 GI Bill®
- Yellow Ribbon Program to help pay tuition costs for private, out-of-state, or graduate school.
- Montgomery GI Bill®
- Reserve Educational Assistance Program
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- Home Loans — There are several loan programs that provide low-interest rate financing for veterans, and surviving spouses, who wish to purchase, or refinance, a home. The three main programs include:
- VA Purchase Loans
- Cash-Out Refinance Loans
- Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans
- VA Native American Direct Loan (NADL) – a program for Native American Veterans who wish to purchase a home on tribal lands
- Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant program — SAH grants help Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. SAH grants can be used in one of the following ways:
- Construct a specially adapted home on land to be acquired
- Build a home on land already owned if it is suitable for specially adapted housing
- Remodel an existing home if it can be made suitable for specially adapted housing
- Apply the grant against the unpaid principal mortgage balance of an adapted home already acquired without the assistance of a VA grant
How to Apply
To start the application process for any of your veteran benefits, navigate to the “Applying for Benefits” page on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Contact a Hartford Veterans Aid Planning Attorney
For more information, please join us for a FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about benefits you may be entitled to as a veteran, contact the experienced Hartford veterans aid planning attorneys at Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates, P.C. by calling (860) 548-1000 to schedule an appointment.