Federal Benefits

The following are benefits provided by the Federal Government of the United States.

Compensation, Pension, Burial

Disability Benefits

There are two disability programs administered by the VA. Both pay monthly benefits to disabled veterans.
There is no deadline for applying for benefits!

Disability Compensation: You may be eligible to receive monetary compensation if you are at least 10% disabled as a result of your military service. Special categories of Presumptive Compensation Eligibility include:

  • Veterans exposed to Agent Orange with Type II Diabetes, Ischemic Heart, Parkinson’s, Hairy Cell Leukemia
  • Veterans exposed to Agent Orange with Prostate Cancer or any of the other cancer/conditions
  • Veterans exposed to radiation
  • Veterans of the Persian Gulf

Pension: You may be eligible for a monthly pension if you are a wartime veteran with limited income, and you are no longer able to work or are age 65 or older. There are three levels of pension benefits:

  • Basic Pension—paid when medical bills for the Veteran and/or spouse bring income levels below the guideline.
  • Housebound—higher levels of disability, generally unable to leave home or yard without some assistance.
  • Aid & Attendance—highest level of pension where the Veteran/widow is in nursing home or in the need of the aid and attendance of another person to perform normal daily activities.

Quick Tip: if you are unsure if you meet all criteria, you should go head and file an application. VA will determine if you are eligible and notify you.

Burial Benefits

The VA offers certain benefits and services to honor our Nation’s deceased veterans. There is no time limit for claiming reimbursement of burial expenses for a service-related death. In other cases, claims must be filed within 2 years of the veteran’s burial.

  • Headstones and Markers: The VA will furnish a monument to mark the grave of an eligible veteran
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC): VA can provide a PMC to eligible recipients
  • Burial Flag: The VA will provide an American flag to drape an eligible veteran’s casket
  • Reimbursement of Burial Expenses: Generally, the VA will pay a burial allowance of up to $2,000 for veterans who die of service-connected conditions. The VA will pay $300 for burial and funeral expenses and $300 plot allowance for other service-connected veterans.
  • Burial in the VA National Cemetery: Most veterans and some dependents can be buried in a VAnational cemetery.

Dependents’ & Survivor’s Benefits

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is payable to certain survivors of:

  • Service members who died on active duty
  • Veterans who died from service-related disabilities
  • Certain veterans who were being paid 100% VA disability compensation at time of death

Death Pension is payable to some surviving spouses and children of deceased wartime veterans based on financial need. There is no time limit to apply.

VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) shares the cost of medical services for eligible dependents and survivors of certain veterans. There is no time limit to apply.

Dependents & Survivors Education & Training
Some family members of disabled or deceased veterans are eligible for education and training benefits. Spouses and surviving spouses have 10 years from the date VA first finds them eligible, and surviving spouses of service members who died while on active duty have 20 years. Children are eligible from age 18 to 26. These time limits can sometimes be extended.

Education & Training

VA pays benefits to eligible veterans, reservists, and active duty service members while they are in an approved education or training program. Generally, veterans have 10 years from the date they were last released from active duty to use their education and training benefits; and Reserve and National Guard members have 14 years from the date they became eligible for the program unless they leave the Selected Reserves before completing their obligation. Based on the type of military service, programs include:

  • Active Duty Service: Persons who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, are generally eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 30). Those who entered active duty for the first time after December 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, are generally eligible under the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP).

Reserve/Guard Service: Benefits are available to Reserve and National Guard members under (a) the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 1606) who signed a six-year commitment with a reserve unit after June 30, 1985, and remain actively drilling and in good standing in their unit, and (b) the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) (Chapter 1607) who are activated under Federal authority for a contingency operation and served 90 continuous days or more after September 11, 2001.

Post 9/11 GI BillMontgomery GI Bill
Survivors’ & Dependents’ Educational Assistance

Health & Home

Health Care

VA provides a number of health care services including:

  • Hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy, and prosthetic services
  • Domiciliary, nursing home, and community-based residential care
  • Sexual trauma counseling
  • Specialized health care for women veterans
  • Health and rehabilitation programs for homeless veterans
  • Readjustment counseling
  • Alcohol and drug dependency treatment
  • Medical evaluation for disorders associated with military service in the Gulf War, or exposure to Agent Orange, radiation, and other environmental hazards
  • Combat Veterans will be provided free medical care by the VA for any illness possibly associated with service during a period of hostility currently for five years from the veteran’s release from active duty.

Home Loans

There are a number of home loan services available to eligible veterans, some military personnel, and certain spouses. There is no time limit for a VA home loan, except for eligible reservists.

  • Guaranteed Loans: Guarantees a portion of a loan from a private lender to help you buy a home, or certain types of condominiums. Also guarantees loans for building, repairing, and improving homes.
  • Refinancing Loans: If you have a VA mortgage, you may be eligible for assistance with refinancing a loan at a lower interest rate. You may also refinance a non-VA loan.
  • Special Grants: Certain disabled veterans and military personnel can receive grants to adapt or acquire housing suitable for their needs

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

Veterans with service-connected disabilities may be eligible for assistance with finding and keeping suitable employment. For veterans with serious service-connected disabilities, the VA also offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible. You generally have 12 years from the date you are notified in writing that you have at least a 20% rating for a service-connected disability or 10% with a serious employment handicap.

  • Job Search: Assistance in finding and maintaining suitable employment
  • Vocational Evaluation: An evaluation of abilities, skills, interests, and needs
  • Career Exploration: Vocational counseling and planning
  • Vocational Training: If needed, training as on-the-job and non-paid work experience
  • Educational Training: If needed, educational training to accomplish the rehabilitation goal
  • Rehabilitation Service: Supportive rehabilitation and counseling services

Life Insurance

Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)
SGIL is a low-cost term life insurance for service members and reservists. Coverage of up to $400,000 begins when you enter the service. Generally, it expires 120 days after you leave the service.

  • Traumatic SGLI is automatically included and provides for payment of up to $100,000 for service members who lose limbs or incur other serious injuries
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a renewable term life insurance for veterans who want to convert their SGLI up to an amount not to exceed the coverage had when separated from service. Veterans must apply within one year from separation from service.
  • Service Disabled Veterans Insurance (RH Insurance) is for service-connected veterans with coverage of $10,000. Veterans may be eligible for a $20,000 supplemental policy of he/she is totally disabled. Veterans must apply for RH within two years of being rated service connected by VA.