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Veterans of the U.S. Armed Services are eligible for a broad array of benefits, from pensions and healthcare to home loans and educational assistance. All programs are administered by the federal government's Department of Veterans Affairs [formerly the Veteran's Administration (VA)].

Almost all states also provide veterans' and veterans' survivor benefits.

Help is available for members of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard  who are denied benefits or entitlements.

For additional information, including how to obtain an overview of veterans benefits, see:

Who Is Eligible For Veterans Benefits?

To qualify for Veterans benefits, in addition to meeting the specific requirements of each benefit, you must:

  • Have served on active duty (full time service) in one of the following:
    • Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard.
    • Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) or Women's Air Service Pilots (WASP).
    • Commissioned Officer Corps of the Public Health Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, formerly the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
    • In some circumstances, served during wartime with the Merchant Marine or Flying Tigers OR
  • Served on "Active Duty for Training" which means called to full-time duty while a member of the National Guard or Reserve Corps.

Generally, any length of time on active duty will qualify a veteran for benefits with some exceptions that are noted below.

Bad conduct, dishonorable, less than honorable or undesirable military discharges which may prevent eligibility for VA medical care, pensions, compensation or other benefits can be changed by applying to the appropriate military service's discharge review board. To learn more, see: offsite link 

If there is a question whether you are eligible, contact the Enrollment Coordinator at your local VA health care facility. To find the nearest facility, go to the VA's website offsite link. .

What Benefits Are Available For Veterans?

NOTE: For a membership fee, the website:VetsHQ offsite link(created by a web tech firm) provides a list of all veterans benefits to which you may be entitled. VetsHQ has also partnered with certified veterans service officers to help present your claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Benefits available to veterans include the following:

Disability Benefits: To learn more, see Disablility Compensation

Health Coverage: To learn more, see: Veterans' Health Coverage

Life Insurance: Available through Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) for active members and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI) which can be obtained by converting SGLI coverage or can be obtained by certain members of the Initial Ready Reserve and Inactive National Guard.

SGLI and VGLI are issued on a "Guarantee issue" basis which means that you can apply for this insurance even after you've been diagnosed with a health condition provided you meet the other eligibility requirements. For more information, call: 800.669.8477.

Specially Adapted Homes: VA may grant payment of a portion of the cost toward building, buying or remodeling homes to better accommodate a veteran's physical limitations.

Modification of Automobiles: Grants are also available to modify an auto to accommodate physical limitations.

Clothing Allowance: When needed to accommodate prosthetic or orthopedic appliances.

Educational Funding: Provides money to attend college and other vocational training.

Vocational Rehabilitation to help veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find and keep suitable employment.  For veterans with serious service-connected disabilities, VA also offers services to improve ability to live as independently as possible.

Home Loan Guarantees for a part of a loan from a private lender to help purchase a home, some lots or condominiums. The VA also guarantees loans for building, repairing and improving homes, as well as refinancing.

Burial Benefits including grave markers, burial flags and reimbursement of burial expenses ranging from $300 to $2,000. For more information, see offsite link or call: 800.697.6947 

How Do I Enroll For VA Benefits?

You may apply for the health plan and life insurance and some other VA benefits:

  • On line at offsite link which is the VA Home Page.
  • At VA Regional Offices and Veterans Centers located in cities throughout the country. offsite link contains a locator to help you find the nearest VA facility or office. Alternatively, look in your phone directory under U.S. Government Offices for the office nearest you.

At any VA medical facility for the VA health plan. However, unless you are a member of one of the groups that are not required to enroll, you will not be able to receive medical treatment immediately. Veterans who seek treatment for a compensable condition during the twelve month period following discharge are not required to enroll in health benefits. 

What Should I Take With Me When I Enroll?

If you are a veteran:

  • Discharge papers.
  • If the benefit for which you are enrolling has an income and/or asset means test, , take proof of current income and assets.

If you are a spouse:

  • Take the veteran's discharge papers
  • The original or a certified copy of a marriage certificate
  • If eligibility requires low income and net worth, take proof such as wage and tax records.

If you are a dependent:

  • Take the veteran's discharge papers
  • Your birth certificate
  • If eligibility requires low income and net worth, take proof such as wage and tax records.

If you need to obtain copies of military records, go to offsite link. You can obtain form SF180 to request records at: offsite link

Help With Benefits/Entitlements: Navy, Marines & Coast Guard

Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) can assist veterans of the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard in obtaining benefits/entitlements that have been denied, such as medical medical services or disability benefits. FRA also represents members on capital hill to safeguard the pay, benefits, and entitlements of the active duty, reserve, and retired members of the Sea Services. Annual membership fee is $25. There is no additional cost for services. To learn more, see:, Tel: 703.683.1400 

For More Information

For an overview of benefits for Veterans, dependents and survivors, see a copy of the booklet: Federal Benefits For Veterans Dependents and Survivors 2012 Edition. You can see a copy online at: .

Also see the following:

  • offsite link
  • The VA has counselors at its offices available to answer your questions about VA programs and tell you more about the benefits for which you may be eligible. The general information line is: 800.827.1000 (TDD: 800.829.4833)

To learn about state benefits, contact veterans' agencies in your state. See: offsite link or offsite link.