Veterans benefits, resources and programs are provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you are an active service member or a veteran, you may be entitled to several types of benefits, including benefits related to homeownership and housing assistance. You may also be eligible for medical or disability services, as well as education benefits.
When learning more about veterans benefits and programs, it is critical to understand that each program has specific benefits and eligibility requirements. This helps you to determine the benefits and resources that you may qualify for. In doing so, you will be better prepared for your application as well as understand the various resources that may be available to you, especially during hardship.
1. How to Become a Homeowner With a VA Loan
A VA home loan can make it easier for you to become a homeowner by reducing standard fees associated with a mortgage. With this loan program, your closing costs can be reduced, and you will not be required to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). In most cases, you will not be required to provide a down payment.
In most cases, the VA does not provide a mortgage directly. Instead, the VA usually guarantees a portion of the loan you borrow, which raises your eligibility for a private lender’s loan. VA loan rates are usually lower than they would be if you did not have the department’s guarantee.
You must meet VA loan requirements to qualify for benefits. Eligibility requirements are primarily dependent upon the amount of time you served and your discharge status. However, service-time related qualifications may be waived if you were discharged due to one of the following reasons:
- Reduction in force
- Certain medical conditions
- A service-connected disability
- The convenience of the federal government
To obtain a VA-insured loan, you must qualify for and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and work with a VA-approved lender. You can get your COE online, by visiting your local VA office or by applying through a VA-approved lender.
2. Learn About Emergency Veterans Housing Assistance Programs and Resources
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers veteran housing assistance in several ways. However, in addition to federal and state programs, you may be entitled to other forms of assistance in your local community. This is especially true if you have a qualifying emergency.
If you are struggling to pay for the cost of housing or if you are about to become homeless, seek help immediately. In doing so, you can connect with federal, state and local assistance programs and resources that may be able to assist you.
You can learn more about veterans housing assistance resources and programs that you may qualify for by contacting your local VA office. You can also call the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans This hotline provides assistance 24 hours a day throughout the week.
3. Find Out About Financial Compensation and Disabled Veterans Benefits
Disabled veterans benefits provide financial compensation to qualifying service members and veterans that have become sick or injured while serving in the military. Benefits can also be awarded to service members whose pre-existing conditions were made worse by military service.
Compensation is provided every month as a tax-free payment. Furthermore, benefits can be provided for specific physical and medical conditions that develop at any time before. This include conditions that develop during or after military service.
To receive disability benefits, you must have a service disability rating for your service-connected condition. Additionally, you must have serviced either on active duty, inactive duty training or active duty training.
4. About Veterans Benefits for Medical Services
As a veteran, you can qualify for certain medical benefits. Specifically, your medical veterans benefits may include coverage for services relate to:
- Treating any illnesses or injuries you may have.
- Preventing future health conditions.
- Improving your ability to function independently.
- Enhancing your overall quality of life.
Furthermore, the specific medical services that may be covered by your VA benefits are determined by several factors. These criteria include your priority group and medical standards for treating any health-related condition you have. The advice of your primary VA care provider will also be taken into consideration.
Keep in mind that using your VA benefits for services may require you to pay a copayment. Copayments and other cost-sharing fees are based upon your military service, income level and disability rating, when applicable.
5. About Veterans Education Benefits
Veterans education benefits are available to assist veterans, active service members and qualifying family members with the cost associated with pursuing higher education. There are different educational programs offered through the VA, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill.
In addition to these educational grants, you may be eligible for other benefits. For example, you could qualify to receive career counseling. However, you must be discharged from military service soon or have been separated from active duty for no more than one year to receive this benefit.
You can learn more about the educational benefits that you qualify for and apply for benefits using several methods. In fact, you can apply for education benefits online, by mail or by visiting your local VA office. When applying, you will be required to provide specific documentation and information, including those related to your:
- Education and military history.
- Social Security Number (SSN).
- Bank account.
You will also need to provide the VA with basic information related to the school or training facility you would like to attend or are already attending.
6. About Veterans Burial Benefits
Veterans burial benefits assist with the cost of burial or memorial services within a VA national cemetery. Additionally, benefits may be used towards the cost of certain memorial items, such as headstones, markers and burial flags.
To receive burial-related VA benefits, one of the following must be true:
- You are a veteran that did not receive a dishonorable discharge.
- You are a service member that died while on active duty for training, inactive duty for training or while on active duty.
- You are the spouse or dependent child of a veteran.
In some instances, you may also be able to receive benefits if you are the unmarried adult dependent child of a veteran. In any case, you can plan ahead for your VA benefits in the event of your passing. Should you need assistance completing an application, you contact the VA during regular business hours.