The U.S. government stayed true to its promise to provide improved benefits for veterans. Among all military veterans, 3.9 million were able to receive disability compensation.
Whereas almost 1.5 million veterans are receiving military retirement benefits. Those eligible for pension payments are also up to 600,000. This proves the country’s increasing efforts toward the extension of VA benefits.
Speaking of, let’s get an update on VA benefits. What are the different types of military veteran benefits that you can apply for today? Let’s find out in the sections below.
Veteran Disability Compensation
Veterans who have a disability concurred while in service may receive monetary compensation. You will also enjoy a tax break along with your compensation.
How much you will receive depends on the degree of your disability. The VA will calculate and scale it from 10 to 100% using a VA percentage calculator. Your marital status will also impact the amount you’ll receive.
There are different types of monetary compensation, such as dependency and indemnity compensation. This is payable to the families of a military member who died on active duty or inactive duty training. Families of veterans who died from their service-related disabilities may also claim such compensation.
Meanwhile, special monthly compensation (SMC) is a higher rate of compensation given only during special circumstances. It could be that the veteran is suffering from the loss of a hand or leg and hence, needs aid. For the same reasons, spouses and surviving parents may also claim such compensation.
Further, if the disability is preventing you to work, you can get a 100% rate of compensation. This is also true even if you don’t meet the criteria for a 100% disability rating level. This special claim is what we call Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability.
Special Compensation Claims
Did you know that you can claim compensation if you have a disability that prevents you from driving? You can receive a one-time cash payment to help you buy a vehicle specially equipped for your needs.
You can also get grants to help you modify your vehicle to include features that’ll help you drive or ride. Other types of disability compensation include hospitalization, pre-stabilization, clothing allowance, and convalescence.
VA Pension Benefits
This is a monthly subsidy paid to veterans or eligible surviving spouses or parents. This is a program first created to help financially-incapacitated veterans and their families.
To be eligible for VA pension benefits, you must meet a few requirements.
First, your family income must be below the net worth limit set by Congress. From December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023, the net worth limit is $150,538. You may deduct medical expenses that aren’t reimbursed from the countable income.
Also, you have to be a military veteran who has at least served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of wartime.
You should be aged 65 or older or have a permanent disability. Contrary to common military myths, the disability doesn’t need to be from service. Veterans who are living in a nursing home or receiving shilled home care are also qualified.
Note, however, that higher-income veterans may apply if severely disabled. Moreover, it’s not possible to receive both a pension and service-related compensation. If you’re eligible for both programs, you’ll receive whichever of the two has the greater amount.
Department of Veteran Affairs Home Loan
To make home-buying more affordable, the VA put into place the VA home loan program. This program allows veterans and active members to get a loan with a $0 down payment and low-interest rates. Not to mention, no mandated cap and no Private Mortgage Insurance fee.
VA Education Benefits: GI Bill Programs
All education benefits offered by the VA are collectively known as the GI Bill. This program covers veterans, military members on Selected Reserve, Active Duty, and National Guard, along with their families.
The GI Bill has several programs administered on a case-to-case basis. Hence, the extent of the benefit you’ll receive will depend on the program you’re eligible for.
The qualified benefactors of the Post-9/11 GI Bill program, for instance, can enjoy tuition fee coverage. For those enrolled in public and in-state schools, the VA may pay for the cost. Meanwhile, they cap the rates for private and foreign schools.
If qualified for the Post-9/11 GI Bill program, you can also enjoy a monthly housing allowance. A maximum stipend for books and supplies per school year may also be in order. Not to mention transportation allowance, especially if you’re moving from a rural area to go to school.
Other active GI Bill programs aside from Post-9/11 that you may apply for include:
- Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Program
- Dependents’ Education Assistance (DEA)
- Reserve and Guard Montgomery GI Bill
- Fry Scholarship
GI Bill also applies to vocational training and non-college degree programs such as:
- On-the-job/Apprenticeship Training
- Work-study programs
- National Testing Programs such as SAT
- Flight Training
- Licensing & Certification Reimbursement
- Tuition Assistance Top-Up
- Tutorial Assistance
- Correspondence Training
Note that you can only use one education benefit. Once you choose an education benefit, you can’t change your mind. Depending on the program, you can enjoy your education-related VA military benefits for 36 to 48 months.
VA Health Programs
Finally, the VA is legally required to provide eligible veterans with outpatient care and hospital care services. Note, however, that these services should meet the VA’s standards of “needed”.
VA defines “needed” as service care that preserves, restores, and promotes health. Needed services can include medical procedures, treatment, supplies or medicines, and other services.
Some common medical conditions eligible for treatment under the VA health programs include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Radiation Exposure
- Agent Orange Exposure
- Gulf War Syndrome & Related Illnesses
Depression, anxiety, and scar tissue are also covered by this military veteran benefit.
Accessing Military Veteran Benefits
Aside from federal-provided benefits, did you know of state-provided military veteran benefits? States offer free college, tax breaks, and cash benefits to veterans. You can also access extensive employment resources and free hunting and fishing licenses.
Planning on claiming VA benefits? Keep browsing through our website for more information! Remember, the key to finding a compatible and cost-effective VA benefit lies in research.