Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In addition, their dependents and survivors may also be eligible for veterans benefits.
There are currently over 25 million veterans living today and about a quarter of the nation’s population — approximately 70 million people — are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs, State and local government agencies offer these veterans, and their families, services ranging from health care to education.
- Who Is Eligible?
- Things You Will Need In Order To Obtain Veteran Benefits
- Preparing To File
- Filing Process
- How To Obtain A Copy Of Your Military Records
- War Time Periods
- Veterans Pension And Aid and Attendance Rates
- VA Regional Office By State
Who Is Eligible?
To receive care, most veterans must be enrolled in the VA health system. Eligibility for the health system depends on a number of factors, including the nature of your discharge from military service, your length of service, whether you have service-connected disabilities, your income level, and available VA resources, among others.
To be eligible, you must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military. Your length of service may also be important. Former enlisted persons who started active duty before September 8, 1980, and former officers who first entered active duty before October 17, 1981, do not have a length-of-service requirement. Otherwise, you must have 24 months of continuous active duty military service, though there are several exceptions for reservists, national guard members, service-connected disabilities, and hardship discharges, among others.
Certain veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA health system to receive benefits if: you are 50 percent or more disabled from a service-connected disability, you are seeking care for a VA rated service-connected disability, or it has been less than one year since you were discharged for a disability that the military determined was caused or aggravated by your service, but the VA has not yet rated the disability.
Things You Will Need In Order To Obtain Veteran Benefits
Military service discharge papers (DD-214 or form WD)
Copies of marriage/death certificate (surviving spouses only)
Current Social Security Award letter
Physical exam detailing current medical issues or Assisted Living/Nursing Home Status Statement
Net worth information including bank accounts/investments
Out-of-pocket expense list for medications, insurance premiums, and other expenditures.
Preparing To File
Make sure you qualify. Wartime veterans must have served on active duty at least 90 days. One of those days must also be recorded during a time of war. Discharge received may not be dishonorable in nature. Those who went on active duty on or after September 8, 1980, (October 16, 1981, for officers) are required to have completed at least 24 continuous months of service or the period of time ordered to be served. Assistance of others in meeting daily needs is also a requirement for eligibility.
Gather necessary personal documents such as bank statements, Social Security Award letter (received at the start of the year stating how much you will receive in payments for the year) and proof of income with net worth statements. Surviving spouses will need copies of marriage and death certificates.
Provide a certified copy of the court order for appointed guardians of veterans or surviving spouses with the information package.
Obtain all necessary medical information, including past treatment history and a list of all doctors and hospitals used within the previous year. You’ll also need your physician’s statement detailing current diagnosis, prognosis and ability to care for self. Veterans and surviving spouses who are in nursing homes may use the Nursing Home Status Statement as certification of medical status. The form is available from the facility’s administrator.
Complete VA Form 21-526 and/or VA Form 21-534 for Special Pension benefits with Aid & Attendance. Both forms are available for download from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Make copies of all documents and forms that will be sent as part of your application package. The military often loses paperwork; don’t expect the VA to be much better considering the amount of correspondence such government agencies deal with on a daily basis.
Send the application package including all documents and forms to the VA regional office designated for your state.
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits are not reserved only for veterans or their spouses that are residing in an Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home but for the ones living at home with in house care as well.
Eligibility is determined according to the inability to care for one’s self and financial limitation. The veteran/spouse must have less than $80,000 in assets, not including home and vehicles.
Be prepared to wait four to six months or even longer to be approved for this benefit. It is not a fast process; however, payments will be retroactive to the date the application was received by the VA.
Do it yourself or use a Veteran Benefits Consultant
How To Obtain A Copy Of Your Military Records
A military veteran or next of kin( surviving spouse that has not remarried, father, mother, son, daughter, sister or brother) of a deceased military veteran can obtain a copy of military records by accessing The National Archives here
War Time Periods
World War II: Dec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946. Extended to July 25, 1947 if the Veteran was in service on December 31, 1946. Continuous service before July 26, 1947 is considered World War II service
Korean War: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 and from February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period
Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 – yet to be determined
Serving in the National Guard does NOT count as Military Service unless under Title 32
Veterans Pension And Aid and Attendance Rates
Effective Dec.1, 2011 the Veterans maximum pension and pension with aid and attendance benefits, has increased:
Veteran: Pension $1021, Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefits $1703
Veteran with one Dependent: Pension $1337, Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefits $2019
Widow of a Veteran: Pension $684, Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefits $1094
Widow of a Veteran with one Dependent: Pension $896, Pension with Aid and Attendance Benefits $1306
Veteran Permanently Housebound: Pension $1248
Veteran Permanently Housebound with one Dependent: Pension $1564
Widow Permanently Housebound: Pension $837
Widow Permanently Housebound with one Dependent: Pension $1048
Benefits are retroactive to the first of the month the claim for benefits has been filed.
VA Regional Office By State
|STATE||VA REGIONAL OFFICE|
|ALABAMA||Montgomery Regional Office
345 Perry Hill Rd.
|ALASKA||Anchorage Regional Office
2925 DeBarr Road
|ARIZONA||Phoenix Regional Office
3333 North Central Avenue
Western Area Office
3333 North Central Avenue, Suite 3026
|ARKANSAS||North Little Rock Regional Office
2200 Fort Roots Drive, Building 65
|CALIFORNIA||Los Angeles Regional Office
Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Boulevard
Oakland Regional Office
1301 Clay Street, Rm. 1300 North
San Diego Regional Office
8810 Rio San Diego Drive
|COLORADO||Denver Regional Office
155 Van Gordon St.
|CONNECTICUT||Hartford Regional Office
555 Willard Avenue
|DELAWARE||Wilmington Regional Office
1601 Kirkwood Highway
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||Washington D.C. Regional Office
1722 I Street N.W.
|FLORIDA||St. Petersburg Regional Office
9500 Bay Pines Boulevard
|GEORGIA||Atlanta Regional Office
1700 Clairmont Road
|GUAM||Department of Military Affairs
Government of Guam P.O. Box 5178
Hagatna, GU 96932
(671) 642-4111 fax
|HAWAII||Honolulu Regional Office
459 Patterson Road, E-Wing
|IDAHO||Boise Regional Office
805 W. Franklin Street
Boise, ID 83702
|ILLINOIS||Chicago Regional Office
2122 W Taylor Street
|INDIANA||Indianapolis Regional Office
575 N Pennsylvania St.
|IOWA||Des Moines VA Regional Office
210 Walnut Street
|KANSAS||Wichita Regional Office
5500 E. Kellogg
|KENTUCKY||Louisville Regional Office
321 West Main Street, Suite 390
|LOUSIANA||New Orleans Regional Office
701 Loyola Avenue
|MAINE||Togus VA Medical/Regional Office Center
1 VA Center
|MARYLAND||Baltimore Regional Office
31 Hopkins Plaza
|MASSACHUSETTS||Boston VA Regional Office
JFK Federal Building
|MICHIGAN||Detroit Regional Office
Patrick V. McNamara Federal Bldg., 477 Michigan Ave.
Eastern Area Office
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive
|MINNESOTA||St. Paul Regional Office
1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling
|MISSISSIPPI||Jackson Regional Office
1600 E. Woodrow Wilson Avenue
|MISSOURI||St. Louis Regional Office
400 South, 18th Street
|MONTANA||Fort Harrison Medical and Regional Office
William Street off Highway
|NEBRASKA||Lincoln Regional Office
5631 South 48th Street
|NEVADA||Reno Regional Office
5460 Reno Corporate Drive,
|NEW HAMPSHIRE||Manchester Regional Office
Norris Cotton Federal Bldg., 275 Chestnut St.
|NEW JERSEY||Newark Regional Office
20 Washington Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102
|NEW MEXICO||Albuquerque Regional Office
500 Gold Avenue, S.W.,
|NEW YORK||Buffalo Regional Office
130 S. Elmwood Avenue
New York Regional Office
245 W Houston St.
|NORTH CAROLINA||Winston-Salem Regional Office
Federal Building, 251N. Main Street
|NORTH DAKOTA||Fargo Regional Office
2101 Elm Street
|OHIO||Cleveland Regional Office
A.J. Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th Street
|OKLAHOMA||Muskogee Regional Office
125 South Main Street
Central Area Office
Federal Building, 125 South Main Street
|OREGON||Portland Regional Office
1220 SW 3rd Avenue
|PENNSYLVANIA||Philadelphia Regional Office and Insurance Center
5000 Wissahickon Avenue
Pittsburgh Regional Office
1000 Liberty Avenue
|PUERTO RICO||San Juan Regional Office
150 Carlos Chardon Avenue
|RHODE ISLAND||Providence Regional Office
380 Westminster Street
|SOUTH CAROLINA||Columbia Regional Office
1801 Assembly Street
|SOUTH DAKOTA||Sioux Falls Regional Office
2501 W 22nd St.
|TENNESSEE||Nashville Regional Office
110 9th Avenue South
Southern Area Office
3322 West End, Suite 408
|TEXAS||Houston Regional Office
6900 Almeda Road
Waco Regional Office
1 Veterans Plaza, 701 Clay Av.
|UTAH||Salt Lake City Regional Office
550 Foothill Drive
|VERMONT||White River Junction Regional Office
215 North Main Street
|VIRGIN ISLANDS||Office of Veterans Affairs
1013 Estate Richmond
Christiansted, St. Croix
Virgin Islands 00820
Phone: 1-340-773-6663Fax: 1-340-692-9563
|VIRGINIA||Roanoke Regional Office
210 Franklin Rd. SW
|WASHINGTON||Seattle Regional Office
915 2nd Avenue
|WEST VIRGINIA||Huntington Regional Office
640 Forth Avenue
Huntington, WV 25701
|WISCONSIN||Milwaukee Regional Office
5400 West National Avenue
|WYOMING||Cheyenne VA Medical / Regional Office Center
2360 E. Pershing Blvd.
Cheyenne, WY 82001