Data from the 2000 U.S. census shows that 12.7% of the nation’s population comprises former armed forces personnel. The number included both soldiers who served in the military only for a short period and those who served over their entire careers.
Given that military veterans account for a significant percentage of the U.S population, the government has decided to grant them some benefits and rights. These benefits and rights are managed by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department.
The eligibility for veterans’ rights and benefits depends on several factors, including whether a serviceman served during wartime or not. Only veterans who have ever received a general or honorable discharge are eligible for veterans’ benefits.
Dishonorable conduct while serving in the military can lead to the denial of veterans’ benefits. Still, veterans on parole or in incarceration may qualify for some VA benefits. Here are the main benefits veterans are entitled to.
The U.S. government can offer financial support to disabled veterans who can no longer sustain themselves. However, a veteran must have served at least 90 days as an active serviceman to qualify for a military pension.
The veteran’s current income must not exceed the standard set by the VA. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged from the military and those who became disabled due to their willful misconduct may not be eligible.
Veterans’ benefits claimants can challenge the decision made by a VA official in the nation’s courts. Claimants can file appeals for denial of benefits such as pensions, educational benefits, disability compensation, and healthcare benefits.
However, veterans can only file an appeal within one year of the board’s decision. Veterans may contact a listed legal website or any other veterans’ law resources for legal assistance.
The VA’s Board of Appeals is the first body to hear the appeal. However, a veteran can take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals if the board still refuses to grant benefits.
Veterans can only qualify for health care benefits after enrolling with the VA. However, some veterans who fall within categories such as disability of 50 percent or those seeking health care for a disability suffered during their service may be exempted from the enrollment requirements.
The requirements for enrolling with the VA depend on the appropriations that Congress has granted the VA. The VA has established a list of requirements for veterans who would want to enroll in the medical care benefits program.
Home Loan Guarantees
Surviving spouses, reservists, veterans, individuals active in service, and veterans are guaranteed certain home loans. Under this program, the government agrees to guarantee veterans a certain percentage of a home loan, allowing them to obtain a home loan without a down payment and at a competitive interest rate.
The program also permits veterans to purchase a home or condominium any time they wish. The VA can even agree to guarantee a veteran for home repair or renovation loans. However, the veteran must agree to reside in the renovated or repaired home and prove that their income is sufficient to pay the mortgage.
Veterans injured in the line of duty may be eligible for disability compensation. The monthly value of the payment depends on the number of dependents a veteran has and the severity of the disability. Veterans who suffered in the military, such as being prisoners of war for more than one month, may also qualify for this benefit.
Veterans who developed chronic conditions during war and those exposed to radiation and herbicides may also be eligible for disability compensation. The VA ties disability compensation to veterans once per month.
The VA has also set up vocational rehabilitation for veterans who might want to keep their civilian jobs. A veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge to qualify for disability compensation. (Check out the link for more veteran’s law resources.)
There are many benefits a military vet could be entitled to, depending on the length of their service, disability rating, and other factors. Before applying for any of these benefits, it is best to talk to a veteran’s benefits attorney as you can get your application denied if it is not done right from the get-go.
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