While many people know military veterans may receive benefits, defining what those benefits are and how one can qualify to receive them is more complex. So let’s break it down, and cover some of the basics you should know about veteran care and housing benefits, and how you can apply to receive them.
First Things First: How Does the Federal Government Define a Veteran?
According to Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a veteran is:
“a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”
This means individuals who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or the Coast Guard and received an honorable discharge are rightly veterans. It’s not limited to those who were activated or served in a war zone. All members of the military who served and ultimately left the military under honorable circumstances are veterans. Understanding this definition provides the foundation for getting benefits.
The Different Types of Military Service
The type of service most people think of is full-time or active duty. Military members in this category may be called to serve any time. The only exceptions are active duty military who are on an authorized leave or who have received a pass (authorized time off.) Serving as active duty for certain amounts of time does impact the ability to receive certain veteran benefits.
Part-time military typically serve a minimum of one weekend per month, plus two full weeks of training per calendar year in the Reserves or as members of the National Guard. Part-time status is usually not enough to qualify for many types of benefits. However, part-time military can be called into active duty for extended periods of time. Should the amount of time spent as ADT reach a certain level, a broader range of benefits may be available. There are different provisions that would apply for National Guard members versus Reserve members.
What Sorts of Benefits are Available to Veterans?
These benefits generally apply to those who served as active duty for a minimum number of years. In some cases, part-time veterans might accrue enough full-time duty to qualify for some of these benefits:
Do All Veterans Get Benefits?
Not all veterans are eligible for various benefits. Those most likely to qualify for the most benefits are those who served full-time and successfully fulfilled their military commitment, which includes an honorable discharge.
Part-time veterans, on the other hand, are not likely to qualify for some or all benefits. This would include those who served in the National Guard or the Reserves. While it’s true that they do have short periods of active-duty time, those are typical during training and are not sufficient to qualify. An exception would be if those part-time members were activated by the federal government and served full-time for the minimum required.
Veterans who are dishonorably discharged typically lose access to all or most types of benefits. This would be true for full-time or active duty military, as well as part-time military who would have otherwise served enough full time to qualify.
How to Apply for Veterans Benefits?
There are multiple ways to apply for veteran benefits. In general, it’s possible to submit applications in-person at most VA locations, but any benefits applications can be submitted online. There is always an option to fill out applications and submit them by post.
For example, say you want to receive the veterans aid and attendance benefit. This benefit is for full-time veterans who served a minimum of 90 consecutive days of active duty, with at least one full day of that duty taking place during wartime. The applicant must also qualify for a basic pension and meet other financial and clinical requirements. Complete the VA Form 21-2680 and mail it to the nearest pension management center. You can also apply in-person at the nearest Veterans Regional Office.It can be confusing to navigate the forms and documentation needed to apply for benefits. To simplify the process, work through a partner who can help you qualify and apply for the benefits you deserve. For example, Talem Home Care partners with the VetAssist® Program to help veterans at no cost. This assistance saves you a lot of time and helps you identify benefits you may have otherwise overlooked.
Benefits for the Children of Veterans
Children of veterans may be eligible to receive several types of benefits related to education, healthcare, housing expenses, and job training. If the vet is deceased, the offspring may be able to claim benefits to help with burial expenses, as well as a survivor pension.
Do veterans’ widows get benefits?
Surviving spouses of deceased vets qualify for the same benefits as the children. This includes access to a monthly pension; help with burial expenses; job training costs; and help to offset the cost of affordable housing.
Whether you’re a veteran curious about your available benefits or the surviving spouse or child of a vet, it pays to find out what benefits you’re entitled to receive. Rather than wading through all the red tape to find the information that you need, contact Talem Home Care Broomfield at (720) 797-8548. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many benefits are yours once you take the time to apply.