Millions of Americans have served in the United States military. According to the most recent U.S. Census, CNN reports that upwards of 17 million Americans are veterans. In addition, more than 50 percent of these veterans receive one or more services or benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Let’s explore what some of the benefits available to veterans are. 

Which Benefits Are Available to Veterans? 

Before exploring some of the specific programs that are available to help veterans and their families, it is important to note who technically qualifies for these benefits. Almost everyone who served in the U.S. military will be eligible for the benefits highlighted below. However, the most important qualification is a person’s military discharge. To qualify, a person must have an honorable or general discharge. A dishonorable discharge will disqualify a person from almost all benefits. In addition to discharge status, the government will also ensure that the person meets the minimum time of service required. 

Key Benefit Categories for Veterans

  • Free and/or low-cost medical care through Veterans Affairs (VA) medical providers and clinics

For many years, the VA’s medical system seemed to be overwhelmed, and many veterans expressed extreme dissatisfaction with their care, especially for mental health issues. However, in recent years, the federal government has recognized the importance of providing the country’s veterans with outstanding medical care and there have been numerous upgrades in the care provided.

Priority Groups 

The Department of Veterans Affairs places veterans in what it terms a priority group. There are eight priority groups, labeled 1-8. The priority group an individual is placed in will determine the type of care that they qualify for and the costs, if any, that they must pay for that care. Most veterans who were injured or disabled in the military will qualify for free care to treat these injuries. Priority group placement also depends on the type of military service that a person had and their current income level

Individuals in priority groups 1 – 3 generally have varying degrees of disability, ranging from 10 percent to more, have been a prisoner of war, or alternatively, they have received awards such as a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor. 

Medical Benefits

In recent years, the vast majority, upwards of 80 percent, of veterans are satisfied with the care that they receive from the VA. They are also mostly pleased with how the cost of their care compares with private insurance. In fact, experts seem to concur with their conclusions, stating that access and quality are high in the VA system. The medical benefits veterans are privy to include:

  • Medical care 
  • Dental care
  • Mental health and addiction services
  • Vision care 
  • Hearing aid support 
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Coverage for various home health care equipment 
  • Home health care services 

Educational Programs

Educational programs are one of the most important incentives that drive many people to enlist in the military. These educational benefits are referred to as the GI Bill, which first came into existence after World War II. The GI Bill is an umbrella term, but there are many specific programs that fall under this large umbrella. These programs are listed below: 

  • The post-911 Bill may provide up to 100 percent of tuition assistance for veterans who saw active duty following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This program also offers generous book and housing assistance. Another interesting feature is that under some circumstances, these benefits can be transferred to a spouse or other dependent. 
  • The Montgomery GI Active bill is a bill that is designed to provide tuition support to individuals who have more than two years of active duty. Associated with this program is the $600 Buy-Up program that can help participants get an additional $5400 in tuition assistance 
  • The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve. This bill offers 36 months of assistance for individuals who have committed to serve six years in our nation’s reserves. During these 36 months, qualified recipients may get up to $384 in direct payment support each month.  
  • Many schools across the country recognize the invaluable sacrifices that our veterans have made. These schools, known as Yellow Ribbon Schools, often cover any costs of tuition that is not covered by the post-911 bill. 
  • Tuition Assistance Top-Up provides additional tuition assistance for up to 36 months if there is a gap between what the GI Bill covers and what tuition costs.  
  • The military recognizes that STEM skills are in great demand both inside the military and in the civilian world. Recognizing this, the military offers additional tuition assistance to those pursuing STEM education via the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM program. 

The military may also offer tutoring assistance and other support to individuals who may be struggling with their coursework. 

Dependents’ Education Assistance

Another educational benefit program is specially set up to help educate the children of parent(s) who died in duty. This program is commonly known as the DEA, or Dependents’ Education Assistance. Also, the U.S. military increasingly recognizes that college may not be everyone’s specific road to future success. Because of that, programs have become increasingly flexible in recent years. Funds can now be used for vocational and professional schools, as well as for internships.  

Pension Plans 

The U.S. military recognizes that financial security is essential for many of its veterans.  One of the most effective ways to provide for financial security is via pension plans. The benefits programs are available to individuals over the age of 65. People also need to meet service requirements. An eligible individual will have served at least 90 days in total and at least one day in an active war zone. 

There are other restrictions on participation in the plan. An individual must meet strict maximum income levels to qualify.  The eligible individual must also have served a specified number of active service days during certain time periods. More information about these requirements can be found online

There are two other pension programs: 

  • The VA Survivors Pension may be awarded to the spouse and/or dependents of individuals who served during wartime and had qualified for pensions themselves.  Dependent children under the age of 18 or those who are under the age of 23 but in a recognized school may potentially qualify. 
  • The VA Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance is an additional financial benefit that pensioners may qualify for if they are housebound or require additional assistance from a caregiver. 

Home Loan Benefits and Guarantees

Home loans are another important added perk that veterans may qualify for via the United States’ government. In fact, many veterans believe that this is the most important benefit. Under a VA home loan, veterans may purchase a home with $0 down. Also, a veteran who qualifies for this loan will not need to pay traditional mortgage insurance (PMI). Under PMI, individuals need to buy insurance if they do not put at least 20 percent down on a property. This insurance is to protect against possible foreclosures. 

It is worth noting that more than 20 million veterans have qualified for this attractive loan program since it was first launched decades ago. 

The chart below lists what VA loan centers cover which geographic areas of the country: 

STATECOUNTY2019 VA LIMITRegional Loan Center
AKALEUTIANS EAST$726,525DENVER
AKALEUTIANS WEST$726,525DENVER
AKANCHORAGE$726,525DENVER
AKBETHEL$726,525DENVER
AKBRISTOL BAY$726,525DENVER
AKDENALI$726,525DENVER
AKDILLINGHAM$726,525DENVER
AKFAIRBANKS NORTH$726,525DENVER
AKHAINES$726,525DENVER
AKHOONAH-ANGOON$726,525DENVER
AKJUNEAU$726,525DENVER
AKKENAI PENINSULA$726,525DENVER
AKKETCHIKAN GATEWAY$726,525DENVER
AKKODIAK ISLAND$726,525DENVER
AKKUSILVAK CENSUS AREA$726,525DENVER
AKLAKE AND PENINSULA$726,525DENVER
AKMATANUSKA-SUSITNA$726,525DENVER
AKNOME$726,525DENVER
AKNORTH SLOPE$726,525DENVER
AKNORTHWEST ARCTIC$726,525DENVER
AKPETERSBURG CENSUS AREA$726,525DENVER
AKPRINCE OF WALES-HYDER$726,525DENVER
AKSITKA$726,525DENVER
AKSKAGWAY MUNICIPALITY$726,525DENVER
AKSOUTHEAST FAIRBANKS$726,525DENVER
AKVALDEZ-CORDOVA$726,525DENVER
AKWRANGELL CITY/BOROUGH$726,525DENVER
AKYAKUTAT CITY$726,525DENVER
AKYUKON-KOYUKUK$726,525DENVER
CAALAMEDA$726,525PHOENIX
CACONTRA COSTA$726,525PHOENIX
CAEL DORADO$552,000PHOENIX
CALOS ANGELES$726,525PHOENIX
CAMARIN$726,525PHOENIX
CAMONO$529,000PHOENIX
CAMONTEREY$652,050PHOENIX
CANAPA$726,525PHOENIX
CANEVADA$486,450PHOENIX
CAORANGE$726,525PHOENIX
CAPLACER$552,000PHOENIX
CASACRAMENTO$552,000PHOENIX
CASAN BENITO$726,525PHOENIX
CASAN DIEGO$690,000PHOENIX
CASAN FRANCISCO$726,525PHOENIX
CASAN LUIS OBISPO$667,000PHOENIX
CASAN MATEO$726,525PHOENIX
CASANTA BARBARA$625,500PHOENIX
CASANTA CLARA$726,525PHOENIX
CASANTA CRUZ$726,525PHOENIX
CASOLANO$494,500PHOENIX
CASONOMA$704,950PHOENIX
CAVENTURA$713,000PHOENIX
CAYOLO$552,000PHOENIX
COADAMS$561,200DENVER
COARAPAHOE$561,200DENVER
COBOULDER$626,750DENVER
COBROOMFIELD$561,200DENVER
COCLEAR CREEK$561,200DENVER
CODENVER$561,200DENVER
CODOUGLAS$561,200DENVER
COEAGLE$696,900DENVER
COELBERT$561,200DENVER
COGARFIELD$718,750DENVER
COGILPIN$561,200DENVER
COJEFFERSON$561,200DENVER
COLAKE$625,500DENVER
COPARK$561,200DENVER
COPITKIN$718,750DENVER
COROUTT$625,500DENVER
COSAN MIGUEL$625,500DENVER
COSUMMIT$625,500DENVER
CTFAIRFIELD$601,450CLEVELAND
DCDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA$726,525ROANOKE
FLMONROE$529,000ST. PETERSBURG
GAGREENE$515,200ATLANTA
GUGUAM$726,525HONOLULU
HIHAWAII$726,525HONOLULU
HIHONOLULU$726,525HONOLULU
HIKALAWAO$726,525HONOLULU
HIKAUAI$726,525HONOLULU
HIMAUI$726,525HONOLULU
IDBLAINE$625,500DENVER
IDCAMAS$625,500DENVER
IDLINCOLN$625,500DENVER
IDTETON$726,525DENVER
MADUKES$726,525CLEVELAND
MAESSEX$688,850CLEVELAND
MAMIDDLESEX$688,850CLEVELAND
MANANTUCKET$726,525CLEVELAND
MANORFOLK$688,850CLEVELAND
MAPLYMOUTH$688,850CLEVELAND
MASUFFOLK$688,850CLEVELAND
MDANNE ARUNDEL$517,500ROANOKE
MDBALTIMORE$517,500ROANOKE
MDBALTIMORE CITY$517,500ROANOKE
MDCALVERT$726,525ROANOKE
MDCARROLL$517,500ROANOKE
MDCHARLES$726,525ROANOKE
MDFREDERICK$726,525ROANOKE
MDHARFORD$517,500ROANOKE
MDHOWARD$517,500ROANOKE
MDMONTGOMERY$726,525ROANOKE
MDPRINCE GEORGE’S$726,525ROANOKE
MDQUEEN ANNE’S$517,500ROANOKE
MPNORTHERN ISLAND$524,400HONOLULU
MPSAIPAN$529,000HONOLULU
MPTINIAN$532,450HONOLULU
NCCAMDEN$625,500ATLANTA
NCPASQUOTANK$625,500ATLANTA
NCPERQUIMANS$625,500ATLANTA
NHROCKINGHAM$688,850CLEVELAND
NHSTRAFFORD$688,850CLEVELAND
NJBERGEN$726,525CLEVELAND
NJESSEX$726,525CLEVELAND
NJHUDSON$726,525CLEVELAND
NJHUNTERDON$726,525CLEVELAND
NJMIDDLESEX$726,525CLEVELAND
NJMONMOUTH$726,525CLEVELAND
NJMORRIS$726,525CLEVELAND
NJOCEAN$726,525CLEVELAND
NJPASSAIC$726,525CLEVELAND
NJSOMERSET$726,525CLEVELAND
NJSUSSEX$726,525CLEVELAND
NJUNION$726,525CLEVELAND
NYBRONX$726,525CLEVELAND
NYDUTCHESS$726,525CLEVELAND
NYKINGS$726,525CLEVELAND
NYNASSAU$726,525CLEVELAND
NYNEW YORK$726,525CLEVELAND
NYORANGE$726,525CLEVELAND
NYPUTNAM$726,525CLEVELAND
NYQUEENS$726,525CLEVELAND
NYRICHMOND$726,525CLEVELAND
NYROCKLAND$726,525CLEVELAND
NYSUFFOLK$726,525CLEVELAND
NYWESTCHESTER$726,525CLEVELAND
PAPIKE$726,525CLEVELAND
TNCANNON$534,750ROANOKE
TNCHEATHAM$534,750ROANOKE
TNDAVIDSON$534,750ROANOKE
TNDICKSON$534,750ROANOKE
TNHICKMAN$534,750ROANOKE
TNMACON$534,750ROANOKE
TNMAURY$534,750ROANOKE
TNROBERTSON$534,750ROANOKE
TNRUTHERFORD$534,750ROANOKE
TNSMITH$534,750ROANOKE
TNSUMNER$534,750ROANOKE
TNTROUSDALE$534,750ROANOKE
TNWILLIAMSON$534,750ROANOKE
TNWILSON$534,750ROANOKE
UTSALT LAKE$600,300DENVER
UTSUMMIT$726,525DENVER
UTTOOELE$600,300DENVER
VAALEXANDRIA$726,525ROANOKE
VAAMELIA$535,900ROANOKE
VAARLINGTON$726,525ROANOKE
VACAROLINE$535,900ROANOKE
VACHARLES CITY$535,900ROANOKE
VACHESTERFIELD$535,900ROANOKE
VACLARKE$726,525ROANOKE
VACOLONIAL HEIGHTS$535,900ROANOKE
VACULPEPER$726,525ROANOKE
VACUMBERLAND$535,900ROANOKE
VADINWIDDIE$535,900ROANOKE
VAFAIRFAX$726,525ROANOKE
VAFAIRFAX INDEPENDENT CITY$726,525ROANOKE
VAFALLS CHURCH$726,525ROANOKE
VAFAUQUIER$726,525ROANOKE
VAFREDERICKSBURG$726,525ROANOKE
VAGOOCHLAND$535,900ROANOKE
VAHANOVER$535,900ROANOKE
VAHENRICO$535,900ROANOKE
VAHOPEWELL$535,900ROANOKE
VAKING AND QUEEN$535,900ROANOKE
VAKING WILLIAM$535,900ROANOKE
VALOUDOUN$726,525ROANOKE
VALOUISA$535,900ROANOKE
VAMANASSAS$726,525ROANOKE
VAMANASSAS PARK$726,525ROANOKE
VANEW KENT$535,900ROANOKE
VAPETERSBURG$535,900ROANOKE
VAPOWHATAN$535,900ROANOKE
VAPRINCE GEORGE$535,900ROANOKE
VAPRINCE WILLIAM$726,525ROANOKE
VARAPPAHANNOCK$726,525ROANOKE
VARICHMOND INDEPENDENT CITY$535,900ROANOKE
VASPOTSYLVANIA$726,525ROANOKE
VASTAFFORD$726,525ROANOKE
VASUSSEX$535,900ROANOKE
VAWARREN$726,525ROANOKE
VIST. CROIX$726,525ST. PETERSBURG
VIST. JOHN$726,525ST. PETERSBURG
VIST. THOMAS$726,525ST. PETERSBURG
WAKING$726,525DENVER
WAPIERCE$726,525DENVER
WASNOHOMISH$726,525DENVER
WVJEFFERSON$726,525ROANOKE
WYTETON$726,525DENVER

Below are the contact details for each of these loan centers: 

Cleveland

Address: Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Loan Center, 1240 East Ninth Street, Cleveland, OH 44199 

Website

Denver

Denver Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Loan Center, 155 Van Gordon Street, Lakewood, CO 80228 (Mail: Box 25126, Denver, CO 80225) 

Website

Honolulu

Honolulu Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Office Loan Guaranty Division (26), 459 Patterson Rd., Honolulu, HI 96819 

Website

Phoenix

Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs VA Regional Loan Center, 3333 N. Central Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85012-2402 

Website

Roanoke

Roanoke Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Loan Center, 210 First Street Roanoke, VA 24011 Mailing Address: 116 N. Jefferson Street Roanoke, VA 24016 

Website 

St. Paul

St. Paul Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Loan Center, 1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling. St. Paul, MN 55111 (Mail: P.O. Box 1437, St. Petersburg, FL 33731) 

Website 

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Regional Loan Center, 9500 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33708 (Mail: P.O. Box 1437, St. Petersburg, FL 33731) 

Website 

Military Burials

Burying a loved one in the United States can be extremely costly. The Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes this and looks for ways to make the process more affordable for its veterans. One way that this is accomplished is by giving free-of-charge headstones to the buried individual. There are other honors that a buried veteran may receive. 

For example: 

  • Service related death. If an individual dies in the line of service, the family may be reimbursed up to $2,000 for burial expenses. 
  • Non-service related death. In this case, there is a $300 cash benefit offered and the VA will also compensate for the cost of a plot up to $796. 
  • VA hospitalized allowance. If an individual was hospitalized at a VA hospital at the time of their death, then they will receive both a cash allowance and a plot payment. Both of these payments will be in the amount of $807.  
  • Any veteran who was honorably discharged from the military will also receive a flag for their casket or their funeral service. 

VONAPP Web Platform 

The programs highlighted above are important benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers to individuals who have sacrificed for the country.

In the past, people applied via the VONAPP web platform. However, this platform has been entirely phased out.  Instead, you should use the links below to apply for the appropriate benefits for yourself or a loved one. 

There are several links to follow to apply for educational benefits: 

Veterans Benefits Summary

The U.S. military’s men and women have sacrificed so much to keep our nation and way of life safe. To honor this, the United States’ government has set up a variety of benefit programs and incentives to help them in a wide range of areas. 

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