Veterans Benefits: Financial Help for Veterans and Their Survivors

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Image by chefranden used under the creative commons attribution license.

If you're caring for a veteran, it's good to know that numerous veterans benefits programs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) can provide financial support to a veteran, his or her spouse, and survivors. Even if he hasn't claimed veterans benefits before, his age, physical condition, or low income may now qualify him for financial help. By assisting him in the application process, you may be able to help improve his quality of life or benefit his survivors.

How to determine if a veteran qualifies for financial benefits

"Service-connected disabilities" can first show up when a veteran ages. Many of the financial veterans benefits available from the V.A. are payable only if a veteran has what's called a service-connected disability. "Disability" means a physical, mental, or emotional condition that limits or prevents a veteran from performing some normal, everyday activities; "service-connected" means that the condition was caused while the veteran was in the military. But the veteran need not have actually become disabled while in the military.

For many veterans, a condition that began decades before in the military only becomes disabling as they age. If so, a veteran may qualify for service-connected disability benefits whenever the condition actually becomes disabling.

Compensation may be approved even if a disability is small or only appeared recently. Someone who served in the military may have a disability that has recently begun to limit his ability to perform normal daily activities. If the problem was caused by something that happened when he was in the military, the condition is service-connected.

If so, he may be eligible for a monthly disability compensation payment. When he applies, the V.A. will give his disabling condition a rating, starting at 10 percent or higher and moving up in 10-percent increments:

  • The lowest rating (10 percent disability) pays $117 per month.
  • The highest rating (100 percent disabled) pays $2,527 a month.
  • If the veteran is housebound or needs regular in-home care (called "aid and attendance"), the monthly amount can be higher.
  • If an older veteran has a 30-percent rating or higher, his spouse is eligible for additional monthly benefits.
  • Older, low-income wartime veterans may qualify for a V.A. pension. A veteran aged 65 or older may be eligible for a monthly V.A. pension if all of the following apply:
  • He has a low income.
  • He had 90 days or more of active military service.
  • At least one day of his active service was during a "period of war" (World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War), though the veteran need not have been in combat.

The amount of the pension varies depending on need but can be as much as $930 per month for an individual or $1,220 per month for a couple. If the veteran is permanently housebound, his individual monthly benefits could be as high as $1,137 per month. If the veteran needs regular in-home assistance, he can get a pension of up to $1,555 per month (plus more for a spouse).

The V.A. may supply loans or grants to buy or refinance a home or to modify a home or car. The V.A. offers veterans benefits in the form of several types of loans and loan guarantees to help veterans buy or refinance a home or condominium. For some veterans with service-connected disabilities, the V.A. also gives Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants to pay for modifications to a home to adapt it to help compensate for their disability. These grants may also be available to modify the home of a family member with whom the veteran lives. A similar grant is available for some veterans to modify a car.

Veterans benefits for survivors

Veterans benefits for surviving family members may be available. There are several veterans benefits payable to a deceased veteran's surviving spouse. One benefit is also available for the surviving, low-income parents of certain veterans. These survivors benefits include:

  • Death pension. A veteran's spouse who has a very low income may qualify for a pension, as long as she didn't remarry. The veteran must have had 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which -- combat or not -- was during a period of war. The pension can be up to $625 per month, depending on financial need. The amount can go higher for a surviving spouse who is housebound or who needs regular in-home assistance.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). A DIC pension of at least $1,091 a month, and more than twice that much for some, is available for the surviving spouse of certain veterans. DIC benefits are also available to the surviving parents of these veterans if the parents have a very low income.
  • For a survivor to qualify for DIC payments, the deceased veteran must have met one of the following requirements:
  • Died while on active duty
  • Died from an injury or di sease incurred while on active duty or on inactive duty training, or
  • Had a 100 percent-rated service-connected disability for ten years prior to death, or for five years from date of discharge to death

How to apply for veterans benefits

How to help a veteran apply for veterans benefits. There are several ways to get further information about, and to apply for, veterans benefits. First, there's a general toll-free phone service, at 800-827-1000. Advisers can answer questions and direct you to a nearby V.A. benefits of fice, as well as start a benefits application for the veteran.

You can also get more information about specific veterans benefits by going to the V.A.'s website .

You can help a veteran apply for some benefits directly online at the V.A. website's online application page . Or you and the veteran you're caring for can make an appointment to talk to a V.A. benefits counselor in person at a local V.A. benefits office. To find a veterans benefits office near you, go the V.A. website's office locator page .

 


about 1 month ago, said...

My wife is 100% for life and I love to see her have a nice car my wife dose a lot for the family and it very hard seeing that she's not happy junk car and lots more stuff but idn maybe some can help us God bless all ty My wife is 100% for life and I love to see her have a nice car my wife dose a lot for the family and it very hard seeing that she's not happy junk car and lots more stuff but idn maybe some can help us God bless all ty Hide


2 months ago, said...

I am a veteran of the first gulf war. I am also a widow of a veteran. I am in need of a vehicle. I am currently unemployed but had a job interview yesterday. My vehicle broke down on the way home. It was my third vehicle in as many months to break down. I need help getting it back on the road or getting a new one. I am a veteran of the first gulf war. I am also a widow of a veteran. I am in need of a vehicle. I am currently unemployed but had a job interview yesterday. My vehicle broke down on the way home. It was my third vehicle in as many months to break down. I need help getting it back on the road or getting a new one. Hide


3 months ago, said...

My Fiance past away and he mentioned that if he ever past his benefits would come to me if he left me as his beneficiary in writing with the military how can I find out if its truth My Fiance past away and he mentioned that if he ever past his benefits would come to me if he left me as his beneficiary in writing with the military how can I find out if its truth Hide


3 months ago, said...

My dad is 70 and hasnt had any benifits and he hurt his wrist in military he is retired now and geets retired pention and ssi but i think he be better off going to va doctor and haveing access to va stuff right now they live in a broke down trailor and go to free vlinic My dad is 70 and hasnt had any benifits and he hurt his wrist in military he is retired now and geets retired pention and ssi but i think he be better off going to va doctor and haveing access to va stuff right now they live in a broke down trailor and go to free vlinic Hide


3 months ago, said...

Hi I'm just trying to figure something out.I am an only child of my father who passed away in 1994 I am an adult now and am having trouble with my health an no insurance no Dr. My father was in the military when he was younger an someone told me maybe I could get some kind of help being the only child . please help me figure this out. Thank you Hi I'm just trying to figure something out.I am an only child of my father who passed away in 1994 I am an adult now and am having trouble with my health an no insurance no Dr. My father was in the military when he was younger an someone told me maybe I could get some kind of help being the only child . please help me figure this out. Thank you Hide


3 months ago, said...

I'm sorry I've just been trying so hard I'm so tired and frustrated and people have been so mean, I just want to help I'm certified MA I'm a good honest human being that believes our vet's deserve the very best. I'm sorry if I came across so angry it's not anger it's my hurt because I don't know what to do I'm sorry I've just been trying so hard I'm so tired and frustrated and people have been so mean, I just want to help I'm certified MA I'm a good honest human being that believes our vet's deserve the very best. I'm sorry if I came across so angry it's not anger it's my hurt because I don't know what to do Hide


3 months ago, said...

I'm trying to help a close friend that has no one at he wants to move in with me so I can care for him I feel so bad he's not in a good place and I want to help him! I just don't understand why the VA would let him live the way he does instead of letting me who he trusts he suffers from ptsd among other things and is paranoid let me take care of him and pay me a small stipend heck I don't even need much. But nope has to be family so what happens when the vet has no family yeah really great... Show more I'm trying to help a close friend that has no one at he wants to move in with me so I can care for him I feel so bad he's not in a good place and I want to help him! I just don't understand why the VA would let him live the way he does instead of letting me who he trusts he suffers from ptsd among other things and is paranoid let me take care of him and pay me a small stipend heck I don't even need much. But nope has to be family so what happens when the vet has no family yeah really great but I'm going to do it for free because he needs help. So no offense but that's just so sad when the vet has no voice as to who cares for him after he's lost all trust in the VA..I'm starting to agree with him on that. Let our govt send you to war use you up and when you come home damaged they don't care. I'm so hurt right now.... Hide


4 months ago, said...

I would like to know what are the Benefits for a Korean Veteran Son and Dauther. I will appreciate if you can guide me please. Thanks :) I would like to know what are the Benefits for a Korean Veteran Son and Dauther. I will appreciate if you can guide me please. Thanks :) Hide


5 months ago, said...

I was a care giver my father was a world war 2 veteran he never received benifits, he passed away about 9 years ago.My mother became I'll after that and I became her caregiver , I have been living with her me and my now 11 year , and also a now five year old.She was talked in to a reverse mortgage that she really didn't understand she died 2 months ago and now the reverse mortgage has to be payed off quickly or we have to go I have been there for 9 years is there any VA help available for... Show more I was a care giver my father was a world war 2 veteran he never received benifits, he passed away about 9 years ago.My mother became I'll after that and I became her caregiver , I have been living with her me and my now 11 year , and also a now five year old.She was talked in to a reverse mortgage that she really didn't understand she died 2 months ago and now the reverse mortgage has to be payed off quickly or we have to go I have been there for 9 years is there any VA help available for us.I am in need of 2 knee replacements Hide


5 months ago, said...

I am POA and care giver and friend of a WWII Vet (whom may be the youngest Vet alive today from WWII born in 1928). He is also in the Museum for WWII Vets). He is an amazing man and I was wondering if he is entitled to VA benefits? He is on a limited income and we care so much for him and want to see what benefits he may be entitled to. Please respond with any info you can offer since he means the world to us and if we can help him get what he deserves or is entitled to we would love to help... Show more I am POA and care giver and friend of a WWII Vet (whom may be the youngest Vet alive today from WWII born in 1928). He is also in the Museum for WWII Vets). He is an amazing man and I was wondering if he is entitled to VA benefits? He is on a limited income and we care so much for him and want to see what benefits he may be entitled to. Please respond with any info you can offer since he means the world to us and if we can help him get what he deserves or is entitled to we would love to help him. Thank you for your time and information. Hide


6 months ago, said...

I ran across an artixle that if my dad wad in the Army although deceased 15 years tht I as his adult child would be able to purchase home under his GI bill I believe it was. Can you confirm if that is true. Thank you... I ran across an artixle that if my dad wad in the Army although deceased 15 years tht I as his adult child would be able to purchase home under his GI bill I believe it was. Can you confirm if that is true. Thank you... Hide


6 months ago, said...

My father died last year a Vietnam war vet who went on a whiskey drinking binge not his first but it was his last...we rushed him to the VA in Brentwood California this is where he collapsed and died in the lobby bathroom. I am almost 40 years old and I have lived with learning disabilities and false clubbed feet my entire life. I am trying to apply for some benefits but I doubt I qualify. No one else wants anything to do with any of this. My father died last year a Vietnam war vet who went on a whiskey drinking binge not his first but it was his last...we rushed him to the VA in Brentwood California this is where he collapsed and died in the lobby bathroom. I am almost 40 years old and I have lived with learning disabilities and false clubbed feet my entire life. I am trying to apply for some benefits but I doubt I qualify. No one else wants anything to do with any of this. Hide


7 months ago, said...

Who will help a female disabled Vietnam vet, 69 years old, that has an adult male child, and that child refuses to help with care or finances. Who will help a female disabled Vietnam vet, 69 years old, that has an adult male child, and that child refuses to help with care or finances. Hide


7 months ago, said...

Thank you so very much for this valuable and much appreciated information. Wife of a 30 year veteran. Thank you so very much for this valuable and much appreciated information. Wife of a 30 year veteran. Hide


8 months ago, said...

I am frustrated. I am the disabled veteran who IS the caregiver to my adult disabled child and my grand daughter. The VA has done nothing to help me with them although they are dependents as far as DOD is concerned. I am going broke and my already compensated health (100%) is deteriorating. There is help for parents of disabled veterans but nothing when the disabled veteran IS the caregiver!!! I am frustrated. I am the disabled veteran who IS the caregiver to my adult disabled child and my grand daughter. The VA has done nothing to help me with them although they are dependents as far as DOD is concerned. I am going broke and my already compensated health (100%) is deteriorating. There is help for parents of disabled veterans but nothing when the disabled veteran IS the caregiver!!! Hide


9 months ago, said...

my husband is a 67 yr old viet nam veteran , hes also on dialasys patient with end stage renal decease, with several different diagnosis , we lost our place to live so were bouncing around from my kids homes . we need a mortgage with no money down, can anyone help us find out where to go or what to do,,, thx in advance for ur anticipated help. my husband is a 67 yr old viet nam veteran , hes also on dialasys patient with end stage renal decease, with several different diagnosis , we lost our place to live so were bouncing around from my kids homes . we need a mortgage with no money down, can anyone help us find out where to go or what to do,,,
 thx in advance for ur anticipated help.
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