How to Register for VA Benefits

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Defenders of our freedom
Defenders of our freedom (Image: chinese soldier image by Luisafer from Fotolia.com)

U.S. military veterans have access to several important benefit programs. The GI Bill, health care, vocational rehabilitation, compensation, and burial benefits are a few of the ways our country takes care of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who defend our freedom. Veterans and their families can find out which programs they are eligible to participate in, and register for the benefits they want, at a well-designed website run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA offers three main ways to register for benefits once you determine your needs and eligibility.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with internet connection
  • Printer
  • Telephone
  • Notepad and pen
  • Copy of miltary discharge paper

Register for Benefits

Register online for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs website, listed in the resources below. In the dark blue navigation menu under the main logo, choose “Veteran Services,” and click on “New to VA.” This will take you to an overview page outlining the benefits available, how to determine your eligibility, and describe the several ways to apply for benefits. Click on the link to the VONAPP website to fill out an online application. Extensive instructions will take you through the process step by step.

Vietnam War Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial (Image: mémorial du vietnam image by François Roche from Fotolia.com)

The Pre-Discharge Program is available to military personnel still on active duty, but due to separate or retire within 180 days. If this is your situation, go to the Pre-Discharge Program website. You can apply there for disability, education, vocational rehabilitation and loan program benefits.

Register online
Register online (Image: computer image by Hao Wang from Fotolia.com)

Register in person at your Regional Office. Find out where these offices are by looking under “Locations” on the VA website. Or look in your phone book in the blue Government Listings section, US Government Offices, Veterans Affairs.

Tips & Warnings

  • More assistance is available at the toll-free numbers listed on the VA website, or call
  • 1-800-827-1000 to contact the Veterans Administration.
  • Dozens of veterans service organizations exist to help the veteran community. The VA website provides a list of these, and your Regional Office may also know who is available to help you locally.
  • Print a copy of any online applications you fill out, so that you have a record of what you have done.

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