As of 2011, more than 25 million veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces qualify for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To qualify for VA benefits, veterans must have received a discharge other than dishonorable. Benefits available range from free or reduced cost health-care, college assistance, job training, employment preferences, mortgage assistance and disability payments for service-connected disabilities.
VA provides low cost health care to veterans who have received an honorable discharge if they enroll in the VA Health Care System. Benefits include one-time free dental treatment after discharge from service and continuing medical care to deal with military related trauma, including sexual abuse, neurological disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Eldlery veterans have access to VA extended care facilities if they have no one else who can provide them with old age care.
The Montgomery GI and Post-9/11 GI Bill provide up to 36 months worth of college assistance and job training to veterans. With the Montgomery GI Bill, veterans receive a monthly education benefit if they enrolled in the GI Bill program during active service and contributed $100 a month for 12 months and completed a minimum service obligation. Veterans receive a sliding scale of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill if they served at least 90 days of active duty or sustained a disability after 30 days of active service after Sept. 11, 2001. These programs provide veterans with assistance for tuition and fees to college so that veterans can acquire useful job skills. Veterans who meet the 36 months of service requirement are eligible to have their tuition paid in full. The amount paid is limited to the highest amount of tuition and fees charged for full-time, undergraduate training at a public institution of higher learning in the state where the student is enrolled, the VA says.
For those who served fewer than 36 months, the percentage of benefit ranges from 40 per cent to 90 percent. For instance, a 90 percent benefit is provided for veterans with 30 total months of service.
With a VA loan, all honorably discharged U.S. veterans can qualify for a home loan with zero down payment and no requirement to purchase private mortgage insurance. In addition, veterans can qualify for a home loan with monthly payments equal to 41 percent of their gross income, a much higher limit than a traditional loan. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs can help retired service members refinance their property or fund improvements to their homes.
VA benefits provide disabled veterans with monthly compensation for mental and physical disabilities incurred as a result of military service. Veterans do not pay tax on these benefits, and the service member must file a claim within one year of discharge. Veterans aged 65 years or older can receive a monthly paycheck for a non-service connected disability. In addition, the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide free vocational rehabilitation and employment counseling services to former members of the military who suffer from severe disability.