If you are a military veteran, a spouse, or a dependent of a living or deceased veteran, you are likely eligible to receive compensation and other retirement benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense, or from the state government. Benefits will be based on duration of military service, income, disability rating, and combat exposure. The federal Veterans Benefits Administration offers assistance to help calculate full benefits and to provide information on how to apply.
Retirement Pay and Pension
Members of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps become eligible for retirement pay after 30 years of service. At that point, you will automatically be registered as a retiree and the retirement pay will be 75 percent of your base salary. Members who have less than 30 years of service will be moved to the "reserve list" and will receive a retainer pay until they hit the 30-year benchmark. Those on the reserve list are still on call for active duty.
Members of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army who have served the country for more than 20 years are considered retirees as well, and will receive retirement pay.
The VA also provides monthly benefits to honorably discharged veterans--those with at least 10 percent disability as a result of their services. Wartime veterans with disability (those totally or permanently disabled), or those who are at least 65 years old and have limited incomes are also entitled to pensions. Compensation may be given to dependents, such as spouses and children of those members who died while on active duty or incurred disabilities during their service. For those eligible, there is no application deadline for such benefits.
State Veteran's Benefits
Many of the state veteran's benefits programs that were established during the period of the Revolutionary War are still being implemented today and most programs include pension benefits for honorably discharged and retired members. Before you apply to receive compensation, make sure that you have first thoroughly reviewed all the requirements for other benefits that you are entitled to receive. Duplication of payments on a federal and state level is prohibited and acceptance of such duplications may cause serious complications.
The VA also covers health care programs for veterans who have been exposed to combat for five years after their discharge date. Combat veterans are also covered for dental treatment for up to 180 days after discharge date. The VA provides care for those who have suffered from military sexual trauma, and for other conditions that may have possibly resulted from environmental hazards from serving in the Persian Gulf.
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