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April 21, 2023

Top 72 Federal Veteran Benefits From A to Z (2024 Edition)

Last updated on May 2, 2024

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

Today, Brian Reese the VA Claims Insider reveals and explains the 72 Best Federal Veteran Benefits from A to Z.

Each of these veterans benefits have different eligibility criteria so be sure to click each one to learn more.

In our experience helping more than 25,000 disabled veterans, we’ve discovered many veterans and their dependents don’t even realize the incredible benefits available to them from the federal government.

This means you could be missing thousands of dollars of benefits you earned for you and your family!

Okay, let’s deep dive some of the best federal benefits available to veterans.

Table of Contents

List of the 72 Best Veteran Benefits This Year [2024]

List of Veteran Benefits

Additional Compensation for Eligible Dependents

Disabled veterans with a current VA disability rating of 30% or higher are eligible for an increase in monthly VA disability compensation to help support your family.

Disabled veterans can apply online for free and add/remove dependents at any time on the website inside their VA disability claim online application.

The application typically takes 30 days or less to add or remove dependents.

Sometimes the VA will call or write to verify your dependent status.

Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits

The VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound program is a VA Pension Benefit that helps cover the costs of daily living for housebound veterans and/or those in nursing homes.

Aid and Attendance benefits are a form of Special Monthly Compensation added to the amount of a monthly pension for qualified Veterans and survivors.

If the Veteran requires help with daily activities or he/she is housebound, click HERE now to learn more. 

Pro Tip: You can’t receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound at the same time. You’ll need to pick one or the other.

Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Veterans and Servicemembers

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a one-time payment to disabled Veterans of no more than $22,355.72 toward the purchase of an automobile or other transportation.

Additionally, the VA will pay for adaptive equipment, or for repair, replacement, and reinstallation of automobile equipment required because of disability. Payments for adaptive equipment may be made multiple times during the Veteran’s life.

Basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans

All enrolled Veterans receive the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) comprehensive Medical Benefits Package which includes preventive, primary and specialty care, diagnostic, inpatient and outpatient care services.

Veterans may receive additional benefits, such as dental care depending on their unique qualifications.

Caregiver Programs and Services

Family Caregivers provide crucial support in caring for Veterans.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes that Family Caregivers in a home environment can enhance the health and well-being of Veterans under VA care.

Under the “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010,” additional VA services are now available to seriously injured post-9/11 Veterans and their Family Caregivers through a new program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

Services for this group include:

  • Monthly stipend
  • Travel expenses (including lodging and per diem while accompanying Veterans undergoing care)
  • Access to health care benefits program (if the Caregiver is not already entitled to care or services under a health care plan)
  • Mental health services and counseling
  • Comprehensive VA Caregiver training provided by Easter Seals
  • Respite Care (not less than 30 days per year)

Cash-Out Refinance Loan

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Cash-Out Refinance Loan is for homeowners who want to trade equity for cash from their home.

These loans can be used strictly as cash at closing, to pay-off debt, make home improvements, and pay off liens.

The Cash-Out Refinance Loan can also be used to refinance a non-VA loan into a VA loan.

The VA will guarantee loans up to 100 percent of the value of your home.

Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Health Care Benefits Program

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV) Health Care Benefits Program provides reimbursement for medical care related to covered birth defects and conditions associated with a covered birth defect except for Spina Bifida.

CWVV is administered by the Chief Business Office Purchased Care located in Denver, Colorado.

VA can also reimburse expenses for covered travel to and from your doctor or health care facility within a reasonable commuting area.

Preauthorization is required for travel outside of the commuting area.

Additionally, some services require specific advance approval or preauthorization.

Clothing Allowance

Clothing Allowance is an annual sum of money paid to any Veteran who, because of a service-connected disability:

  • Wears or uses a prosthetic or orthopedic appliance which tends to wear or tear clothing, OR
  • Uses medication, which a physician has prescribed for a skin condition that is due to a service-connected disability and causes irreparable damage to the Veteran’s outer garments

Compensated Work Therapy

The VA Compensated Work Therapy Program matches and supports work ready Veterans in competitive jobs.

The program also consults with business and industry about their specific employment needs.

The program helps Veterans with disabilities get competitive employment in the community, working in jobs they choose, while receiving the support they need.

Concurrent Receipt of Military Retired Pay

The Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) program allows military retirees to receive both VA disability compensation pay, and military retirement pay.

Generally, you must be a regular military retiree with a combined VA disability rating of 50% or higher to qualify for CRDP.

Click HERE to learn more DFAS’s CRDP program for military retirees with a VA disability rating.

Dental Care

Outpatient dental treatment is available to eligible Veterans and may include the full spectrum of diagnostic, surgical, restorative, and preventive procedures.

In many cases, however, the law permits only limited kinds of care.

You are encouraged to also enroll in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system (or qualify based on one of the exceptions in the law).

Go to “Medical Benefits Package” to view the requirements.

Direct Home Loans for Native Americans

The Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program makes home loans available to eligible Native American Veterans who wish to purchase, construct, or improve a home on Federal Trust land or to reduce the interest rate.

Veterans who are not Native American, but who are married to a Native American non-Veteran, may be eligible for a direct loan under this program.

Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness Program

The Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness Program discharges the Federal Student Loan Debt of 100 percent disabled veterans.

It’s officially called the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program and has been a huge success to date.

And guess what else?

A little-known fact is that if you’re a veteran with a 100 percent scheduler VA disability rating (neither P&T nor TDIU status apply to you), you’re also eligible for federal Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness!

We’ve seen hundreds of fellow disabled veterans get their student loans COMPLETELEY discharged in under 30 days … Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars wiped clean overnight. 

Apply right now if you qualify!

Education – Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty)

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is an educational assistance program that provides up to 36 months of education benefits to those who have served on active duty and meet the requirements.

Education – Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)

The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents and survivors of certain Veterans.

You may receive up to 36 months of education benefits if you began using the program on or after August 1, 2018.

If you started using the program before August 1, 2018, then you may receive up to 45 months of education benefits.

Educational and Career Counseling

Educational and Career Counseling can help you:

  • Assess your vocational interests, aptitudes and abilities,
  • Explore career opportunities,
  • Obtain guidance on effective use of VA benefits and resources to achieve education and career goals,
  • Address barriers that may impede success in training or employment, and
  • Develop educational program objectives.

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Coverage (FSGLI)

Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Coverage (FSGLI) is a component of the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.

It provides coverage for spouses and children of Servicemembers insured under SGLI.

Non-military spouses are covered automatically for $100,000 or the amount of the member’s coverage, whichever is less.

Military spouses must apply for the coverage.

Premiums for spouse coverage are based on the spouse’s age and amount of coverage.

Dependent children are covered for $10,000 each at no cost to the member.

Foreign Medical Program

The Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is a Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ (VA) health care benefits program for Veterans with VA rated service-connected conditions that are residing or traveling abroad.

Under FMP, VA assumes payment responsibility for certain necessary health care services associated with the treatment of VA adjudicated service-connected conditions, disabilities associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected condition, and care for Veterans participating in a rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31.

Free Tax Preparation and Filing for Disabled Veterans

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers FREE tax help to disabled veterans who generally make $56,000 per year or less.

IRS-certified volunteers provide FREE basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.

Intuit Turbo Tax offers its online IRS Free File Program if you’re a disabled veteran with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $36,000 or less OR you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC).

Click HERE to learn more about this free tax filing software for disabled veterans.

Gratuitous Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (ARH)

Gratuitous Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (ARH) is a program that provides posthumous life insurance coverage for certain Veterans.

Headstones, Markers and Medallions for Placement in Private Cemeteries

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.

If the Veteran served on or after April 6, 1917, and the grave is marked with a private headstone or marker, the Veteran may be eligible for a VA furnished marker or medallion.

Health Care Benefits for Dependents (CHAMPVA)

The Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) (CHAMPVA) is a comprehensive health care benefits program in which the VA shares the cost of covered health care services and supplies with eligible beneficiaries.

Due to the similarity between CHAMPVA and the TRICARE program (sometimes referred to by its old name, CHAMPUS) the two are often mistaken for each other.

CHAMPVA is a VA program, whereas TRICARE is a DoD regionally managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors.

However, anyone eligible for TRICARE is not eligible for CHAMPVA.

Home Based Primary Care (HBPC)

VA Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) is a unique home care program that provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary, primary care in the homes of Veterans with complex medical, social, and behavioral conditions for whom routine clinic-based care is not effective.

In contrast to other home care systems that target patients with short-term remediable needs and provide episodic, time-limited and focused skilled services, HBPC targets patients with complex, chronic, progressively disabling disease and provides comprehensive, long term home care.

HBPC is designed to serve the chronically ill through the months and years before death, providing primary care, palliative care, rehabilitation, disease management and coordination of care services.

Home Loan for Regular Purchase

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan program guarantees loans made to eligible Veterans, Servicemembers, Reservists, National Guard members and certain surviving spouses.

VA guarantees a percentage of the loan.

This helps the Veteran obtain a no-down payment mortgage at a competitive interest rate that does not require private mortgage insurance.

VA-guaranteed loans may also be refinanced.

Go to Home Loan Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing to see the program requirements.

Veterans who want to take cash out of their home equity or refinance a non-VA loan into a VA-guaranteed loan, can obtain a VA-guaranteed cash-out refinance loan.

VA also offers a direct loan to Veterans who are Native American or Veterans married to Native American non-Veterans.

The Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program may help Veterans obtain a loan to buy, build, or improve a home on federal trust land.

Eligible Veterans may also get a loan to refinance an existing NADL and reduce their interest rate.

To obtain the most advantageous financing, VA encourages eligible Veterans, Servicemembers, Reservists, and National Guard members to meet with several lenders to determine the best mortgage terms to meet individual needs and circumstances.

Homeless Veterans Assistance Center

Veterans and families requiring assistance finding or keeping safe, affordable housing can access services for homeless Veterans and their families by contacting the VA Homeless Veterans Assistance Center.

Services include opportunities to return to employment, safe housing, health care and mental health services.

Homeless Veterans’ Programs

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) offers the following special programs to help homeless Veterans:

  • Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs
  • Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program
  • Substance Use Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program
  • Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence Programs

Go to “Domiciliary Care” for more information on Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)

A Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) can be used to refinance an existing VA loan to lower the interest rate.

IRRRLs do not require credit underwriting and may include the entire outstanding balance of the prior loan, to include closing costs and up to two discount points.

Please note that some lenders may require additional credit requirements for loan approval.

Therefore, VA encourages you to contact multiple lenders to determine the best loan option to fit your needs.

Loan Management

For Veterans or Servicemembers who have a VA-guaranteed conventional or sub-prime loan, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a network of eight Regional Loan Centers that can offer advice and guidance during times of financial hardship.

Borrowers may visit the Home Loans Information page, or call toll free -1-877-827-3702 to speak with a VA Loan Technician.

However, unlike when a Veteran has a VA-guaranteed home loan, VA does not have the authority to intervene on the borrower’s behalf for conventional loans.

It is imperative that a borrower contact his/her mortgage servicer as quickly as possible when faced with financial hardship.

Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs

Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (MH RRTPs) (including Domiciliary and RRTPs) provide residential rehabilitative and clinical care to Veterans who have a wide range of problems, illnesses, or rehabilitative care needs which may include mental health and substance use disorders, co-occurring medical conditions and psychosocial needs such as homelessness and unemployment.

All these programs provide a 24/7 therapeutic setting utilizing both professional and peer support.

Treatment focuses on the Veteran’s needs, abilities, strengths, and preferences.

There are several types of programs which include the following:

  • Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (DRRTP). A DRRTP provides a residential level of care for Veterans with issues related to medical, mental health, substance use disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, and homelessness. These programs are larger residential programs with multiple units serving various Veteran populations based on need.
  • Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV). A DCHV provides a residential level of care for a homeless Veteran population. A DCHV may be a standalone program or a unit within a larger DRRTP.
  • Health Maintenance Domiciliary. Health Maintenance Domiciliary beds provide a residential level of care for Veterans. Health Maintenance Domiciliary programs focus on symptom reduction and stabilization as part of the rehabilitative approach to facilitating community integration. A Health Maintenance Domiciliary may be a standalone unit or part of a larger DRRTP.
  • General Domiciliary (General Dom) or Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs (PRRTP). These programs provide a residential treatment level of care for a general Veteran population with a variety of needs. General Dom beds are a part of a larger DRRTP while PRRTPs are standalone units.
  • Domiciliary PTSD (Dom PTSD) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (PTSD-RRTP). These programs provide residential level of care to Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including provision of services for Veterans who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma. Dom PTSD may be part of a larger DRRTP while a PTSD-RRTP is a standalone unit.
  • Domiciliary SA (Dom SA) or Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARRTP). These programs provide a residential level of care to Veterans with Substance Use Disorders. Dom SA beds may be part of a larger DRRTP while a SARRTP is a standalone program.
  • Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)-Transitional Residence (TR). General CWT-TR offers therapeutic work-based residential rehabilitation services designed to facilitate successful community reintegration for Veterans. The program does not target any particular mental health diagnosis. The program requires concurrent enrollment in the Compensated Work Therapy program.

Mental Health Services

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides general and specialty mental health services for treatment of the broad range of mental health conditions, including treatment for substance abuse disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma (discussed in detail below), and serious mental illness.

Services are provided in the outpatient and inpatient mental health setting.

General and psychogeriatric mental health services are provided as an integral part of primary care within the Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) as well as VA nursing homes and residential care facilities where many Veterans receive care.

In addition to providing comprehensive, evidence based psychiatric care, there are several unique psychosocial services and resources available to eligible Veterans who have schizophrenia or another serious mental illness (SMI) through the mental health programs at VA medical centers (VAMCs).

A list of VAMCs can be found using VA’s Location Finder tool.

When calling for more information, please ask to be connected to the chief of the mental health service, the local mental health recovery coordinator, or the Patient Advocate.

Military Exposure Registry Examination Program

Veterans may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental hazards during military service.

Veterans who believe they may have been exposed to toxins or certain vaccinations with side effects are eligible to receive a voluntary medical assessment that will help the VA track data on Veterans’ health.

Military Sexual Trauma

VA provides free care for conditions resulting from experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred in the military.

Both physical and mental health treatment (including medications) related to these experiences are provided free of charge to male and female Veterans.

Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve)

The MGIB-Selected Reserve program provides up to 36 months of education benefits to eligible members of the Selected Reserve and meet the requirements.

Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a needs-based benefit paid to parents (biological, adoptive, or foster) who were financially dependent on a military Servicemember or Veteran who died from a service-related cause.

The foster parent relationship must have been in place for at least one year before the Veteran last entered active duty and prior to the Veteran’s 21st birthday.

The one-year period may end after the Veteran’s 21st birthday, if it begins before the Veteran’s 21st birthday and lasts at least one continuous year.

Partial Reimbursement of Burial Expenses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) burial allowance is a monetary benefit that is generally paid at the maximum amount authorized by law for an eligible Veteran’s burial and funeral costs.

VA may grant additional benefits for plot, interment, and/or transportation expenses.

Payments for Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Born with Certain Birth Defects

Biological children of women veterans who served in Vietnam may be eligible for a monetary allowance and possibly vocational training if the child(ren) have a birth defect which resulted in a permanent physical or mental disability.

The allowance is paid at one of four disability levels based upon the child’s degree of permanent disability.

Pharmacy Service

VA’s prescription benefit program is part of its comprehensive medical benefits package; it is not a stand-alone program whereby VA fills prescriptions for Veterans who are not enrolled in and receiving care from the VA health care system.

Only prescriptions written by a VA health care provider, or a VA-authorized provider can be provided by VA to eligible Veteran patients.

Your VA provider will review any prescriptions from a private health care provider during an appointment to determine if they can be rewritten by a VA healthcare provider and dispensed from a VA pharmacy.

VA prescriptions are commonly mailed to your home from a consolidated mail out pharmacy (CMOP) or if needed sooner, may be obtained from a VA medical facility pharmacy.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is an educational assistance program enacted by Congress for individuals with active duty service after September 10, 2001.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits.

Presidential Memorial Certificates

A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is a gold-embossed paper certificate bearing the signature of the current President of the United States and honors the memory of deceased, honorably discharged Veterans.

Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers)

VA provides eligible Veterans and their families readjustment counseling through 300 Vet Centers located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam.

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services including professional readjustment counseling to Veterans and families, military sexual trauma counseling, and bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.

A core value of the Vet Center program is to promote access to care by helping Veterans and families overcome barriers that impede them from using those services.

For example, all Vet Centers have availability during non-traditional hours after normal business hours as well as on Saturdays. All services are without time limitation and at no cost to the Veteran.

All Vet Center services are provided to the Veteran and their family without cost or time limitation.

All services are prepaid through the Veteran’s service.

Readjustment counseling is a wide range of psycho social services offered to eligible Veterans and their families in the effort to make a successful transition from military to civilian life.

Readjustment counseling services for veterans include:

  • Individual counseling,
  • Group counseling,
  • Family counseling for issues related to the readjustment of the Veteran,
  • Bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death,
  • VA medical benefit referral,
  • VBA benefits referral,
  • Employment counseling, guidance, and referrals,
  • Alcohol/ substance abuse assessments and referrals,
  • Information and referral to community resources,
  • Military sexual trauma counseling & referral, and
  • Outreach and Community education

Respite Care

VA medical centers can give the Veteran’s caregiver (family member or friend) a “break” by taking over the Veteran’s care for a limited time.

VA medical centers may provide respite care to an eligible Veteran for up to 30 days in a calendar year.

Families and patients who need respite care in excess of 30 days because of unforeseen difficulties, such as the unexpected death of the caregiver, may receive additional days of care with the approval of the medical center director.

Respite Care may be provided at the VA medical center, in a community setting or in the Veteran’s home.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI)

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) is life insurance for Veterans who have received a service-connected disability rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The basic S-DVI program, commonly referred to as “RH Insurance”, insures eligible Veterans for up to $10,000 of coverage.

Veterans who have the basic S-DVI coverage and are totally disabled are eligible to have their premiums waived.

If a waiver is granted, totally disabled Veterans may apply for additional coverage of up to $30,000 under the Supplemental S-DVI Program.

Premiums for Supplemental S-DVI coverage, however, cannot be waived.

S-DVI is closing to new applicants as of December 31, 2022, with the opening of a new program of insurance, Veterans’ Affairs Life Insurance (VALife), on January 1, 2023, discussed below.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is low-cost term insurance for members of the uniformed services.

SGLI is a group life insurance policy purchased by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from a commercial life insurance company.

SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum amount of $400,000.

Service members are automatically insured for the maximum coverage amount of $400,000 unless they decline coverage or elect a reduced amount.

SGLI members have two options available to them upon release from service.

They can convert their full-time SGLI coverage to renewable term insurance under the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program or to a permanent plan of insurance with one of the participating commercial insurance companies.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Disability Extension

The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Disability Extension is for service members who are totally disabled at the time of discharge.

The benefit allows the member to retain their SGLI coverage for up to two years after discharge at no cost to them.

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI)

Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) is a rider under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI).

It provides insurance payments of up to $100,000 to members who suffer certain serious traumatic injuries in service.

Services and Aid for Blind Veterans

VA provides personal and social adjustment programs and medical or health-related services for eligible blinded Veterans at selected VA Medical Centers maintaining blind rehabilitation centers.

Assistance comes in many forms. Services include assessment skill training, counseling, peer support, family education, and the provision of and training with assistive technology such as magnification devices, and adapted computers.

Specially Adapted Housing Grant

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides grants to Servicemembers and Veterans with certain permanent and total service-connected disabilities to help purchase or construct an adapted home or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability.

Two grant programs exist:

  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant and,
  • Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.

Under either grant, a Temporary Residence Adaptation grant (TRA) may be available to Veterans who are/will be temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member.

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) Benefits

VA Special Monthly Compensation, also known as VA SMC benefits, is additional tax-free compensation that can be paid to disabled veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses, and parents.

For disabled veterans, VA Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances, such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or by specific disability.

For example, the loss or use of a creative organ SMC-K, which is Erectile Dysfunction (ED) for men and Female Sexual Arousal Disorder for women. 

Pro Tip: You can apply for SMC online at!

Click HERE to view the 2024 VA SMC pay rates.  

Special Restorative Training

The VA may approve Special Restorative Training, if needed, to help the dependents of Chapter 35 benefit recipients to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability so you can work toward your educational or training goal.

Alternatively, the VA may approve Special Vocational Training to help dependents overcome a physical or mental disability.

Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program

VA Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program covers most health care services and supplies that are medically or psychologically necessary.

The VA can also reimburse expenses for travel to and from your doctor or health care facility.

Some services require specific advance approval or preauthorization.

Supplemental Service Disabled Veterans Insurance

Veterans who have basic Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) coverage and are totally disabled are eligible to have their premiums waived.

If a waiver is granted, totally disabled Veterans may apply for additional coverage of up to $30,000 under the Supplemental S-DVI program.

Premiums for Supplemental S-DVI coverage, however, cannot be waived.

Survivors Pension

Survivors Pension is a tax-free benefit payable by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and unmarried dependent child(ren) of a deceased wartime Veteran.

Survivors’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of military Servicemembers who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) Benefits

VA Total Disability Individual Unemployability, sometimes referred to as TDIU, Individual Unemployability, or just IU, is an extra scheduler benefit for qualifying disabled veterans to be paid at the 100% VA disability rate, even if they are rated below 100 percent.

Generally, you must be unable to maintain “substantially gainful employment” to qualify for TDIU.

Click HERE to read more about VA TDIU eligibility and Frequently Asked Questions. 

Pro Tip: Did you know you might be able to qualify for TDIU at any VA disability rating?

Travel Reimbursement

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is authorized to provide eligible Veterans and other beneficiaries mileage reimbursement, common carrier (plane, train, bus, taxi, light rail etc.), or when medically indicated “special mode” (ambulance, wheelchair van) transport for travel to and from VA, or VA authorized non-VA health examination, treatment, or care.

Use of Military Base Commissaries, Exchanges and MWR Facilities

CommissariesExchanges, and MWR facilities are now available in-person and online for disabled veterans with a service-connected VA rating between 0% and 100%, effective January 1, 2020.

If you’re wondering “Are all disabled veterans eligible for in-person and online commissary, exchange, and morale, welfare and recreation privileges on military installations?”

The answer is YES!

VA – Birth Defects Assistance – Payments for Children with Spina Bifida whose Parents Served in Vietnam or Korea

Spina bifida patients who are natural children of Vietnam, Korea and Thailand Veterans may be eligible for a monthly monetary allowance.

Please note: If you want to apply for either of the other spina bifida benefits (health care assistance or vocational training), you must start by applying for the monthly allowance.

VA Care in the Community

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) may authorize a non-VA health care facility to provide necessary medical care services when such services are not feasibly available at a VA health care facility, or VA determines that such services can be obtained outside the VA more economically or more appropriately due to geographic inaccessibility.

VA community care must be authorized by VA in advance – unless the medical event is an emergency. Emergency events may be reimbursed on behalf of the Veteran in certain cases.

See the Emergency Care Fact Sheet for information.

VA Community Living Centers (VA Nursing Home Care)

VA Community Living Centers (formerly known as nursing home care) are long-term care services provided to Veterans who need a skilled environment for short term and long term stays.

Certain Veterans must complete VA Form 10-10EC, Application for Extended Care Services at the time of placement to determine their VA copayment responsibility.

Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP)

Effective December 20, 2019, disabled veterans and their beneficiaries may use the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) to identify and apply to open an account at a participating bank or credit union.

Participating banks and credit unions are available to help disabled veterans and their families make finding a financial institution easier.

The VBBP can ensure you get paid faster, safer, and with fewer fees.

Veteran & Dependent Burial in VA National Cemeteries

The National Cemetery Administration honors eligible Veterans and family members with a final resting place and lasting memorial that commemorate the Veteran’s service to our nation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 136 national cemeteries, one national Veterans burial ground and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

Burial benefits include a gravesite in any of our open cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.

Some Veterans may also be eligible for a burial allowance.

Cremated remains are buried or inurned in national cemeteries in the same manner and with the same honors as casketed remains.

Burial benefits available for eligible spouses and dependents include burial with the Veteran and perpetual care of the interment site.

The spouse or dependent’s name and date of birth and death will be inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone at no cost to the family.

Spouses and eligible dependents are eligible for burial even if they predecease the Veteran and do not have to be interred in the same national cemetery as the Veteran.

To schedule a burial fax the discharge papers to 1-866-900-6417 and follow-up with a phone call to 1-800-535-1117.

Veteran Readiness and Employment Services for Veterans with Disabilities

Veteran Readiness and Employment Services for Veterans with Disabilities (VR&E) is an employment-oriented program that helps transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans with service-connected disabilities and an employment handicap to prepare for, obtain and maintain suitable employment.

Services may include employment assistance, short or long-term training, purchase of required supplies and equipment, and on-the-job training.

For Servicemembers and Veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities so severe that they may not be able to work, the program offers services to improve their ability to live independently to the maximum extent possible in their homes and community.

The support these Veterans are provided may eventually enable them to return to work.

VR&E utilizes the five tracks to employment model in the provision of services.

These employment tracks include:

  • Reemployment
  • Rapid Access to Employment
  • Self-Employment
  • Independent Living Services
  • Employment through Long-Term Services

Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program provides medical, social, vocational, and rehabilitation therapies to eligible alcohol and drug dependent Veterans.

The programs offer various forms of treatment including detoxification, rehabilitation, and psychiatric care.

Treatment programs are at various VA medical centers and clinics.

Veterans Life Insurance Policy Loans and Cash Surrenders

Policyholders who have eligible permanent plans of insurance may borrow up to 100 percent of the cash value of the policy after it has been in force for one year or surrender the policy for its cash value.

Loans are granted in any amount up to 100 percent of the policy’s reserve value, minus any existing indebtedness against the policy, plus interest.

Veterans Pension

Veterans Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to eligible wartime Veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements.

Veterans Prosthetic Appliances

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) provides medically prescribed prosthetic and sensory aids to eligible Veterans.

These aids include artificial limbs, hearing aids, communication aids, eyeglasses, orthopedic braces and shoes, wheelchairs, crutches, and canes.

If you need a prosthetic appliance, your VA doctor will prescribe one for you.

Veterans’ Compensation for Service-Connected Disabilities

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides eligible disabled Veterans with VA Disability Compensation, a monthly tax-free payment whose amount will depend on the degree of the Veteran’s disability.

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) provides for the conversion of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage to renewable group term insurance coverage after a service member’s separation from service.

VGLI provides up to a maximum of $400,000 of insurance coverage and is issued in $10,000 increments up to the amount of SGLI the member had in force at the time of separation. VGLI premiums are based upon the separating member’s age.

For those insured for less than $400,000, additional increments of $25,000 of coverage can be purchased after the first-year coverage is in effect and then every five years until age 60.

VGLI can be converted at any time to an individual commercial life insurance policy with any one of the participating commercial insurance companies.

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI)

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is a program for certain severely disabled Veterans.

It provides insurance coverage on home mortgages to Veterans who receive Specially Adapted Housing grants because of service-connected disabilities.

VMLI provides up to $200,000 mortgage life insurance.

Vocational Training for Children with Spina Bifida or Certain Birth Defects

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a monthly monetary allowance, health care specific to the disability, and vocational training, if reasonably feasible, for biological children diagnosed with Spina Bifida (except Spina Bifida Occulta) and certain other birth defects, born to Vietnam Veterans who meet certain criteria.

This program enables a qualified child to prepare for and attain suitable employment.

Services may include counseling and rehabilitative services, education, training, and employment services leading to suitable employment.

VA pays for the cost of these services.

A vocational training program may not begin before a child’s 18th birthday or the date of completion of secondary schooling, whichever comes first.

Depending on the need, a child may be provided up to 24 months of full-time training.

Entitlement to vocational training is based on eligibility determinations made by the VA regional office.

If the VA regional office grants a monthly monetary award for an individual with spina bifida, the individual should contact the local VA regional office to request vocational training.

Waiver of Insurance Premiums for Disabled Veterans

Some Veterans Affairs (VA) life insurance policyholders may have their premiums waived, if they become totally disabled.

Waiver of VA Funding Fee for Home Loans

Disabled Veterans with a VA disability rating of 10% or higher qualify for a waiver of the VA home loan funding fee.

Effective January 1, 2020, VA home loan funding fees range from 1.4% to 3.6% of the total loan amount (less any down payment).

For example, let’s say a first-time veteran home buyer purchases a $300,000 home and makes a down payment of $15,000 (or 5% of the $300,000 VA home loan).

You’ll pay a VA funding fee of $4,702.50, or 1.65% of the $285,000 loan amount.

Note the funding fee applies only to the VA loan amount, not the purchase price of the home.

So, if you’re a disabled veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, you are exempt from the VA home loan funding fee! 

Disabled veterans can check eligibility requirements HERE. 

Pro Tip: Veterans can download their VA Certificate of Eligibility form online, which shows the amount of benefit available to you.

Women Health Care Benefits

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) provides comprehensive medical services for women Veterans including:

  • Health promotion and disease prevention
  • Primary care
  • Women’s gender-specific health care, e.g., hormone replacement therapy, breast and gynecological care, maternity, and limited infertility (excluding In-vitro fertilization)
  • Acute medical/surgical, telephone, emergency, and substance abuse treatment
  • Mental health services
  • Domiciliary, rehabilitation, and long-term care

This program is available at all VA Medical Centers.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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