All of us living in the United States owe our freedom and out way of life to the selfless service of millions of men and women who have served in the United States military. If you are one of those people, or are the spouse of a veteran, you may be entitled to a wide range of veterans benefits. All too often, veterans and their dependents are unaware of the type and/or extent of the benefits to which they are entitled as a result of their service to their country. Moreover, the benefits you receive often increase with age, meaning you may qualify for additional benefits now if you originally applied for benefits many years ago. Navigating the application process for veterans benefits, however, can be frustrating and challenging. If you have questions about what veterans benefits you qualify for, are unsure how to apply, or have been denied benefits you believe you are entitled to, your best bet is to consult with a Missouri elder law attorney right away.
Factors That Affect Eligibility for Veterans Benefits
If you served your country in any branch of the military, or you are a dependent of someone who did, you could be entitled to veterans benefits. The type of benefits you qualify for will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- The length of service
- The type of discharge you received
- The branch of military in which you served
- Your rank when discharged
- Whether you served during combat
- Where you served
- Whether you were injured during your service
- Whether you are the veteran or a dependent of a veteran
What Type of Veterans Benefits Are Available?
Not all veterans will qualify for all veterans benefits. In order to find out if you qualify, however, you need to know that the benefits exist. While it is always best to work with an elder law attorney who knows all of the eligibility requirements and the ins and outs of the benefit application process, it may be helpful in the meantime to gain a basic understanding of some of the most common types of veterans benefits, including:
- Disability benefits – monthly compensation may be available to veterans who have disabilities, diseases, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service. The amount of benefits is directly related to the degree of disability as determined on a scale from 10 to 100 percent. “Special Monthly Compensation” are additional benefits that a disabled veteran may be entitled to if there are special circumstances that warrant additional benefits. A spouse, dependent child or dependent parent may also be entitled to disability compensation benefits.
- Death benefits for survivors – “Dependency and Indemnity Compensation” (DIC) is a tax-free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, or to survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities.
- Healthcare benefits – a veteran (and his/her dependents) is typically eligible for healthcare benefits for life after retiring or being discharged as a result of a service-related disability. No cost care is often available at the numerous VA hospitals across the country. Insurance also covers care provided by healthcare providers in the private sector.
- Pension benefits – a pension is a monthly monetary benefit paid for the life of the beneficiary. As a general rule, a veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty service, with at least one day during a wartime period to qualify for a VA Pension. A number of additional eligibility requirements also apply before you may be found eligible for pension benefits.
- Aid and Attendance benefits – Aid and Attendance benefits are an often unknown additional pension benefit, paid in the form of a monthly monetary benefit, available to veterans/survivors who require the assistance of another person or are housebound.
- Loan, education, employment benefits – veterans may also be eligible for a number of non-monetary benefits such as reduced rate mortgage loans, help paying for higher education, and assistance retraining or obtaining employment after leaving the service.
For more information, please join us for one of our upcoming free seminars. If you believe you are entitled to veterans benefits, but are unsure which benefits apply to you and/or how to go about applying for them, consult with an experienced Missouri elder law attorney. Likewise, if you have been denied veterans benefits you may be entitled to appeal the denial. Contact the experienced Missouri elder law attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.