Military veterans can qualify for a variety of benefits with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, such as monthly pensions, health care and education and training. The District of Columbia's Office of Veterans Affairs strives to help DC veterans and their families apply for and receive the benefits and services they deserve for their contributions to our nation. You can contact the Office of Veterans Affairs at (202) 724-5454 for more information about these benefits and/or contact the Department of Veterans Affairs using their special toll-free hotlines.
The Department of Veterans Affairs can pay you monthly compensation if you are classified at least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service. You can receive a monthly pension if you are a wartime veteran with limited income, you are permanently and totally disabled, or you are at least 65 years old.
There is no time limit to apply for compensation and pension benefits.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a number of health care services:
- Hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy and prosthetic services
- Domiciliary, nursing home and community-based residential care
- Sexual trauma counseling
- Specialized health care for women veterans
- Health and rehabilitation programs for homeless veterans
- Readjustment counseling
- Alcohol and drug dependency treatment
- Medical evaluation for disorders associated with military service in the Gulf War or exposure to Agent Orange, radiation and other environmental hazards
The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide combat veterans free medical care for any illness possibly associated with service during a period of hostility for two years from the veterans' released from active duty.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
The Department of Veterans Affairs can help veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find and keep suitable employment. For veterans with serious service-connected disabilities, the agency also offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible. The following are some of the services the agency provides:
- Job Search-Assistance in finding and maintaining suitable employment
- Vocational Evaluation-An evaluation of abilities, skills, interests and needs
- Career Exploration-Vocational counseling and planning
- Vocational Training-If needed, training such as on-the-job and non-paid work experience
- Education Training-If needed, education training to accomplish the rehabilitation goal
- Rehabilitation Service-Supportive rehabilitation and counseling services
Education and Training
- Active Duty Service: Persons who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, are generally eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30). Those who entered active duty for the first time after December 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, are generally eligible under the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP).
- Reserve/Guard Service: Benefits are available to Reserve and National Guard members under [a] the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 1606) who signed a six-year commitment with a reserve unit after June 30, 1985, and remain actively drilling and in good standing with their unit, and [b] the Reserve Education Assistance Program (Chapter 1607) who were activated under federal authority for a contingency operation and served 90 continuous days or more after September 11, 2001.
Generally, veterans have 10 years from the date they were last released from active duty to use their education and training benefits and Reserve and National Guard members have 14 years from the date they became eligible for the program unless they leave the Selected Reserves before completing their obligation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a number of home loan services to eligible veterans, some military personnel and certain surviving spouses. Currently, there is no time limit to apply for a home loan.
- Guaranteed Loans- The agency guarantees part of a loan from a private lender to help you buy a home, a manufactured home, a lot for a manufactured home, or certain types of condominiums. The agency guarantees loans for building, repairing and improving homes.
- Refinancing Loans-If you have a Veterans Affairs mortgage, the agency can help you refinance your loan at a lower interest rate. You may also refinance a non-Veterans Affairs loan.
- Special Grants-Certain disabled veterans and military personnel can receive grants to adapt or acquire housing suitable for their needs.
Veterans can qualify for several forms of life insurance based on their military service and disabilities.
- Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is low-cost term life insurance for servicemembers and reservists. Coverage of up to $400,000 begins when you enter the service. Generally, it expires 120 days after you leave the service.
- Traumatic SGLI is automatically included in SGLI and provides for payment up to $100,000 for servicemembers who lose limbs or incur other serious injuries.
- Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is renewable term life insurance for veterans who want to convert their SGLI up to an amount not to exceed the coverage you had when you separated from service. You must apply within one year from separation from the service.
- Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance, also called "RH" Insurance, is for service-connected veterans. Coverage is $10,000. You may be eligible for a $20,000 supplemental policy if you are totally disabled. You must apply for RH within two years of being rated service connected by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Dependents and Survivors
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers benefits to surviving spouses and dependents of military personnel who died while in active military service and to the survivors of veterans who died after active service.
The Department of Veteran Affairs offers certain benefits and services to honor our nation's deceased veterans.
- Headstones and Markers—the agency can furnish a monument to mark the unmarked grave of an eligible veteran.
- Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC)—the agency can provide a PMC for eligible recipients.
- Burial Flag—the agency can provide an American flag to drape an eligible veteran's casket.
- Reimbursement of Burial Expenses—Generally, the agency can pay a burial allowance of $2,000 for veterans who die of service-related causes. For certain other veterans, the agency can pay $300 for burial and funeral expenses and $300 for a burial plot.
- Burial in a VA National Cemetery—Most veterans and some dependents can be buried in a Veterans Affairs national cemetery.
There is no time limit to claim reimbursement of burial expenses for a service-related death. In other cases, claims must be filed within two years of the veteran's burial.