Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Benefits & Services
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Veterans who have a mental or physical disability that was caused by or aggravated by their time in service may qualify for compensation benefits. This can include conditions caused by exposure to Agent Orange, radiation, mustard gas, asbestos, and environmental exposures in Southwest Asia (Persian Gulf). Coverage is also provided to those veterans affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to an in-service traumatic event.
This benefit is payable to low-income veterans with qualified war-time service who are either age 65+ or who are permanently and totally disabled based on a condition not caused by their time in service. There may be additional amounts available to eligible veterans and spouses who are in need of the Aid and Attendance of another person for daily living needs. (For example, in-home care or assisted living facility.)
Veterans receiving compensation or pension may be eligible for an additional allowance. This applies to the veteran's spouse and children, including children between ages 18-23 who are attending school.
Eligible veterans may use VA medical facilities for treatment of mental and physical health conditions. All service-connected disabilities and their treatment will be provided to the veteran, free of charge. Treatment for conditions not rated by VA as being service connected may require a copay. Eligibility for VA healthcare is not guaranteed.
Benefits include burial flag, government headstone/marker, and military funeral honors. If a veteran has a privately-purchased headstone, the family may ask for a VA medallion to add to the headstone to note the veteran's military service.
Veterans who receive a discharge other than dishonorable may be eligible for burial in the National Cemetery. Included in these services are the plot, mausoleum space, opening and closing of the grave, headstones or marker, and full honor guard services. There are minimum active duty service requirements that must be met to qualify for this benefit.
Veterans who meet eligibility requirements can receive assistance with the cost of education. There are several different programs; eligibility varies between each.
Veterans found to have a service-connected disability may be eligible to access this program which pays for schooling or training in a new career field, if the disability affects the ability to do certain jobs.
Home loan guarantees are issued to help eligible service members, veterans, reservists, and certain unmarried surviving spouses obtain homes or to refinance an existing home loan.
Veterans who have 90 days of active duty service (not for training purposes) and wish to purchase a home in California may be eligible for a home loan from the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Eligibility varies based on income and personal credit.
Veterans with a service-connected disability may apply for a Life Insurance policy. Application must be made within two-years of a condition being found to be service connected. Premiums and coverage vary.
Any veteran who set foot-on-ground in Vietnam, or whose Naval ship broke the coastal land barriers of Vietnam, is considered to have been exposed to Agent Orange. The VA has developed a list of medical conditions which they say may be linked to Agent Orange exposure. These presumptive conditions are eligible compensable disabilities.
California State Department of Veterans Affairs has several homes throughout the state designed to care for our elderly or disabled veterans. These homes offer different levels of care ranging from Independent Living to Skilled Nursing and Alzheimer’s Care. Payment for the facilities is based on income and level of care provided.
Student children of a veteran with a service-connected rating of 0% or higher may be able to attend any state college/university tuition free. The California State Department of Veterans Affairs will waive the fees at any state school for the children of a service-connected disabled veteran. Because this is a waiver of fees, the benefit is not applicable to private schools. If the veteran has a service-connected rating of 100%, the spouse of the veteran may also access this benefit.
The dependents of a 100% service-connected disabled veteran may be eligible to receive a stipend for attending a VA-accredited college or university. The children of a permanently and totally disabled veteran may use this benefit until the student reaches the age of 26. The veteran's spouse may access this benefit for a period of ten years after the 100% rating has been granted.
The dependents of a veteran rated permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected condition may be eligible for medical insurance coverage.
A child born with Spina Bifida to a male veteran who served in Vietnam may be eligible for monetary benefits to help offset the cost of their care. These benefit amount vary with the degree of disability of the child. The child of a female veteran who served in Vietnam and was born with certain birth defects may also be eligible for monetary benefits. The list of birth defects for children born to female Vietnam veterans is more extensive than the coverage for male Vietnam veterans. Please contact our office to learn more.
Eligible survivors of veterans who pass away from a service-connected disability are eligible for DIC. This is a monetary benefit payable to the surviving spouse or dependent children of a veteran because their death was caused by their time in service. This benefit is also available to survivors of a veteran who had a service-connected disability rating of 100% for ten years or longer, regardless of the cause of death.
Eligible survivors of veterans who served during a recognized time of war may qualify for a death pension benefit. The survivor must be low-income, as the benefit is income based. There may be additional amounts available to eligible survivors who are in need of the Aid and Attendance of another person for daily living needs. (For example, in-home care or assisted living facility.)
Spouses and dependent children of eligible veterans may qualify for burial in a National Cemetery. This benefit includes all services provided on cemetery grounds: plot or mausoleum placement, opening and closing of the grave, grave liner, and the headstone or marker.
There may be reimbursement of burial expenses associated with the passing of a veteran who was receiving either pension or compensation benefits from the VA at the time of their passing. Whoever pays these final expenses may apply for a partial reimbursement. Amounts vary depending on the circumstances of the veteran's passing.
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