This article includes sections on:
- Introduction to VA Benefits
- The History of Veterans Benefits
- History of VA Physical and Mental Health Services
- History of the National Cemetery Administration
- Veterans Affairs Benefits
- Veterans Affairs Medical Specialty Care Services
- VA Benefit Options
- Housing Grants
- Vet Success on Campus
- Life Insurance for Vets
Our country’s veterans are among the most revered of our national treasures. These honorable men and women risked their lives and safety for the sake of America’s security and future. Despite that, they are among the least well served and rewarded demographic today. Veterans Affairs benefits exist to help the valiant men and women who put their lives on the line for the betterment of our nation. This article explains the various types of VA benefits, the way in which VA benefits are awarded, and the qualification and eligibility requirements for VA benefits.
While the U.S. has had a system for veterans compensation, it has never been as formalized as it is today. Below is a truncated history of the manner in which the United States has provided benefits for their service men and women:
Veterans of the United States Uniformed Forces may be eligible for a variety of programs and services provided by the department of Veterans Affairs. Whether or not you are eligible depends on if you have been discharged from active military services under circumstances other than dishonorable discharge. Moreover, most medical facilities offer further medical and surgical field services, including audiology, dermatology, neurology and many more.
Though many veterans get the all-inclusive medical benefits package, these differ to some degree, according to the veterans status. This Veterans Health Benefits include injuries, illnesses, potential health issues prevention, upgrading functional abilities and significantly improving quality of life. They provide the necessary medical services based on your VA care needs and other benefits therein. These services include:
- Routine medical exams (including gender-exclusive exams)
- Health and nutritional education
- Immunizations to fight against infectious diseases
- Advising inherited and genetic illnesses
You can receive health counseling and prevention. These services include immunizations to prevent diseases, screening to spot disease at an early stage, and behavioral counseling to avoid or reduce the risk of illness. They also provide health education and healthy living skills to better manage your health issues. The VA maintains registries for occupational exposures of U.S. Veterans during their military duties. They give free specially-designed examinations by VA environmental health clinicians.
VA inpatient care services offer a full range of therapeutic services like medical, acute, surgical and dialysis. They also provide services such as intensive care unit, transplant services, spinal cord injury centers, brain surgery and polytraumatic surgeries.
VA’s health care providers ancillary services are designed to advise, diagnose and manage your health-specific conditions from blind and vision rehabilitation, dental, physical therapy to social work (housing, discharge planning and family support).
Through expert care services, you are supplied with professional knowledge to enhance treatment in exclusive courses of care. These expert care providers only deal with therapy in their specific field or discipline.
- Chaplain (spiritual counseling)
- Bariatric surgery
- Geriatric care
- Gynecology care
- Infectious diseases
- Mental health
- Oncology (cancer)
- Orthopedic surgery
- Prosthetic (amputee care)
- Women’s care
- Pain management
A medical emergency can be received from a non-VA health care facility if they have an agreement as under Title 38 United States Code 1728. Considering payment may be limited when the veteran is stabilized, and you are required to be transferred, when you are medically stable, to a VA facility (for that, you should contact to the nearest VA facility as soon as possible).
VA may pay for non-VA emergency care if:
- You have a service-related injury at a non-VA facility
- You have non-service related injuries associated or causing problems with another condition
- If you are a VA participant in a VA chapter 31 Vocational Rehab program, if you need treatment to start your training or need to continue training
- Or if you have been diagnosed as being completely disabled due to a service related injury.
You may also receive care for your non-service related injury at a non-VA facility if you meet the following qualifications such as, service-relation, not service related injuries or not completely or permanently disabled. VA may pay for non-VA therapy if:
- The other VA benefits cannot be paid, a VA facility or federal provider is not conceivably available.
- Based on your average level of health, you believe that you are seriously injures and so the health providers are not acting prudently enough
- You have no contractual or legal aid
- You have no other coverage in a health care plan
There are a plethora of options that veterans are eligible to use. In this section, we will acquaint you to a few key benefits and ways they can be utilized by people who qualify for the programs and/or benefits:
Automotive Adaptive Equipment (AAE):
The Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program allows physically disabled persons to enter and/or operate motor vehicles. The vets are trained through the VA Driver Rehabilitation Program on how to safely conduct vehicles along the country’s roads and highways. The VA uses necessary equipment such as:
- Under vehicle lifts (UVL’S)
- Lowered floors/raised roofs
- Platform wheelchair lifts
- Hand controls
- Left foot gas pedals
- Power door openers
- Digital driving systems
- Reduced effort and zero effort steering and braking
The VA program also contributes reimbursement for standard equipment including power windows, power steering, power brakes, power seats and other disabled specific equipment.
Service-related non-driver vets will not be eligible for repayment of operational equipment. Veteran’s with a permanent visual and auditory impairment, service-related loss of hands, arms or legs, will not be eligible. It is also required that you submit the necessary information (i.e. valid driver’s license, VAF application for AAE, window sticker etc..)
Housing grants for disabled veterans are made available to allow service members and disabled vets to buy or construct an adaptive house or to make or modify an existing house. There are two grant programs: the Specially Adapted Housing grants and the Special Housing Adaptation grant.
Special Adapted Housing Grants assist veterans with permanent service-related disabilities to live on their own, and they can be used in these specified ways:
- Build a home that is adapted for the veteran
- Remodel an already built home that may be sufficient enough for disabled veterans
- Use this grant to counter the unpaid mortgage balance for an adapted home
Special Housing Adaptation Grants offer veterans with service-related disabilities to buy or modify working conditions with said disabilities:
- Modify already built homes for veterans or family members with which the vets lives
- Modify a home the veteran or family members of the vet in which the vet expects to buy
- Assist a vet in buying an already modified home
To determine whether or not a veteran is eligible for a housing grant, the veteran must qualify under the following permanent disabilities:
- The loss of both legs or the loss of use of both legs and/or arms
- Blindness in both eyes but only has light perception with a loss of limb
- Severe burns that fall under specific categories
- A maximum of up to three grants
You can apply for the grant in a number of options through online an application form, downloading the form and then mailing it to the nearest Regional Loan Center, visiting a regional office, or calling a toll number.
Veteran Employment Resources
Veteran Employment resources offer a number of programs that assist veterans in transitioning to civilian career. Here you will be supplied with the education on what to expect in the job market and how to talk about your military service, and also help with finding jobs through certain Veteran Employment Centers. They can also help if you have any service related injuries.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has created ways in which veterans, service members, and other qualified dependents, achieve success through organized delivery of on-campus benefits, and through advising and counseling services which can lead to the completion of their education and helping them prepare for careers.
These VSOC schools offers Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors as well as Outreach Coordinators to give peer-to-peer counseling and referral services. Veterans Affairs also coordinates with education institutions and schools to assist veterans in changing over from military to college life through counseling and referrals to medical centers and disability accommodations. The program began in 2009 at the University of Florida and since has expanded to 94 Vet Success on-Campus sites.
Veterans, service members and their families are provided with the life insurance benefits that give you and your family protection coverage.
- Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) allows veterans to change your service members Group Life Insurance to a civilian program of lifetime renewed term coverage after service discontinuation.
- They also offer coverage to spouses and children of service members or veterans. Spousal coverage however doesn’t exceed service members coverage, and children are covered at no charge.
- Disabled service veterans are given coverage for either a new service-related injury in the past two years, or full covered free of charge if they are completely disabled (as well as a chance to buy extra life insurance).
Veterans are an invaluable part of our society, having put their lives on the line to protect our liberties and way of life. In an attempt to rectify the numerous complications they face, improvements are constantly being made to the department of veteran affairs, with continually larger federal budgets. Still, there are major concerns that current amounts are not enough, and that conditions at the VA are not as they ought to be.
As a nation, we need to do all that we can to improve the status of those who have sacrificed for our well-being. At the very least, we need to provide our vets and their families with the resources and support they need to reintegrate into society and function as well as possible.