Veteran's Benefits Law
There are several different types of benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) can offer. These benefits sometimes depend on the status of the person in question (are they on active-duty, a veteran, a spouse, or a dependent). This is far from an exhaustive list, but covers the most common types of benefits bestowed upon veterans and their dependants.
Dependents’ and Survivors’ Benefits
The VA has a Disability and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) fund that is payable to the veteran’s survivors if the veteran either:
A “Death Pension” is also payable to some surviving spouses and children of deceased wartime veterans depending on the surviving spouse and children’s financial needs. If nothing else, the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) which shares the cost of medical services for eligible dependents and survivors of certain veterans should help to provide for the dependents and survivors.
The VA will provide fairly extensive medical treatment free of charge. This includes 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, and medical evaluation from military service exposure to Agent Orange, radiation or other environmental hazards, including service in the Gulf War.
For combat veterans the VA will offer free health care for those who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998 for any illness possibly related to their service in that theater.
There are time limits to enroll in medical treatment though. You have 5 years from the date of discharge from active duty to file for medical treatment if you were discharged on or after January 28, 2003. If you were discharged before January 28, 2003 then you have until January 27, 2011 to enroll.
If you are a veteran you are entitled to disability benefits relating to an injury suffered as a result of your military service. The VA can pay you monthly compensation if you are at least 10% disabled because of your military service (i.e. injured in the line of duty). Additionally, the VA can pay you a pension if you are a wartime veteran with limited income and you are permanently and totally disabled or you are 65 or older.