Phone Numbers

Bereavement Counseling

 

1-202-461-6530

Education

 

 

 

1-888-442-4551

Headstones and Markers

 

1-800-697-6947

Health Care

 

 

 

1-877-222-8387

Homeless veterans

 

 

1-877-222-8387

Home Loans

 

 

1-877-827-3702

Life Insurance

 

 

1-800-669-8477

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Pension Management Center

 

1-877-294-6380

Special Health Issues

 

 

1-800-749-8387

Telecommunication Device

 

 

for the Deaf (TDD)

 

 

1-800-829-4833

VA Benefits

 

 

 

1-800-827-1000

 

 

Web Sites

VA Home Page .......................................................

 

 

www.va.gov

Education Benefits .........................................

 

 

www.gibill.va.gov

Health Care Eligibility .....................

 

www.va.gov/healtheligibility

Burial and Memorial Benefits .........................

 

www.cem.va.gov

Returning Servicemembers...........................

 

www.oefoif.va.gov

Home Loan Guaranty ...........................

 

 

www.homeloans.va.gov

Records ...............

www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel

VA Benefit

Payment

Rates ...........

 

www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/rates

VA Forms ..................................................

 

 

 

www.va.gov/vaforms

Mental Health.....................................

 

 

www.mentalhealth.va.gov

Federal Jobs ..........................................

 

 

www.usajobs.opm.gov

Veterans Preference ............

www.opm.gov/veterans/index.asp

Employment Assistance............................

 

www.vetsuccess.gov

Veterans Employment and Training................

 

www.dol.gov/vets

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

Life Insurance ........................................

 

 

www.insurance.va.gov

Department of Defense .............................

 

www.defenselink.mil

 

On the Cover: The year 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. VA traces its roots to institutions created by federal law under President Lincoln’s administration. The quote from Lincoln’s second inaugural address serves as VA’s motto and is at the core of VA’s commitment to veterans.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors

 

2009 Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Department of

 

Veterans Affairs


 

810 Vermont Ave., N.W.

 

Washington, DC 20420


U.S. GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL EDITION


 

 

Use of ISBN


 

This is the official U.S. government edition of this publication and is herein identified to certify its authenticity. Use of the 0-16 ISBN prefix is for U.S. Government Printing Office Official Editions only. The Superintendent of Documents of the U.S. Government Print-ing Office requests that any reprinted edition clearly be labeled as a copy of the authentic work with a new ISBN.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal Status and Use of Seals and Logos

 

The seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs au-thenticates the 2009 edition of Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents as the official summary of benefits that have been separately promulgated under Federal regulations established under the Federal

Register Act. Under the provisions of 38 Code of Federal Regula-tions 1.9(f), it is prohibited to use the official seal, replicas, reproduc-tions, or embossed seals of the Department of Veterans Affairs on any republication of this material without the express, written permis-sion of the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Any person using official seals and logos of the Department of Veterans

 

Affairs in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of 38 Code of

 

Federal Regulations 1.9 may be subject to the penalties specified in 18 United States Code 506, 701, or 1017 as applicable.

 

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, Washington, DC 20401

 

ISBN 978-0-16-082825-6


Contents     iii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

 

 

 

Chapter 1:  VA Health Care

1

Chapter 2:  Veterans with Service-

 

Connected Disabilities

19

Chapter 3:  VA Pensions

31

Chapter 4:  Education and Training

33

Chapter 5:  Home Loan Guaranty

43

Chapter 6:  VA Life Insurance

53

Chapter 7:  Burial and Memorial

 

Benefits

59

Chapter 8:  Reserve and National  Guard

65

Chapter 9:  Special Groups of Veterans

73


iv

Contents

 

Chapter 10:  Transition Assistance

79

Chapter 11:  Dependents and Survivors

85

Chapter 12:  VA Claims Decisions   Appeals

95

Chapter 13:  Military Medals and Records

97

Chapter 14:  Other Federal Benefits

101

VA Facilities

107

Index

153


Introduction

 

Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the U.S. Depart-ment of Veterans Affairs (VA). These benefits are legislated in Title 38 of the United States Code. This booklet contains a summary of these benefits effective Jan. 1, 2009. For additional information, visit the VA Web page at http://www.va.gov/.

 

La versión en español de este folleto se encuentra disponible en formato Adobe Acrobat a través de el link: http://www1.va.gov/opa/ feature/index.asp.

 

General Eligibility

 

Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service, other than active duty for training, as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, Environmental Science Services Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or its predecessor, the Coast and

 

Geodetic Survey. Generally, men and women veterans with similar service may be entitled to the same VA benefits.

 

Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees must contact a VA regional office to determine eligibility. VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstand-ing felony warrant.

 

Certain VA Benefits  Require

Wartime Service

Certain VA benefits require service

during  wartime.  Under the law, VA

recognizes these war periods:

 

 

 

Mexican Border Period: May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters.

 

World War I: April 6, 1917, through Nov. 11, 1918; for veterans who


served in Russia, April 6, 1917, through April 1, 1920; extended through July 1, 1921, for veterans who had at least one day of ser-vice between April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918.

 

World War II: Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 31, 1946.

 

Korean War: June 27, 1950, through Jan. 31, 1955.

 

Vietnam War: Aug. 5, 1964 (Feb. 28, 1961, for veterans who served “in country” before Aug. 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975.

 

Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law or Presiden-tial Proclamation.

 

Important Documents Needed to Expedite

 

VA Benefits  Delivery

 

In order to expedite benefits delivery, veterans seeking a VA benefit for the first time must submit a copy of their service discharge form (DD-214, DD-215, or for World War II veterans, a WD form), which documents service dates and type of discharge, or give their full name, military service number, and branch and dates of service. The veteran’s service discharge form should be kept in a safe location ac-cessible to the veteran and next of kin or designated representative.

 

The following documents will be needed for claims processing re-lated to a veteran’s death:

 

1.

Veteran’s marriage certificate for

claims

of

a

surviving

spouse

 

or children.

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Veteran’s death certificate if the

veteran

did

 

not die in

a  VA

 

health care facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Children’s birth certificates or adoption papers to determine children’s benefits.

 

4. Veteran’s birth certificate to determine parents’ benefits.


Acronyms

 

 

ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

 

CHAMPVA – Civilian Health and Medical Program of VA

 

CLC – Community Living Center

 

C&P – Compensation and Pension

 

COE – Certificate of  Eligibility

 

CRDP – Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments CRSC – Combat-Related Special Compensation

CWT – Compensated Work Therapy

 

CZTE – Combat Zone Tax Exclusion

 

DIC – Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

 

DoD -- Department of Defense

 

FHA – Federal Housing Administration

 

FSGLI – Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance HUD – Department of Housing and Urban Development

IRR – Individual Ready Reserve

 

MGIB – Montgomery GI Bill

 

MIA – Missing in Action

 

NPRC – National Personnel Records Center NSLI – National Service Life Insurance

OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom

 

OIF – Operation Iraqi Freedom

 

OPM – Office of Personnel Management POW -- Prisoner of War

 

PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 

SAH – Specially Adapted Housing

 

SBA – Small Business Administration

 

SSI – Supplemental Security Income

 

S-DVI – Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance

 

SGLI – Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance

 

SSB – Special Separation Benefits

 

TAP – Transition Assistance Program

 

TSGLI – Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance

 

USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

 

USDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture

 

VA – Department of Veterans Affairs

 

VEAP – Veterans Educational Assistance Program

 

VEOA – Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act VGLI – Veterans’ Group Life Insurance

 

VHA – Veterans Health Administration

 

VMET – Verification of Military Experience and Training VMLI – Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance

 

VR&E – Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VSI – Voluntary Separation Incentive

 

WAAC – Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps

 

WASPs – Women Air Force Service Pilots



Chapter 1                                                              VA Health Care     1

 

Chapter 1

 

VA Health Care

 

VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, community clinics, community living centers, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. For additional information on VA health care, visit: http://www.va.gov/health.

 

Basic Eligibility

 

A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dis-honorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA health care ben-efits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.

 

Minimum Duty Requirements: Veterans who enlisted after Sept.

 

7, 1980, or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty re-quirement may not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

 

Enrollment

 

For most veterans, entry into the VA health care system begins by applying for enrollment. To apply, complete VA Form 10-10EZ, Ap-plication for Health Benefits, which may be obtained from any VA health care facility or regional benefits office, on line at http://www. va.gov/1010ez.htm or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387). Once enrolled, veterans can receive health care at VA health care facilities anywhere in the country.

 

Veterans enrolled in the VA health care system are afforded privacy rights under federal law. VA’s Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how VA may use and disclose veterans’ medical informa-tion, is also available on line at http://www.va.gov/vhapublications/


2     VA Health Care                                                   Chapter 1

 

viewpublication.asp?pub_ID=1089

 

The following four categories of veterans are not required to enroll, but are urged to do so to permit better planning of health resources:

 

1.  Veterans with a service-connected disability of 50 percent or more.

2.  Veterans seeking care for a disability the military determined was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, but which VA has not yet rated, within 12 months of discharge.

 

3.  Veterans seeking care for a service-connected disability only.

 

4.  Veterans seeking registry examinations (Ionizing Radiation, Agent Orange, Gulf War/Operation Iraqi Freedom and Depleted Uranium).

 

Priority Groups

 

During enrollment, each veteran is assigned to a priority group. VA uses priority groups to balance demand for VA health care enroll-ment with resources. Changes in available resources may reduce the number of priority groups VA can enroll. If this occurs, VA will publicize the changes and notify affected enrollees. A description of priority groups follows:

 

Group 1: Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 50 per-cent or more and/or veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions.

 

Group 2: Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 30 or 40 percent.

 

Group 3: Veterans with service-connected disabilities rated 10 and 20 percent; veterans who are former Prisoners of War (POW) or were awarded a Purple Heart medal; veterans awarded special eligibility for disabilities incurred in treatment or participation in a VA Vocational Rehabilitation program; and veterans whose discharge was for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

 

Group 4: Veterans receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits and/or veterans determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled.

 

Group 5: Veterans receiving VA pension benefits or eligible for

 

Medicaid programs, and non service-connected veterans and non-


Chapter 1                                                              VA Health Care     3

 

compensable, zero percent service-connected veterans whose gross annual household income and net worth are below the established

 

VA means test thresholds.

 

Group 6: Veterans of World War I; veterans seeking care solely for certain conditions associated with exposure to radiation during atmo-spheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; for any illness associated with participation in tests conducted by the Department of Defense (DoD) as part of Project 112/Project SHAD; veterans with zero percent service-connected disabilities who are receiving disability compensation benefits and veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998 as follows:

 

1.  Veterans discharged from active duty on or after Jan. 28,

 

2003, who were enrolled as of Jan. 28, 2008 and veterans who apply for enrollment after Jan. 28, 2008, for 5 years post discharge

 

2.  Veterans discharged from active duty before Jan. 28, 2003, who apply for enrollment after Jan. 28, 2008, until Jan. 27,

 

2011

 

Group 7: Veterans with income and/or net worth above the VA national income threshold and income below the geographic income threshold who agree to pay copays.

 

Group 8: Veterans with income and/or net worth above the VA national income threshold and the geographic income threshold who agree to pay copays.

 

NOTE: While VA does not currently enroll new veterans into Prior-ity Group 8 at the time of publication of this guide, VA has proposed regulatory changes to re-open enrollment for veterans whose in-comes exceed the current VA means test and geographic means test income thresholds by 10 percent or less. Should these new regula-tions take effect as anticipated, VA will retroactively review all enroll-ment applications received on or after Jan. 1, 2009 to determine whether these new rules will allow enrollment.

 

Recently Discharged Combat Veterans

 

Effective Jan. 28, 2008, veterans discharged from active duty on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible for enhanced enrollment place-ment into Priority Group 6 (unless eligible for higher enrollment Priority Group placement) for five-years post discharge. Veterans


4     VA Health Care                                                   Chapter 1

 

with combat service after Nov. 11, 1998, who were discharged from active duty before Jan. 28, 2003, and who apply for enrollment on or after Jan. 28, 2008, are eligible for this enhanced enrollment benefit through Jan. 27, 2011. During this period of enhanced enrollment benefits, these veterans receive VA care and medications at no cost for any condition that may be related to their combat service.

 

Veterans, including activated reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible for the enhanced “Combat Veteran” benefits if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998, and have been discharged under other than dishonor-able conditions.

 

Special Access to Care

 

Service-Disabled Veterans: Veterans who are 50 percent or more disabled from service-connected conditions, unemployable due to service-connected conditions, or receiving care for a service-con-nected disability receive priority in scheduling of hospital or outpa-tient medical appointments.

 

Veterans who enroll with VA under this “Combat Veteran” authority will retain enrollment eligibility even after their five-year post dis-charge period ends. At the end of their post discharge period, VA will reassess the veteran’s information (including all applicable eligibility factors) and make a new enrollment decision. For additional infor-mation, call 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

 

Women Veterans

 

Women veterans are eligible for the same VA benefits as male veterans. Comprehensive health services are available to all women veterans including primary care, specialty care, mental health care and reproductive health care services.

 

VA provides management of acute and chronic illnesses, preventive care, contraceptive services, menopause management, Pap smears and mammography. Gynecology and maternity care are available and referrals are made to appropriate clinicians in the community for services that VA is unable to provide. In 1999, the uniform benefits package included a maternity care benefit for women veterans as well as infertility evaluation and limited treatment. Special initiatives include Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Centers and Clini-cal Programs of Excellence. For information, visit http://www.va.gov/


Chapter 1                                                              VA Health Care     5

 

womenvet/.

 

VA health care professionals provide counseling and treatment to help veterans overcome psychological issues resulting from sexual trauma that occurred while serving on active duty, or active duty for training if service was in the National Guard or reserves. Veterans who are not otherwise eligible for VA health care may still receive these services. Appropriate services are provided for any injury, ill-ness or psychological condition resulting from such trauma.

 

Women Veterans Program Managers are available at all VA facilities, See the facility locator at http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home. asp?isFlash=1 to help veterans seeking treatment and benefits. For additional information, visit publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth/.

 

Financial Assessment

 

Most veterans not receiving VA disability compensation or pension payments must provide information on their gross annual household income and net worth to determine whether they are below the annu-ally adjusted financial thresholds. Veterans who decline to disclose their information or have income above the thresholds must agree to pay copays in order to receive certain health benefits, effectively placing them in Priority Group 8. VA is currently not enrolling new ap-

 

plicants who decline to provide financial information unless they have a special eligibility factor.

 

This financial assessment includes all household income and net worth, including Social Security, retirement pay, unemployment insur-ance, interest and dividends, workers’ compensation, black lung ben-efits and any other income. Also considered are assets such as the market value of property that is not the primary residence, stocks, bonds, notes, individual retirement accounts, bank deposits, savings accounts and cash.

 

VA also compares veterans’ financial assessment with geographical-ly based income thresholds. If the veteran’s gross annual household income is above VA’s national means test threshold and below VA’s geographic means test threshold, or is below both the VA national threshold and the VA geographically based threshold, but their gross annual household income plus net worth exceeds VA’s ceiling (currently $80,000) the veteran may be eligible for Priority Group 7


6     VA Health Care                                                   Chapter 1

 

placement and qualify for an 80-percent reduction in inpatient copay rates.

 

VA Medical Services and Medication Copays

 

Some veterans must make copays to receive VA health care and/or medications.

 

Inpatient Care: Priority Group 7 and certain other veterans are responsible for paying 20 percent of VA’s inpatient copay or $213.60 for the first 90 days of inpatient hospital care during any 365-day pe-riod. For each additional 90 days, the charge is $106.80. In addition, there is a $2 per diem charge.

 

Priority Group 8 and certain other veterans are responsible for VA’s inpatient copay of $1,068 for the first 90 days of care during any 365-day period. For each additional 90 days, the charge is $534. In addition, there is a $10 per diem charge.

 

Extended Care: For extended care services, veterans may be subject to a copay determined by information supplied by completing a VA Form 10-10EC. VA social workers can help veterans interpret their eligibility and copay requirements. The copay amount is based on each veteran’s financial situation and is determined upon applica-tion for extended care services and will range from $0 to $97 a day.

 

Medication: Most Veterans are charged $8 for each 30-day or less supply of medication provided by VA for treatment of conditions that are not service-connected. For veterans enrolled in Priority Groups 2 through 6, the maximum copay for medications that will be charged in calendar year 2009 is $960. The following groups of veterans are not charged medication copays: veterans with a service-connected disability of 50 percent or more; veterans receiving medication for service-connected conditions; veterans whose annual income does not exceed the maximum annual rate of the VA pension; veterans enrolled in Priority Group 6 who receive medication under their special authority; veterans receiving medication for conditions related to sexual trauma related to service on active duty; certain veterans receiving medication for treatment of cancer of the head or neck; veterans receiving medication for a VA-approved research project; and former POWs.

 

NOTE:  Copays apply to prescription and over-the-counter medica-


Chapter 1                                                              VA Health Care     7

 

tions, such as aspirin, cough syrup or vitamins, dispensed by a VA pharmacy. However, veterans may prefer to purchase over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin or vitamins, at a local pharmacy rather than making the copay. Copays are not charged for medications injected during the course of treatment or for medical supplies, such as syringes or alcohol wipes.

 

Outpatient Care: A three-tiered copay system is used for all outpa-tient services. The copay is $15 for a primary care visit and $50 for some specialized care. Certain services are not charged a copay.

 

Outpatient Visits Not Requiring Copays: Copays do not apply to publicly announced VA health fairs or outpatient visits solely for pre-ventive screening and/or immunizations, such as immunizations for influenza and pneumococcal, or screening for hypertension, hepatitis C, tobacco, alcohol, hyperlipidemia, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer by fecal occult blood testing, education about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening, and weight reduction or smoking cessation counseling (individual and group). Laboratory, flat film radiology, electrocardiograms, and hospice care are also exempt from copays.

 

Private Health Insurance Billing

 

VA is required to bill private health insurance providers for medical care, supplies and prescriptions provided for treatment of veterans’ non-service-connected conditions. Generally, VA cannot bill Medi-care, but can bill Medicare supplemental health insurance for cov-ered services.

 

All veterans applying for VA medical care are required to provide information on their health insurance coverage, including coverage provided under policies of their spouses. Veterans are not respon-sible for paying any remaining balance of VA’s insurance claim not paid or covered by their health insurance, and any payment received by VA may be used to offset “dollar for dollar” a veteran’s VA copay responsibility.

 

Reimbursement of Travel Costs


 

Certain veterans may be provided special mode travel (e.g. wheel-chair van, ambulance) or reimbursed for travel costs when traveling for approved VA medical care. Reimbursement is paid at 41.5 cents


8     VA Health Care                                                   Chapter 1

 

per mile and is subject to a deductible of $3 for each one-way trip and $6 for a round trip; with a maximum deductible of $18 or the amount after six one-way trips (whichever occurs first) per calendar month. Two exceptions to the deductible are travel in relation to a VA compensation or pension examination and travel requiring a special mode of transportation. The deductibles may be waived when their imposition would cause a severe financial hardship.

 

Eligibility: The following are eligible for VA travel:

 

1.  Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated 30 percent or more.

2.  Veterans traveling for treatment of service-connected conditions.

3.  Veterans who receive a VA pension.

 

4.  Veterans traveling for scheduled compensation or pension examinations.

5.  Veterans whose gross household income does not exceed the maximum annual VA pension rate.

6.  Certain veterans in certain emergency situations.

 

7.  Veterans whose medical condition requires a special mode of transportation, if they are unable to defray the costs and travel is pre-authorized. Advance authorization is not required in an emergency if a delay would be hazardous to life or health.

 

8.  Certain non-veterans when related to care of a veteran (attendants & donors).

 

VA Medical Programs

 

Veteran Health Registries

 

Certain veterans can participate in a VA health registry and receive free medical examinations, including laboratory and other diagnostic tests deemed necessary by an examining clinician. VA maintains health registries to provide special health examinations and health-related information. To participate, contact the nearest VA health care facility or visit http://www.va.gov/environagents/.

 

Gulf War Registry: For veterans who served in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

 

Depleted Uranium Registries: VA maintains two registries for vet-erans possibly exposed to depleted uranium. The first is for veterans


Chapter 1                                                              VA Health Care     9

 

who served in the Gulf War, including Operation Iraqi Freedom. The second is for veterans who served elsewhere, including Bosnia and Afghanistan.

 

Agent Orange Registry: For veterans possibly exposed to dioxin or other toxic substances in herbicides used during the Vietnam War, while serving in Korea in 1968 or 1969, or as a result of testing, transporting, or spraying herbicides for military purposes.

 

Ionizing Radiation Registry: For veterans possibly exposed to atomic radiation during the following activities: atmospheric detona-tion of a nuclear device; occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki from Aug. 6, 1945, through July 1, 1946; internment as a POW in Japan during World War II; serving in official military duties at the gaseous diffusion plants at Paducah, Ky., Portsmouth, Ohio, or the K-25 area at Oak Ridge, Tenn., for at least 250 days before Feb. 1, 1992; or in

 

Longshot, Milrow or Cannikin underground nuclear tests at Amchitka

 

Island, Alaska, before Jan. 1, 1974; or treatment with nasopharyn-geal (NP) radium during military service.

 

Readjustment Counseling Services

 

VA provides outreach and readjustment counseling services through 232 community-based Vet Centers located in all 50 states, the Dis-trict of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Readjustment Counseling is designed to help combat veterans readjust to civilian life.

 

Eligibility: Veterans are eligible if they served on active duty in a combat theater during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or the campaigns in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Global War on Terror. Veterans, who served in the active military during the Viet-nam-era, but not in the Republic of Vietnam, must have requested services at a Vet Center before Jan. 1, 2004.

 

Services Offered: Vet Center staff provides individual, group, fam-ily, military sexual trauma, and bereavement counseling to combat veterans in the effort to make a satisfying transition from military to civilian life. Services include individual and group counseling, marital and family counseling for treatment of post-traumatic stress disor-der (PTSD) or help with any other military related issue that affects functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday


10     VA Health Care                                                 Chapter 1

 

life. Other services include outreach, education, medical referral, homeless veteran services, employment, VA benefit referral, and the brokering of non-VA services.

 

Bereavement Counseling: Bereavement Counseling related to servicemembers: Bereavement counseling is available through Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) Vet Centers to all immediate family members (including spouses, children, parents, and siblings) of servicemembers who die in the line of duty while on active service. This includes federally-activated members of the National Guard and reserve components. Bereavement services may be accessed by calling (202) 461-6530.

 

Bereavement Counseling related to Veterans: Bereavement counseling is available through any Veterans Health Administration medical center to immediate family members of veterans who die un-expectedly or while participating in a VA hospice or similar program, as long as the immediate family members had been receiving family support services in connection with or in furtherance of the veteran’s treatment. (In other cases, bereavement counseling is available to the veteran’s legal guardian or the individual with whom the veteran had certified an intention to live, as long as the guardian or individual had been receiving covered family support services.) This bereave-ment counseling is of limited duration and may only be authorized up to 60 days. However, VA medical center directors have authority to approve a longer period of time when medically indicated.

 

For additional information, contact the nearest Vet Center, listed in the back of this book, or visit http://www.vetcenter.va.gov/.

 

Prosthetic and Sensory Aids

 

Veterans receiving VA care for any condition may receive VA pros-thetic appliances, equipment and services, such as home respiratory therapy, artificial limbs, orthopedic braces and therapeutic shoes, wheelchairs, powered mobility, crutches, canes, walkers, and other durable medical equipment and supplies.

 

VA will provide hearing aids and eyeglasses to veterans who receive increased pension based on the need for regular aid and attendance or being permanently housebound; receive compensation for a ser-vice-connected disability; are former POWs or a Purple Heart award recipient. Otherwise, hearing aids and eyeglasses are provided only


Chapter 1                                                            VA Health Care     11

 

in special circumstances, and not for normally occurring hearing or vision loss. For additional information, contact the prosthetic repre-sentative at the nearest VA health care facility.

 

Home Improvements and Structural Alterations

 

VA provides up to $4,100 for service-connected veterans and up to $1,200 for non-service-connected veterans to make home improve-ments necessary for the continuation of treatment or for disability access to the home and essential lavatory and sanitary facilities.

 

For application information, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest VA health care facility.

 

Services for Blind and Visually Impaired Veterans

 

Blind veterans may be eligible for services at a VA medical center or for admission to an inpatient or outpatient VA blind rehabilitation program. In addition, blind veterans enrolled in the VA health care system may receive:

 

1.  A total health and benefits review.

 

2.  Adjustment to blindness training and counseling.

 

3.  Home improvements and structural alterations.

 

4.  Specially adapted housing and adaptations.

 

5.  Automobile grant.

 

6.  Low-vision devices and training in their use.

 

7.  Electronic and mechanical aids for the blind, including adaptive computers and computer-assisted devices such as

 

reading machines and electronic travel aids.

 

8.  Guide dogs, including cost of training for the veteran to learn to work with the dog.

9.  Talking books, tapes and Braille literature.

 

Eligible visually impaired veterans (who are not blind) enrolled in the VA health care system may be eligible for services at a VA medical center or for admission to an outpatient VA blind rehabilitation pro-gram and may also receive:

 

1.  A total health and benefits review.

 

2.  Adjustment to vision loss counseling and training.

 

3.  Low-vision devices and training in their use.

 

4.  Electronic and mechanical aids for the visually impaired, including adaptive computers and computer-assisted devices, such as reading machines and electronic travel aids, and


12     VA Health Care                                                 Chapter 1

 

training in their use.

 

Mental Health Care Treatment

 

Veterans eligible for VA medical care may apply for general mental health treatment including specialty services, such as PTSD and substance abuse treatment, which are available at all VA medical centers. To find the nearest facility go to www2.va.gov/directory/ guide/home.asp

 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

 

Veterans experiencing an emotional crisis or who need to talk to a trained mental health professional may call the National Suicide

 

Prevention Lifeline toll-free lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers are immediately connected with a qualified and caring provider who can help.

 

Work Restoration Programs

 

VA provides vocational assistance and therapeutic work opportuni-ties through several programs for veterans receiving VA health care.

 

Each program offers treatment and rehabilitation services to help veterans live and work in their communities.

 

Participation in the following VA Work Restoration Programs cannot be used to deny or discontinue VA compensation or pension benefits. Payments received from Incentive Therapy and Compensated Work Therapy transitional work are not taxable.

 

Incentive Therapy is a pre-vocational program available at 95 VA medical centers and frequently serves as a mainstay for seriously disabled veterans for whom employment is not considered viable in the foreseeable future. Participants receive a token payment for services provided.

 

Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a vocational program avail-able at most VA medical locations. Veterans receive an individualized vocational assessment, rehabilitation planning and work experience with the goal of job placement in the community. The program works closely with community-based organizations, employers and state and federal agencies to establish transitional work experiences, sup-ported employment opportunities, direct job placement and support-


Chapter 1                                                            VA Health Care     13

 

ive follow-up services.

 

CWT/Transitional Residence provides work-based, residential treatment in a stable living environment. This program differs from other VA residential bed programs in that participants use their earn-ings to contribute to the cost of their residences and are responsible for planning, purchasing and preparing their own meals. The pro-gram offers a comprehensive array of rehabilitation services includ-ing home, financial and life skills management.

 

Domiciliary Care

 

Domiciliary care provides rehabilitative and long-term, health-care for veterans who require minimal medical care but do not need the skilled nursing services provided in community living centers. A Domiciliary also provides rehabilitative care for veterans who are homeless.

 

Eligibility: VA may provide domiciliary care to veterans whose an-nual gross household income does not exceed the maximum annual rate of VA pension or to veterans the Secretary of Veterans Affairs determines they have no adequate means of support. The copays for extended care services apply to domiciliary care. Call your nearest benefits or health care facility to obtain the latest information.

 

Outpatient Dental Treatment

 

VA outpatient dental treatment includes the full spectrum of diag-nostic, surgical, restorative and preventive procedures. The extent of care provided may be influenced by eligibility category.

 

Eligibility: The following veterans are eligible to receive dental care:

 

  1. Veterans with service-connected, compensable dental conditions.
  1. Former POWs.

 

3.     Veterans with service-connected, non-compensable dental conditions as a result of combat wounds or service injuries.

 

  1. Veterans with non-service-connected dental conditions determined by VA to be aggravating a service-connected medical problem.

 

  1. Veterans whose service-connected disabilities have been rated at 100 percent or who are receiving the 100 percent rate by reason of individual unemployability.

14     VA Health Care                                                 Chapter 1

 

  1. Veterans participating in a VA vocational rehabilitation program.
  1. Certain veterans enrolled in a VA Homeless Program for 60 consecutive days or more may receive certain medically necessary outpatient dental services.

 

  1. Those with non-service-connected dental conditions or disabilities for which treatment was begun while the veteran was in an inpatient status in a VA medical center, when it is clinically determined to be necessary to complete such dental treatment on an outpatient basis.

 

  1. Veterans requiring treatment for dental conditions clinically determined to be complicating a medical condition currently under treatment.

 

Recently discharged veterans with a service-connected noncom-pensable dental condition or disability who served on active duty 90 days or more and who apply for VA dental care within 180 days of separation from active duty, may receive one time treatment for den-tal conditions if the dental condition is shown to have existed at the time of discharge or release and the veteran’s certificate of discharge does not indicate that the veteran received necessary dental care within a 90-day period prior to discharge or release. This includes veterans who reentered active military, naval, or air service within

 

90 days after the date of a prior discharge and; veterans whose disqualifying discharge or release has been corrected by competent authority.

 

For more information about eligibility for VA medical and dental ben-efits, contact the Health Benefits Service Center at 1-877-222-8387 or www.va.gov/healthelic~ibility.

 

Nursing Home Care

 

VA provides nursing home services to veterans through three na-tional programs: VA owned and operated Community Living Centers (CLC), state veterans’ homes owned and operated by the states, and the contract community nursing home program. Each program has admission and eligibility criteria specific to the program.

 

VA Community Living Centers: Community Living Centers (CLC) provide a dynamic array of short stay (less than 90 days) and long stay (91 days or more) services. Short stay services include but are not limited to skilled nursing, respite care, rehabilitation, hospice, and


Chapter 1                                                            VA Health Care     15

 

maintenance care for veterans awaiting placement in the commu-nity. Short stay services are available for veterans who are enrolled in VA health care and require CLC services. Long stay services are available for enrolled veterans who need nursing home care for life or for an extended period of time for a service-connected disability, and those rated 60 percent service-connectedand unemployable; or veterans or who have a 70 percent or greater service-connected dis-ability. All others are based on available resources.

 

State Veterans’ Home Program: State veterans homes are owned and operated by the states. The states petition VA for grant dollars for a portion of the construction costs followed by a request for rec-ognition as a state home. Once recognized, VA pays a portion of the per diem if the state meets VA standards. States establish eligibility criteria and determine services offered for short and long-term care.

 

Specialized services offered are dependent upon the capability of the home to render them.

 

Contract Community Nursing Home Program: VA medical centers establish contracts with community nursing homes. The purpose

of this program is to meet the nursing home needs of veterans who require long-term nursing home care in their own community, close to their families and meet the enrollment and eligibility requirements.

 

Admission Criteria: The general criteria for nursing home place - ment in each of the three programs requires that a resident must be medically stable, i.e. not acutely ill, have sufficient functional deficits to require inpatient nursing home care, and is assessed by an ap-propriate medical provider to be in need of institutional nursing home care. Furthermore, the veteran must meet the specific eligibility crite-ria for community living center care or the contract nursing home pro - gram and the eligibility criteria for the specific state veterans home.

 

Non-Institutional Long-term Care Services: In addition to nursing home care, VA offers a variety of other long-term care services either directly or by contract with community-based agencies. Such ser-vices include adult day health care, respite care, geriatric evaluation and management, hospice and palliative care, home based skilled nursing, and home based primary care. Veterans receiving these services may be subject to a copay .


16     VA Health Care                                                 Chapter 1

 

Emergency Medical Care in Non-VA Facilities

 

VA may reimburse or pay for medical care provided to certain en-rolled or otherwise eligible veterans by non-VA facilities only in cases of medical emergencies where VA or other federal facilities were not feasibly available. Other conditions also apply. To determine eligibility or initiate a claim, contact the VA medical facility nearest to where the emergency service was provided.

 

VA’s Foreign Medical Program

 

VA will pay for medical services for service-connected disabilities or any disability associated with and found to be aggravating a service-connected disability for those veterans living or traveling outside the United States. This program will also reimburse for the treatment of foreign medical services needed as part of a vocational rehabilitation program. Veterans living in the Philippines should register with the

 

U.S. Veterans Affairs office in Pasay City, telephone 011-632-838-4566. All other veterans living or planning to travel outside the U.S. should register with the Denver Foreign Medical Program office, .PO. Box 469061, Denver, CO 80246-9061, USA; telephone 303-331-7590. For information visit: http://www.va.gov/hac/forbeneficiaries/ fmp/fmp.asp.

 

Some veterans traveling or living overseas can telephone the

 

Foreign Medical Program toll free from these countries: Germany 0800-1800-011; Australia 1800-354-965; Italy 800-782-655; United Kingdom (England and Scotland) 0800-032-7425; Mexico 001-877-345-8179; Japan 00531-13-0871; Costa Rica 0800-013-0759; and Spain 900-981-776. (Note: Veterans in Mexico or Costa Rica must first dial the United States country code.)

 

Online Health Services

 

My HealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov): is VA’s award-winning e-health website, which offers veterans, active duty soldiers and their dependents and caregivers anywhere, anytime Internet access to VA health care information and services. Veterans can better manage their health care and make informed decisions in collaboration with their health care providers. To register, veterans simply need to go to Web site. With My HealtheVet, registrants can access:

 

VA benefits & services; local VA events and activities, personal health journals, tracking and graphing of vitals, military health history, activity/food journals, trusted health information and more.


Chapter 1                                                       VA Health Care       17

 

 

 

Veterans who receive care at a VA facility should ask about In Person Authentication or “IPA” to obtain an upgraded account which offers additional access to key features such as:

 

1.  Refill  VA prescriptions by name

 

2.  View VA appointments (coming in 2009)

 

3.  Obtain personalized VA appointment reminders and view the

 

VA appointments (coming in 2009)

 

4.  Obtain personalized VA wellness reminders (coming in 2009)

 

5.  Communicate with participating health care providers through secure messaging (coming to local facilities throughout 2009 and 2010)

 

6.  View lab results (coming 2010)



Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    19

 

Chapter 2

 

Service-Connected Disabilities

 

Disability Compensation

 

Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service. These disabilities are considered to be service-connected. Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of veteran’s dependents, and is paid monthly. Veterans with certain severe disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation. The benefits are not sub-ject to federal or state income tax.

 

The payment of military retirement pay, disability severance pay and separation incentive payments, known as SSB (Special Separa-tion Benefits) and VSI (Voluntary Separation Incentives) affects the amount of VA compensation paid to disabled veterans.

 

To be eligible, the service of the veteran must have been terminated through separation or discharge under conditions other than dishon-orable. For additional details, visit the Web site at http://www.vba. va.gov/bln/21/.

 

Receiving Disability Benefit  Payments

 

VA offers three disability benefit payment options. Most veterans receive their payments by direct deposit to a bank, savings and loan or credit union account. In some areas, veterans who do not have a bank account can open a federally insured Electronic Transfer Ac-count, which costs about $3 a month, provides a monthly statement, and allows for cash withdrawals. Other veterans may choose to

 

receive benefits by check. To choose or change a payment method, call toll-free 1-877-838-2778, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. -

 

4:50 p.m., CST.

 

Presumptive Conditions for Disability Compensation

 

All veterans who develop Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at any time after separation from service may be eligible for compensation for that disability.

 

Certain veterans are eligible for disability compensation based on the


20     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities                Chapter 2

 

presumption that their disability is service-connected.

 

2009 VA Disability Compensation Rates for Veterans

Veteran’s

Monthly Rate Paid

Disability Rating

to Veterans

 

 

10 percent

$123

20 percent

$243

 

 

30 percent*

$376

 

 

40 percent*

$541

50 percent*

$770

60 percent*

$974

70 percent*

$1,228

80 percent*

$1,427

90 percent*

$1,604

 

 

100 percent*

$2,673

 

*Veterans with disability ratings of at least 30 percent are eligible for additional allowances for dependents, including spouses, minor children, children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are attend-ing school, children who are permanently incapable of self-support because of a disability arising before age 18, and dependent par - ents. The additional amount depends on the disability rating and the number of dependents.

 

Prisoners of War: For former POWs who were imprisoned for any length of time, the following disabilities are presumed to be service-connected if they are rated at least 10 percent disabling anytime after military service: psychosis, any of the anxiety states, dysthymic disorder, organic residuals of frostbite, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease and their complica-tions, stroke and residuals of stroke.

 

For former POWs who were imprisoned for at least 30 days, the following conditions are also presumed to be service-connected: avi-


Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    21

 

taminosis, beriberi, chronic dysentery, helminthiasis, malnutrition (in-cluding optic atrophy), pellagra and/or other nutritional deficiencies, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer disease, peripheral neuropathy and cirrhosis of the liver.

 

Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange and Other Herbicides: A veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, is presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations.

 

Eleven illnesses are presumed by VA to be service-connected for such veterans: chloracne or other acneform disease similar to

 

chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothe-lioma), Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, diabetes mellitus (Type 2) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

 

Veterans Exposed to Radiation: For veterans who participated in

 

“radiation risk activities” as defined in VA regulations while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training, the following conditions are presumed to be service-connected: all forms of leuke-mia (except for chronic lymphocytic leukemia); cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract (renal pelvis, ureter, urinary bladder and urethra), brain, bone, lung, colon, and ovary, bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma, multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s disease), and primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated).

 

To determine service-connection for other conditions or exposures not eligible for presumptive service-connection, VA considers fac-tors such as the amount of radiation exposure, duration of exposure, elapsed time between exposure and onset of the disease, gender and family history, age at time of exposure, the extent to which a non service-related exposure could contribute to disease, and the relative sensitivity of exposed tissue.

 

Gulf War Veterans with Chronic Disabilities: may receive dis-ability compensation for chronic disabilities resulting from undiag-nosed illnesses and/or medically unexplained chronic multi-symptom


22     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities

Chapter 2

illnesses defined by a cluster of signs or symptoms.

A disability

is considered chronic if it has existed for at least six months. The

undiagnosed illnesses must have appeared either during active service in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War period of Aug. 2, 1990, to July 31, 1991, or to a degree of at least 10 percent at any time since then through Dec. 31, 2011. This theater of operations includes Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the airspace above these locations.

 

The following are examples of symptoms of an undiagnosed illness: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, skin disorders, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological symptoms, neuropsychologi-cal symptoms, symptoms involving the respiratory system, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, abnormal weight loss, and menstrual disorders.

 

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP) re-stores retired pay on a graduated 10-year schedule for retirees with a 50 to 90 percent VA-rated disability. Concurrent retirement pay-ments increase 10 percent per year through 2013. Veterans rated 100 percent disabled by VA are entitled to full CRDP without being phased in. Veterans receiving benefits at the 100 percent rate due to individual unemployability are entitled to full CRDP in 2009.

 

Eligibility: To qualify, veterans must also meet all three of the follow-ing criteria:

 

1.   Have 20 or more years of active duty, or full-time National Guard duty, or be a reservist age 60, or

2.   Be in a retired status.

 

3.   Be receiving retired pay (must be offset by VA payments).

 

Retirees do not need to apply for this benefit. Payment is coordi-nated between VA and the Department of Defense (DoD).

 

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) provides tax-free monthly payments to eligible retired veterans with combat-related injuries. With CRSC, veterans can receive both their full military retirement pay and their VA disability compensationif the injury is combat-related.


Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    23

 

Eligibility: Retired veterans with combat-related injuries must meet all of the following criteria to apply for CRSC:

 

1. Active or Reserve component with 20 years of creditable service or medically retired.

2.  Receiving military retired pay.

 

3.  Have a 10 percent or greater VA-rated injury.

 

4.  Military retired pay is reduced by VA disability payments (VA Waiver).

 

In addition, veterans must be able to provide documentary evidence that their injuries were a result of one of the following:

 

   Training that simulates war (e.g., exercises, field training)

 

   Hazardous duty (e.g., flight, diving, parachute duty)

 

  An instrumentality of war (e.g. combat vehicles, weapons, Agent Orange)

   Armed conflict (e.g. gunshot  wounds,  Purple  Heart)

 

For information, visit http://www.defenselink.mil, or call the toll free phone number for the veteran’s branch of service: (Army) 1-866-281-3254; (Air Force) 1-800-616-3775; (Navy) 1-877-366-2772. The Army has its own Web site at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/crsc/in-dex.html and e-mail at crsc.info@us.army.mil.

 

Programs for Service-Connected Disabilities

 

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program as-sists veterans who have service-connected disabilities obtain and maintain suitable employment. Independent living services are also available for severely disabled veterans who are not currently ready to seek employment. Additional information is available on VA’s Web site at www.vetsuccess.gov.

 

Eligibility: A veteran must have a VA service-connected disability rated at least 20 percent with an employment handicap, or rated 10 percent with a serious employment handicap, and be discharged or released from military service under other than dishonorable condi-tions. Servicemembers pending medical separation from active duty may also apply if their disabilities are reasonably expected to be rated at least 20 percent following their discharge.

 

Entitlement:  A VA counselor must decide if the individual has an


24     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities                Chapter 2

 

employment handicap based upon the results of a comprehensive evaluation. After an entitlement decision is made, the individual and counselor will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan. The re-habilitation plan will specify the rehabilitation services to be provided.

 

Services: Rehabilitation services provided to participants in the VR&E program are under one of five tracks. VA pays the cost of ap-proved training that is included in an individual’s rehabilitation plan. Subsistence allowance may also be provided. The five tracks are:

 

* Reemployment with Previous Employer: For individuals who are separating from active duty or in the National Guard or Re-serves and are returning to work for their previous employer.

 

*   Rapid Access to Employment: For individuals who either wish to obtain employment soon after separation or who already have the necessary skills to be competitive in the job market in an appropriate occupation.

 

*   Self-Employment: For individuals who have limited access to traditional employment, need flexible work schedules, or who require more accommodation in the work environment due to their disabling conditions or other life circumstances.

 

*   Employment Through Long-Term Services: For individuals who need specialized training and/or education to obtain and main-tain suitable employment.

 

*   Independent Living Services: For veterans who are not currently able to work and need rehabilitation services to live more independently.

 

Period of a Rehabilitation Program: Generally, veterans must complete a program within 12 years from their separation from military service or within 12 years from the date VA notifies them that they have a compensable service-connected disability. Depending on the length of program needed, veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or their part-time equivalent. These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances.

 

Work-Study: Veterans training at the three-quarter or full-time rate may participate in VA’s work-study program and provide VA out-


Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    25

 

reach services, prepare/process VA paperwork, work at a VA medi-cal facility, or perform other VA-approved activities. A portion of the work-study allowance equal to 40 percent of the total may be paid in advance.

 

Specially Adapted Housing Grants

 

Certain veterans and servicemembers with service-connected dis-abilities may be entitled to a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant from VA to help build a new specially adapted house, to adapt a home they already own, or buy a house and modify it to meet their disability-related requirements. Eligible veterans or servicemembers may now receive up to three grants, with the total dollar amount of the grants not to exceed the maximum allowable. Previous grant recipients who had received assistance of less than the current maxi-mum allowable may be eligible for an additional SAH grant.

 

Eligibility for up to $60,000: VA may approve a grant of not more than 50 percent of the cost of building, buying, or adapting exist-ing homes or paying to reduce indebtedness on a currently owned home that is being adapted, up to a maximum of $60,000. In certain instances, the full grant amount may be applied toward remodeling costs. Veterans and servicemembers must be determined eligible to receive compensation for permanent and total service-connected disability due to one of the following:

 

1.  Loss or loss of use of both lower extremities, such as to preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes or a wheelchair.

 

2.  Loss or loss of use of both upper extremities at or above the elbow.

3.  Blindness in either eye with 5/200 visual activity or less.

 

4.  Loss or loss of use of one lower extremity together with (a) residuals of organic disease or injury, or (b) the loss or loss of

 

use of one upper extremity which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude locomotion without the use of braces, canes, crutches or a wheelchair.

 

5. Severe burn injuries

 

Eligibility for up to $12,000: VA may approve a grant for the cost, up to a maximum of $12,000, for necessary adaptations to a vet-eran’s or servicemember’s residence or to help them acquire a residence already adapted with special features for their disability, to purchase and adapt a home, or for adaptations to a family member’s


26     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities                Chapter 2

 

home in which they will reside.

 

To be eligible for this grant, veterans and servicemembers must be entitled to compensation for permanent and total service-connected disability due to one of the following:

 

1.  Blindness in both eyes with 5/200 visual acuity or less.

 

2.  Anatomical loss or loss of use of both hands.

 

3.  Severe burn injuries.

 

Eligible veterans and servicemembers who are temporarily residing in a home owned by a family member may also receive a Temporary

 

Residence Adaptation (TRA) grant to help the veteran or service-member adapt the family member’s home to meet his or her special needs. Those eligible for a $60,000 grant would be permitted to use up to $14,000 and those eligible for a $12,000 grant would be permitted to use up to $2,000. Grant amounts will also be adjusted annually based on a cost-of-construction index. The first adjust-ment will occur Oct. 1, 2009, with adjustments each Oct. 1 thereafter. These adjustments will increase the grant amounts or leave them unchanged; they will not decrease the grant amounts.

 

The property must be located within the United States, which, for purposes of 38 U.S.C. chapter 21, includes the several states, ter-ritories, and possessions, including the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

Additionally, the property may be located outside the United States, in a country or political subdivision which allows individuals to have or acquire a beneficial property interest, and in which the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, in his or her discretion, has determined that it is reasonably practicable for the Secretary to provide assistance in acquiring specially adapted housing.

 

Supplemental Financing: Veterans and servicemembers with avail-able loan guaranty entitlement may also obtain a guaranteed loan or a direct loan from VA to supplement the grant to acquire a spe-cially adapted home. Amounts with a guaranteed loan from a private lender will vary, but the maximum direct loan from VA is $33,000.

 

Additional information about the Specially Adapted Housing Program is available on VA’s Web site at http://www.homeloans.va.gov/sah. htm.


Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    27

 

Adapting an Automobile

 

Veterans and servicemembers may be eligible for a one-time pay-ment of not more than $11,000 toward the purchase of an automobile or other conveyance if they have service-connected loss or perma-nent loss of use of one or both hands or feet, permanent impairment of vision of both eyes to a certain degree, or ankylosis (immobility) of one or both knees or one or both hips. They may also be eligible for adaptive equipment, and for repair, replacement, or reinstallation required because of disability or for the safe operation of a vehicle purchased with VA assistance. To apply, contact a VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000 or the nearest VA medical center.

 

Clothing Allowance

 

Any veteran who is service-connected for a disability for which he or she uses prosthetic or orthopedic appliances may receive an annual clothing allowance. This allowance also is available to any veteran whose service-connected skin condition requires prescribed medica-tion that irreparably damages outer garments. To apply, contact the prosthetic representative at the nearest VA medical center.

 

Aid and Attendance for Housebound Veterans

 

A veteran who is determined by VA to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person, or a veteran who is permanently housebound, may be entitled to additional disability compensation or pension payments. A veteran evaluated at 30 percent or more dis-abled is entitled to receive an additional payment for a spouse who is in need of the aid and attendance of another person.

 

2009 Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Rates

 

In some cases, a veteran requires additional education or training to become employable. A subsistence allowance is paid each month during training and is based on the rate of attendance (full-time or part-time), the number of dependents, and the type of training. The charts below show the rates as of Oct. 1, 2008.


28     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities                Chapter 2

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for training in an institution of higher learning.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$541.05

$671.13

$790.87

$57.65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/4-time

$406.53

$504.07

$591.28

$44.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/2-time

$272.02

$337.03

$396.17

$29.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for full-time training only in non-pay or nominal pay on-the-job training in a federal, state, local or federally recognized Indian tribe agency; training in the home; and vocational training in a rehabilitation facility or sheltered workshop.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$541.05

$671.13

$790.87

$57.65

 

 

 

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for non-pay or nominal pay work experience in a federal, state, local or federally recognized Indian tribe agency.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$541.05

$671.13

$790.87

$57.65

 


Chapter 2                    Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities    29

 

 

3/4-time

$406.53

$504.07

$591.28

$44.33

1/2-time

$272.02

$337.03

$396.17

$29.58

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for full-time training only in farm cooperative, apprenticeship, and other on-job training. Payments are variable, based on the wages received. The maximum rates are:

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$473.05

$572.06

$659.30

$42.89

 

 

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for training programs that include a combination of institutional and on-job training.

 

Greater

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Than Half-

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

Time

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instition-

 

 

 

 

 

tional

$541.05

$671.13

$659.30

$42.89

 

On-job

$473.05

572.06

$659.30

$42.89

 

 

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates for full-time training only for non-farm cooperative institutional training and non-farm cooperative on-job training.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instition-

$541.05

$671.13

$659.30

$42.89

 

tional

 

 

 

 

 

On-job

$473.05

572.06

$659.30

$42.89

 


30     Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities                Chapter 2

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates during the period of enrollment in a rehabilitation facility when a veteran is pursuing an approved independent living program plan.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$541.05

$671.13

$790.87

$57.65

 

3/4-time

$406.53

$504.07

$591.28

$44.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/2–time

$272.02

$337.03

$396.17

$29.58

 

 

 

Subsistence allowance is paid at the following monthly rates during the period of enrollment in a rehabilitation facility when a veteran requires this service fpr the purpose of extended evalu-ation.

 

Training

Veterans

Veterans

Veterans

Additional

 

Time

With No

With One

With Two

Dependent

 

 

 

 

Dependents

Dependent

Dependents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full-time

$541.05

$671.13

$790.87

$57.65

 

3/4-time

$406.53

$504.07

$591.28

$44.33

 

1/2-time

$272.02

$337.03

$396.17

$29.58

 

1/4–time

$135.99

$168.53

$198.07

$14.75

 


Chapter 3                                                                VA Pensions     31

 

Chapter 3

 

VA Pensions

 

Eligibility for Disability Pension

 

Veterans with low incomes who are permanently and totally disabled, or are age 65 and older, may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. (Veterans who entered active duty on or after Sept. 8, 1980, or officers who entered active duty on or after Oct. 16, 1981, may have to meet a longer minimum period of active duty). The veteran’s discharge must have been under condi-tions other than dishonorable and the disability must be for reasons other than the veteran’s own willful misconduct.

 

Payments are made to bring the veteran’s total income, including other retirement or Social Security income, to a level set by Con-gress. Un-reimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income for VA purposes.

 

Protected Pension

 

Pension beneficiaries,  who  were receiving a  VA pension on Dec. 31,

 

1978, and do not wish to elect the Improved Pension, will continue to receive the pension rate received on that date. This rate generally continues as long as the beneficiary’s income remains within estab-lished limits, or net worth does not bar payment, and the beneficiary does not lose any dependents.

 

Beneficiaries must continue to meet basic eligibility factors, such as permanent and total disability for veterans. VA must adjust rates for other reasons, such as a veteran’s hospitalization in a VA facility.

 

Medal of Honor Pension

 

VA administers pensions to recipients of the Medal of Honor. Con-gress set the monthly pension at $1,194 effective Dec. 1, 2008.

 

Improved Disability Pension

 

Congress establishes the maximum annual improved disability pension rates. Payments are reduced by the amount of countable income of the veteran, spouse and dependent children. When a


32     VA Pensions                                                               Chapter 3

 

veteran without a spouse or a child is furnished nursing home or domiciliary care by VA, the pension is reduced to an amount not to exceed $90 per month after three calendar months of care. The

 

reduction may be delayed if nursing-home care is being continued to provide the veteran with rehabilitation services.

2009 VA Improved Disability Pension Rates

Status of Veteran’s

Maximum

Family Situation and

Annual Rate

Caretaking Needs

 

Veteran without

$11,830

dependents

 

Veteran with one

$15,493

dependent

 

Veteran permanently house-

 

bound, no

$14,457

dependents

 

Veteran permanently house-

 

bound, one

$18,120

dependent

 

Veteran needing regular aid

 

and attendance, no depen-

$19,736

dents

 

Veteran needing regular aid

 

and attendance,

$23,396

one dependent

 

Two veterans married to one

$15,493

another

 

Increase for each additional

$2,020

dependent child

 

* Additional information can be found in the Compensation and Pension Ben-efits section of VA’s Internet pages at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/index.

htm.


Chapter 4                                                 Education and Training     33

 

Chapter 4

 

Education and Training

 

This chapter provides a summary of VA educational and training ben-efits. Additional information can be found at http://www.gibill.va.gov/ or by calling 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).

 

Post – 9/11 GI Bill

 

Eligibility: The Post- 9/11 GI Bill is a new education benefit program for servicemembers and veterans who served on active duty on or after Sept.11, 2001. Benefits are payable for training pursued on or after Aug. 1, 2009. No payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.

 

To be eligible, the servicemember or veteran must serve at least 90 aggregate days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, and remain on active duty or be honorably:

 

1.  Discharged from active duty status;

 

2.  Released from active duty and placed on the retired list or temporary disability retired list;

3.  Released from active duty and transferred to the Fleet Reserve or Fleet Marine Corps Reserve;

4.  Released from active duty for further service in a reserve component of the Armed Forces.

 

Veterans may also be eligible if they were honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving 30 continu-ous days after Sept. 10, 2001.

 

Generally, servicemembers or veterans may receive up to 36 months of entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

 

Eligibility for benefits expires 15 years from the last period of active duty of at least 90 consecutive days. If released for a service-con-nected disability after at least 30 days of continuous service, eligibil-ity ends 15 years from when the member is released for the service-connected disability.

 

If, on Aug.1, 2009, the servicemember or veteran is eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill; the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve; or


34     Education and Training                                               Chapter 4

 

the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, and qualifies for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, an irrevocable election must be made to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In most instances, once the election to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is made, the individual will no longer be eligible to receive benefits under the relin-quished program.

 

Based on the length of active duty service, eligible participants are entitled to receive a percentage of the following:

 

1. Cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher education (paid directly to the school);

 

2.  Monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents, in the same zip code as the primary school (paid directly to the servicemember or veteran);

 

3. Yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1000 per year (paid directly to the servicemember or veteran); and

4. A one-time payment of $500 paid to certain individuals relocating from highly rural areas.

 

* The housing allowance and books and supplies stipend are not pay-able to individuals on active duty. The housing allowance is not payable to those pursuing training at half time or less or to individuals enrolled solely in

 

distance learning programs.

 

Benefits may be used for any approved program offered by a school in the United States that is authorized to grant an associate (or higher) degree. Call 1-888-442-4551 or visit www.gibill.va.gov for information about attending school in a foreign country.

 

If entitlement to the Post-9/11 GI Bill was the result of transferring from the Montgomery GI Bill; the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Re-serve; or the Reserve Education Assistance Program, recipients may also receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for flight training, apprentice-ship or on-the-job training programs, and correspondence courses. Individuals serving an aggregate period of active duty after Sept. 10, 2001 can recieve the following percentages based on length of service:


Chapter 4

Education and Training

35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active duty service

Maximum Benefit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 36 months

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 30 continuous days

100%

 

 

 

and discharged due to service-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

connected disability

 

 

 

 

At least 30 months < 36 months

90%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 24 months < 30 months

80%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 18 months < 24 months

70%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 12 months < 18 months

60%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 6 months < 12 months

50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 90 days < 6 months

40%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transfer of Entitlement (TOE): DOD may offer members of the Armed Forces on or after Aug.1, 2009, the opportunity to transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent children. DOD and the military services must approve all requests for this benefit. Members of the Armed Forces approved for the TOE may only transfer any unused portion of their Post – 9/11 GI Bill benefits while a member of the Armed Forces, subject to their period of eligibility.

 

Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program: was enacted to potentially assist eligible individuals with payment of their tuition and fees in instances where costs exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher educa-tion. To be eligible, the student must be: a veteran receiving bene-fits at the 100% benefit rate payable, a transfer-of-entitlement eligible dependent child, or a transfer-of-entitlement eligible spouse of a veteran. The school of attendance must have accepted VA’s invita-tion to participate in the program, state how much student tuition will be waived (up to 50%) and how many participants will be accepted into the program during the current academic year. VA will match the school’s percentage (up to 50%) to reduce or eliminate out-of-pocket costs for eligible participants.

 

 

Work-Study Program: Veterans and eligible transfer-of-entitlement recipients who train at the three-quarter rate of pursuit or higher may be eligible for a work-study program in which they work for VA and receive hourly wages. Students under the work-study program


36     Education and Training                                               Chapter 4

 

must be supervised by a VA employee and all duties performed must relate to VA. The types of work allowed include:

 

1.  VA paperwork processing at schools or other training facilities.

 

2. Assistance with patient care at VA hospitals or domiciliary care facilities.

3.  Work at national or state veterans’ cemeteries.

 

4.  Various jobs within any VA regional office.

 

5.  Other VA-approved activities.

 

Educational and Vocational Counseling Services: Refer to Chap-ter 10, “Transition Assistance”, for detailed information on available services.

 

Montgomery GI Bill

 

Eligibility: VA educational benefits may be used while the service-member is on active duty or after the servicemember’s separation from active duty with a fully honorable military discharge. Discharges “under honorable conditions” and “general” discharges do not estab-lish eligibility.

 

Eligibility generally expires 10 years after the servicemember’s discharge. However, there are exceptions for disability, re-entering active duty, and upgraded discharges.

 

All participants must have a high school diploma, equivalency cer-tificate, or have completed 12 hours toward a college degree before applying for benefits.

 

Previously, servicemembers had to meet the high school requirement before they completed their initial active duty obligation. Those who did not may now meet the requirement and reapply for benefits. If eligible, they must use their benefits either within 10 years from the date of last discharge from active duty or by Nov. 2, 2010, whichever is later.

 

Additionally, every veteran must establish eligibility under one of four categories.

 

Category 1: Service after June 30, 1985

 

For veterans who entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, did not decline MGIB in writing, and had their military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months. Servicemembers can


Chapter 4                                                 Education and Training     37

 

apply after completing two continuous years of service. Veterans must have completed three continuous years of active duty, or two continuous years of active duty if they first signed up for less than three years or have an obligation to serve four years in the Selected Reserve (the 2x4 program) and enter the Selected Reserve within one year of discharge.

 

Service-members or veterans who received a commission as a result of graduation from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship are not eligible under Category 1 unless they received their commission:

 

1.   After becoming eligible for MGIB benefits (including completing the minimum service requirements for the initial period of active duty).

 

2.   Or after Sept.30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC scholarship.

 

Servicemembers or veterans who declined MGIB because they received repayment from the military for education loans are also ineligible under Category 1. If they did not decline MGIB and re-ceived loan repayments, the months served to repay the loans will be deducted from their entitlement.

 

Early Separation from Military Service: Servicemembers who did not complete the required period of military service may be eligible under Category 1 if discharged for one of the following:

 

1. Convenience of the government—with 30 continuous months of service for an obligation of three or more years, or 20 continuous months of service for an obligation of less than three years

 

2.   Service-connected disability.

 

3.   Hardship.

 

4.  A medical condition diagnosed prior to joining the military.

 

5.  A condition that interfered with performance of duty and did not result from misconduct.

6.  A reduction in force (in most cases).

 

7.   Sole Survivorship (if discharged after 9/11/01)

 

Category 2: Vietnam Era GI Bill Conversion

 

For veterans who had remaining entitlement under the Vietnam Era

 

GI Bill on Dec. 31, 1989, and served on active duty for any number of days during the period Oct. 19, 1984, to June 30, 1985, for at least


38     Education and Training                                               Chapter 4

 

three continuous years beginning on July 1, 1985; or at least two continuous years of active duty beginning on July 1, 1985, followed by four years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of release from active duty.

 

Veterans not on active duty on Oct. 19, 1984, may be eligible un-der Category 2 if they served three continuous years on active duty beginning on or after July 1, 1985, or two continuous years of active duty at any time followed by four continuous years in the Selected Reserve beginning within one year of release from active duty.

 

Veterans are barred from eligibility under Category 2 if they received a commission after Dec. 31, 1976, as a result of graduation from a service academy or completion of an ROTC scholarship.

 

However, such a commission is not a disqualifier if they received the commission after becoming eligible for MGIB benefits, or received the commission after Sept.30, 1996, and received less than $3,400 during any one year under ROTC scholarship.

 

Category 3: Involuntary Separation/Special Separation For veterans who meet one of the following requirements:

1.   Elected MGIB before being involuntarily separated.

 

2.   Or were voluntarily separated under the Voluntary Separation Incentive or the Special Separation Benefit program, elected MGIB benefits before being separated, and had military pay

 

reduced by $1,200 before discharge.

 

Category 4: Veterans Educational Assistance Program

 

For veterans who participated in the Veterans Educational Assis-tance Program (VEAP) and:

 

1.  Served on active duty on Oct. 9, 1996.

 

2.  Participated in VEAP and contributed money to an account.

 

3.  Elected MGIB by Oct. 9, 1997, and paid $1,200.

 

Veterans who participated in VEAP on or before Oct. 9, 1996, may also be eligible even if they did not deposit money in a VEAP ac-count if they served on active duty from Oct. 9, 1996, through April 1, 2000, elected MGIB by Oct. 31, 2001, and contributed $2,700 to

 

MGIB.

 

Certain National Guard service members may also qualify under


Chapter 4                                                 Education and Training     39

 

Category 4 if they:

 

1. Served for the first time on full-time active duty in the National Guard between June 30, 1985, and Nov. 29, 1989, and

 

had no previous active duty service.

 

2. Elected MGIB during the nine-month window ending on July 9,

 

1997

 

3. And paid $1,200.

 

Payments: Effective Aug. 1, 2008, the rate for full-time training in college, technical or vocational school is $1,321 a month for those who served three years or more or two years plus four years in the Selected Reserve. For those who served less than three years, the monthly rate is $1,073 Benefits are reduced for part-time training. Payments for other types of training follow different rules. VA will pay an additional amount, called a “kicker” or “college fund,” if directed by DOD. Visit http://www.gibill.va.gov for more information.

 

The maximum number of months veterans can receive payments is 36 months at the full-time rate or the part-time equivalent.

 

The following groups qualify for the maximum: veterans who served the required length of active duty, veterans with an obligation of three years or more who were separated early for the convenience of the government and served 30 continuous months, and veterans with an obligation of less than three years who were separated early for the convenience of the government and served 20 continuous months.

 

Types of Training Available:

 

1.  Courses at colleges and universities leading to associate, bachelor or graduate degrees, including accredited independent study offered through distance education.

 

2.  Courses leading to a certificate or diploma from business, technical or vocational schools.

3. Apprenticeship or on-the-job training for those not on active duty, including self-employment training begun on or after

 

June 16, 2004, for ownership or operation of a franchise

 

4.  Correspondence courses, under certain conditions.

 

5. Flight training, if the veteran holds a private pilot’s license upon beginning the training and meets the medical requirements.

 

6.  State-approved teacher certification programs.


40     Education and Training                                               Chapter 4

 

7.  Preparatory courses necessary for admission to a college or graduate school

8.  License and certification tests approved for veterans.

 

9.  Entrepreneurship training courses to create or expand small businesses.

10.  Tuition assistance using MGIB as “Top-Up” (active duty service members).

 

Accelerated payments for certain high-cost programs are authorized.

 

Work-Study Program: Veterans who train at the three-quarter or full-time rate may be eligible for a work-study program in which they work for VA and receive hourly wages. Students under the work-study program must be supervised by a VA employee and all duties performed must relate to VA. The types of work allowed include:

 

1.  VA paperwork processing at schools or other training facilities.

 

2. Assistance with patient care at VA hospitals or domiciliary care facilities.

3.  Work at national or state veterans’ cemeteries.

 

4.  Various jobs within any VA regional office.

 

5.  Other VA-approved activities.

 

Educational and Vocational Counseling Services: Refer to Chap-ter 10, “Transition Assistance”, for detailed information on available services.

 

Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program

 

Eligibility: Active duty personnel could participate in the Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) if they entered active duty for the first time after Dec.. 31, 1976, and before July 1, 1985, and made a contribution prior to April 1, 1987. The maximum contribution is $2,700. Active duty participants may make a lump-sum contribu-tion to their VEAP account. For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.gibill.va.gov.

 

Servicemembers who participated in VEAP are eligible to receive benefits while on active duty if:

 

1.  At least 3 months of contributions are available, except for high school or elementary, in which only one month is needed.

 

2.  And they enlisted for the first time after  Spet.. 7, 1980,

 

and completed 24 months of their first period of active duty.


Chapter 4                                                 Education and Training     41

 

Servicemembers must receive a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable for the qualifying period of service. Servicemem-bers who enlisted for the first time after

 

Sept.7, 1980, or entered active duty as an officer or enlistee after Oct. 16, 1981, must have completed 24 continuous months of active duty, unless they meet a qualifying exception.

 

Eligibility generally expires 10 years from release from active duty, but can be extended under special circumstances.

 

Payments: DOD will match contributions at the rate of $2 for every $1 put into the fund and may make additional contributions, or “kick-ers,” as necessary. For training in college, vocational or technical schools, the payment amount depends on the type and hours of training pursued. The maximum amount is $300 a month for full-time training.

 

Training, Work-Study, Counseling: VEAP participants may receive the same training, work-study benefits and counseling as provided under the MGIB.



Chapter 5                                                    Home Loan Guaranty    43

 

Chapter 5

 

Home Loan Guaranty

 

VA home loan guaranties are issued to help eligible servicemembers, veterans, reservists and unmarried surviving spouses obtain homes, condominiums, residential cooperative housing units, and manufac - tured homes, and to refinance loans. For additional information or to obtain VA loan guaranty forms, visit http://www.homeloans.va.gov/.

 

Loan Uses: A VA guaranty helps protect lenders from loss if the bor-rower fails to repay the loan. It can be used to obtain a loan to:

 

1.  Buy or build a home.

 

2.  Buy a residential condominium unit.

 

3.  Buy a residential cooperative housing unit.

 

4. Repair, alter, or improve a residence owned by the veteran and occupied as a home.

 

5. Refinance an existing home loan.

 

6.  Buy a manufactured home and/or lot.

 

7. Install a solar heating or cooling system or other energy-efficient improvements.

 

Eligibility: In addition to the periods of eligibility and conditions of service requirements, applicants must have a good credit rating, sufficient income, a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE), and agree to live in the property in order to be approved by a lender for a VA home loan.

 

To obtain a COE, complete VA Form 26-1880 -- “Request for a Certificate of Eligibility” -- and mail to: VA Eligibility Center, P.O. Box 20729, Winston-Salem, NC 27120.

 

It is also possible to obtain a COE from your lender. Most lenders have access to VA’s “WebLGY” system. This Internet-based applica-tion can establish eligibility and issue an online COE in seconds. Not all cases can currently be processed online – only those for which VA has sufficient data in its records. However, veterans are encouraged to ask their lenders about this method of obtaining a COE before sending an application to the Eligibility Center. For more information,


Chapter 5                                                   Home Loan Guaranty     44

 

visit http://www.homeloans.va.gov/eligibility.htm.

 

Periods of Eligibility: World War II: (1) active duty service after Sept.15, 1940, and prior to July 26, 1947; (2) discharge under other than dishonorable conditions; and (3) at least 90 days total service unless discharged early for a service-connected disability.

 

Post-World War II period: (1) active duty service after July 25, 1947, and prior to June 27, 1950; (2) discharge under other than dishonorable conditions; and (3) 181 days continuous active duty service unless discharged early for a service-connected disability.

 

Korean War: (1) active duty after June 26, 1950, and prior to Feb. 1, 1955; (2) discharge under other than dishonorable conditions; and (3) at least 90 days total service, unless discharged early for a service-connected disability.

 

Post-Korean War period: (1) active duty after Jan. 31, 1955, and prior to Aug. 5, 1964; (2) discharge under other than dishonorable conditions; (3) 181 days continuous service, unless discharged early for a service-connected disability.

 

Vietnam War: (1) active duty after Aug. 4, 1964, and prior to May 8, 1975; (2) discharge under other than dishonorable conditions; and (3) 90 days total service, unless discharged early for a service-connected disability. For veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is Feb. 28, 1961.

 

Post-Vietnam period: (1) active duty after May 7, 1975, and prior to Aug. 2, 1990; (2) active duty for 181 continuous days, all of which occurred after May 7, 1975; and (3) discharge under conditions other than dishonorable or early discharge for service-connected disability.

 

24-Month Rule: If service was between Sept. 8, 1980, (Oct. 16, 1981, for officers) and Aug. 1, 1990, veterans must generally com-plete 24 months of continuous active duty service or the full period (at least 181 days) for which they were called or ordered to active duty, and be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.