When it comes to benefits, many American veterans are unaware of the coverage and assistance they are entitled to.
A life insurance policy from the Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, is just one of the many benefits today’s veterans may not know of. This $10,000 life insurance policy can cover a disabled veteran who might have otherwise been denied coverage from private institutions.
As far as long-term coverage goes, Aid and Attendance benefits are available- these are tax-free benefits that help to cover veteran’s costs for at-home caregivers, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. These benefits can provide veterans with up to $20,000 a month. In order to qualify, veterans must first be paying for their own care, must have served at least one day on active duty during wartime, and must have under $80,000 in assets (this number is an estimate and some veterans with assets over $80,000 may still be able to qualify).
With services like the Veteran-Directed Care Program, veterans who need help with everyday activities or require assistance at home can hire caregivers who will provide the necessary help. The program can offer up to $2,000 monthly for veterans to pay these aides. At the moment, this program is available through VA medical centers in 35 states, with more currently in development.
Hard of hearing? The VA has recently made it easier for veterans to receive hearing aids. A physician’s referral is not needed to make an appointment with a hearing specialist, veterans can simply call to schedule an appointment whenever they wish. Although Medicare typically does not cover the cost of hearing aids, VA insurance does.
Any veterans suffering from:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder, kidney, liver, breast, or esophageal cancer
- Multiple myelomas
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Renal toxicity
- Hepatic steatosis
- Neurobehavioral effects
who lived or worked at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987 for at least 30 days may qualify for cost-free VA healthcare coverage.
Similarly, any Vietnam War veterans who have been exposed to Agent Orange can qualify for compensation and healthcare benefits. Veterans must prove they had “boots on the ground” in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975. Veterans also must show that they have a diagnosis of at least one of the disabilities recognized by the VA as being linked to Agent Orange. These disabilities include type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and certain forms of cancer such as lung and trachea. Those who qualify for Agent Orange coverage can obtain disability compensation benefits and quicker access to health service as well. If a veteran’s children were born with spina bifida or other birth defects that are linked to Agent Orange, this can qualify them for compensation, vocational training, and healthcare coverage.
If a veteran dies of a service-related disease, their spouse may qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. This benefit gives the surviving spouse or dependents a monthly tax-free payment of up to $1,200. Spouses and dependents of disabled veterans can also qualify for a health insurance through the VA’s Civilian Health and Medical Program. In this program, there are no premiums for health coverage or prescriptions and you can sign up for Medicare Part D, though there are premium costs with Medicare.
Veterans with mobility problems can even apply for grants that can pay for modifying a car or home.
Each state also has benefits that can include exemptions for local property taxes, free E-Z Passes, tax credits, or educational scholarships.
The VA helps with burial expenses as well, including providing a free headstone or marker and burial flag. Veterans can apply for these burial benefits ahead of time.
Those who are eligible for benefits are not just career military veterans. Veterans who served before 1980 only need to have 90 days or more of active duty and a discharge other than dishonorable. Veterans who served after 1980 must have served a continuous 24 months of active duty or the full period for which they were called for active duty. And contrary to popular belief, veterans do not need to be disabled to use VA health care.
If you or a loved one are a veteran seeking any of the aforementioned benefits, begin by filing an intent form that details the specific benefit being sought. Don’t miss out on the benefits and services you may be entitled to- see if you qualify for VA benefits today.