Finance / Health & Wellness

Vets, Don’t Miss Out on “Hidden Benefits”

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
  • Scleroderma
  • 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.

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Rudy Perez
3 years ago

I serve in 79 -82 do i have any benefits usarmy

jackie taylor sr
4 years ago

I serve 1960

Charles R Wilson
4 years ago

I served in the Army from 1964 – 1967. I have been told by the VA that i make to much money to receive any medical help. What is the truth ?

Nicholas Coconato
5 years ago

I am a disabled vet from Hines Illinois. The VA does not qualify me as disabled which I am disputing that in an appeal. It has been going on for 18 years. I went to the VA hospital to have my back operated on. The titanium screws that they used broke and they claim that my disability is not the result of the screw breaking and my spine shifting to a grade 3. They feel that they are not responsible. This caused me to have two more operations: one in the back to replace the hardware ,and one thru the front of my belly to put in a cadiva bone to lift my spinal cord. Because i can’t work my income is only good for 150000.00 . But home cost up to 250000.00 . Do they have any grant to help with dn. payment or other help.

5 years ago

Like the others where is contact information to get to the VA for more information

5 years ago
Reply to  Doug

I’m with Doug and Ben; where can we find the contact information for VA benefits? I’ve been to what I thought was was a reasonable place to get answers only to be told that I was not service connected (4 years [77-81] with an honorable discharge), and no further information given (I was actually treated like I had asked for directions to the nearest plutonium stockpile), or offered.
I also appreciate the article, however it was long on suggestion but short on details. Good journalism contains ample quantities of who, where, what and how.

John C Kaells, Sr
5 years ago

Thank you! I never applied for any benefits. Can you give some contacts? ……Jack

Lincoln W. Sorensen
5 years ago

The article does not give a reference where a veteran can go or call to find someone who is well versed in all the benefits available and how to go about applying.
The government should have a “veterans advocate” in every VA medical facility and his/her location should be prominently displayed near the information center. The “Veterans advocate in Columbia, Missouri is located in a mall and no one at the VA hospital information center knows he exists.

5 years ago

Useful info. Keep up your good work. Speaking of health matters (albeit off this subject), notice how AARP (greatest sponsor and backer of ObamaCare) is now spending a ton of money to convince the public it’s still the best thing since sliced bread. Doesn’t want its golden egg (millions in sponsorship royalties from insurers) killed, despite the ACA’s horrendous costs and deductibles that leave the “insured” without real insurance!

Lyle Otis Botimer
5 years ago

I served on active duty in the US Army from 14 December, 1954 to 13 December, 1956, when I received an Honorable Discharge. Is there a book I could receive that would tell me what my VA Benefits are for serving those two years on active duty?
Thank you for your guidance!

5 years ago

I served in US Army From 1972 to 1974 what are my benefits ?

5 years ago

Vets who served in KOREA from March 1968 through April 1969 and served in the JSA (DMZ) were also exposed to agent Orange and qualify for those benefits.

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