VA Benefits Summary

Who Is Eligible

You may be eligible for VA benefits if you are a:
  • Veteran
  • Veteran's dependent
  • Surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran
  • Uniformed service member
Current as of July, 2009


VA can pay you monthly compensation if you are at least 10 percent disabled as a result of your military service.


You can receive a monthly pension if you are a wartime veteran with limited income, and you are permanently and totally disabled or at least 65 years old.

Time Limits

There is no time limit to apply for compensation and pension benefits.

Health Care

VA provides a number of health care services.
  • Hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy and prosthetic services
  • Domiciliary, nursing home and community-based residential care
  • Sexual trauma counseling
  • Specialized health care for women veterans
  • Health and rehabilitation programs for homeless veterans
  • Readjustment counseling
  • Alcohol and drug dependency treatment
  • Medical evaluation for disorders associated with military service in the Gulf War, or exposure to Agent Orange, radiation and other environmental hazards

Combat Veterans

VA provides free health care for veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, for any illness possibly related to their service in that theater.

Time Limits

You have five years from the date of your discharge from active duty on or after January 28, 2003. You have until January 27, 2011, if you were discharged from active duty before January 28, 2003, and were not enrolled as of January 28, 2008.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment

VA provides assistance to veterans with service connected disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain suitable employment. For veterans with serious service-connected disabilities, VA also offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible. There are five service delivery options available:
  • Reemployment
  • Rapid Access to Employment
  • Self-Employment
  • Employment through Long Term Services
  • Independent Living
Assistance to veterans may be provided in the form of job search, vocational evaluation, career exploration, vocational training, educational training and supportive rehabilitation services.

Time Limits

Generally, veterans have 12 years from the date VA informs them that they have at least a 10 percent rating for a service-connected disability.

Education & Training

VA pays benefits to eligible veterans and service members while they are in an approved education or training program. Based on the type of military service, primary benefit programs are:
  • Active Duty Service
    • Persons with 90 days or more of active duty on or after September 11, 2001 are generally eligible under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). Those who first entered active duty after June 30, 1985, are generally eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 30).
  • Reserve/Guard Service
    • MGIB - Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606) is available for those who signed a six-year commitment after June 30, 1985, are actively drilling, and in good standing with their unit. The Reserve Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 1607) is for those who were activated under Federal authority for a contingency operation and served 90 continuous days or more after September 10, 2001.

Time Limits

Time limits vary from 10-15 years from either the date of release from active duty or the date eligibility was established, depending upon the benefit.

Home Loans

VA offers a number of home loan services to eligible veterans, some military personnel and certain surviving spouses.

Guaranteed Loans

VA can guarantee a portion of a loan made by a private lender to help you buy a home, a manufactured home, a lot for a manufactured home, a condominium unit, or a unit in a cooperative dwelling. VA also guarantees loans for building, repairing and improving homes.

Refinancing Loans

If you have a VA mortgage, VA can help you refinance your loan at a lower interest rate. You may also refinance a non-VA loan.

Special Grants

Certain disabled veterans and military personnel can receive grants to adapt or acquire housing suitable for their needs.

Time Limits

There is no time limit for a VA home loan.

Life Insurance

Service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) provides coverage up to $400,000 for service members. Coverage ends 120 days after discharge, but can be extended for up to two years if the member is totally disabled.

Service members' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) is an automatic feature of SGLI that provides payments of up to $100,000 for service members who suffer losses such as amputations, blindness and paraplegia, due to traumatic injuries.

Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) allows service members to convert their SGLI to lifetime renewable term coverage. VGLI must be applied for within one year and 120 days of discharge. If applied for within 120 days of discharge, there are no good health requirements.

Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI) provides up to $10,000 of coverage for service connected veterans. If totally disabled, they are eligible for an additional $20,000. Veterans must apply within two years of being rated service connected for a new condition.

Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) Provides coverage of up to $90,000 for severely disabled Veterans and service members who have received a specially adapted housing grant from VA.

Dependents & Survivors

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is payable to certain survivors of:
  • Service members who died during active service
  • Veterans who died from service-related disabilities
  • Certain veterans who were being paid 100 percent VA disability compensation at time of death
Death Pension is payable to some surviving spouses and children of deceased wartime veterans. The benefit is based on financial need.

Parents' DIC is payable to some surviving parents. The benefit is based on financial need.

VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) shares the cost of medical services for eligible dependents and survivors of certain veterans.

Dependents & Survivors Education & Training

Some family members of disabled or deceased veterans are eligible for education and training benefits.

Home Loans

Certain surviving spouses may be eligible for this benefit.

Time Limits

For education and training benefits, spouses and surviving spouses have 10 years from the date VA first finds them eligible, and surviving spouses of service members who died while on active duty have 20 years. Children are eligible from age 18 to 26.

These time limits can sometimes be extended. There are no time limits to apply for the other benefits described above.


VA offers certain benefits and services to honor our nation's deceased veterans.
  • Headstones and Markers
    • VA can furnish a monument to mark the grave of an eligible veteran.
  • Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC)
    • VA can provide a PMC for eligible recipients.
  • Burial Flag
    • VA can provide an American flag to drape an eligible veteran's casket.
  • Reimbursement of Burial Expenses
    • Generally, VA can pay a burial allowance of $2,000 for veterans who die of service related causes. For certain other veterans, VA can pay $300 for burial and funeral expenses and $300 for a burial plot.
  • Burial in a VA National Cemetery
    • Most veterans and some dependents can be buried in a VA national cemetery.

Time Limits

There is no time limit to claim reimbursement of burial expenses for a service related death. In other cases, claims must be filed within two years of the veteran's burial.

Toll-Free & Internet Services

Toll-Free Service

  • Benefits Information & Assistance
  • For more information about specific benefits, visit the nearest VA regional office or call 1 (800) 827-1000

Special Toll-Free Numbers

  • Health Care: (877) 222-8387
  • Education & Training: (888) 442-4551
  • VA Life Insurance: (800) 669-8477
  • Office of SGLI: (800) 419-1473
  • CHAMPVA: (800) 733-8387
  • Helpline (Agent Orange & Gulf War): (800) 749-8387
  • Direct Deposit: (877) 838-2778
  • Headstones (status of claims only): (800) 697-6947
  • Telecommunication Device for Deaf (TDD): (800) 829-4833


For detailed information about all VA benefits and services, visit the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.


Information specific to survivors is available. Select ''Benefits,'' then ''Survivors'' Benefits.''


Apply for Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Education, or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits by selecting ''Apply Online.''


A ''Contact VA'' link is available for email inquiries.