It’s no secret that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many basic education and healthcare benefits for those who have served our country. However, there are many other benefits that seem to slip through the cracks of commonplace knowledge every year. In fact, approximately 69% of veterans are completely unaware of the benefits available to them, which means veterans are paying for more care than they should.
7 Veterans Benefits You May Not Know About
Here are seven veteran benefits that you may not know about, that could save your family a lot of money:
1. Long-Term Care and Housing
Long-term care can be expensive, which is why the Aid and Attendance benefit is so helpful to pay for the cost of assisted living, nursing homes and other long-term care options. The VA provides a guide to benefits that can be used to pay for care. The primary requirements for Aid and Attendance are that the veteran served during wartime, that the veteran meets asset and income limits, and requires care.
Couples have the ability to receive up to $25,020 a year, and the Aid and Attendance benefit will help with a large portion of long-term care costs. Assistance is also available for the spouses of veterans.
2. Veteran Homes
The VA operates dozens of nursing homes for qualifying veterans. Although there can be significant waitlists, elderly veterans who do qualify for care at a VA home receive excellent, low-cost long-term care. A directory of VA nursing homes can be found on the National Association of State Veterans Homes website.
3. Tax Preparation
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices on military bases offers veterans and their family free tax preparation services. The individuals who work in the offices have expertise working with the complicated nature of military-related tax issues and are very helpful, not to mention, can help your family save money and time.
4. Life Insurance
Life insurance can be tricky for veterans, especially if they were injured during their time of service. The Servicemembers and Veterans Group Life Insurance program offers up to $400,000 in life insurance benefits as well as premium rates.
5. Mortgage and Loan Assistance
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers mortgage repayment assistance to veterans having trouble making their mortgage payments. The assistance includes the following:
- Help for those who have VA loans and are having trouble paying them back
- Loan forbearance and loan modification programs
- Special repayment plans at good rates
6. Caregiver Support
Many families choose to take care of their veteran elders at home and the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a support program, including a free support line and caregiver support coordinator to help educate families on military benefits and the stress of caregiving.
The VA has also partnered with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to create online workshops to help educate thousands of people who are caring for a loved one who is a veteran and for veterans who are caregivers themselves. Specifically, “caregivers of veterans and veterans who serve as caregivers for someone with dementia, memory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, a serious brain injury, or any other serious injury or illness [are included]. Caregivers of veterans need to currently be receiving healthcare from the VA.”
The program, “Building Better Caregivers,” is a six-week workshop that is both collaborative and self-paced. Participants work with others, yet don’t have to commit to a particular day or time to complete a module. Learn more about VA Caregiver Support and how to enroll for the workshop.
7. Burial and Memorial Benefits
The VA will also cover the burial or cremation expenses for qualifying veterans. Qualifying veterans may also be buried in a national cemetery and may qualify for a special memorial headstone.
Are there veteran’s benefits that have helped your family? Which benefits have you used? Share your stories and suggestions with us in the comments below.
Veterans Benefits You May Not Know About posted by Dana Larsen