Filing a claim for benefits with the VA can be a very intimidating task. Many are familiar with some of the basic benefits that are available, but may not fully understand the differences between all of the programs. The information below gives a brief description of some of the more frequently requested benefits. Please understand that not all Veterans are eligible for all programs. Many factors contribute to the type and extent of benefits granted by the VA. (Injury extent, service characterization, income, etc) Every Veteran is different, and no two cases are exactly the same.
Aid & Attendance
You may be eligible for this benefit if you get a VA pension and you meet at least one of these requirements.
At least one of these must be true:
You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or
You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness, or
You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or
Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
A tax free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training or survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities.
A tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service.
A needs-based benefit. It is paid to wartime Veterans with financial needs and their survivors. If you are a Veteran, you are eligible for pension if all of the following are true:
• You were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
• You served 90 days of active duty with at least one day during wartime*, AND
• Your countable income is below the maximum annual pension rate (MAPR), AND
• You meet net worth limitations, AND
• You meet one of the following criteria:
o You are age 65 or older.
o You have a permanent and total
o You are a patient in a nursing home
due to mental or physical incapacity.
o You are receiving Social Security
*Veterans who entered active duty after Sept. 7, 1980, must serve at least 24 months of active-duty service. If the length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran must have completed their entire tour of active duty
Burial and Memorial Benefits
Burial and memorial benefits can vary depending on how and where the Veterans' remains will be interred. (National cemetery or private? Headstone, bronze plaque, or medallion?)
The VA does not pay for cremation directly. Any item or service obtained from a funeral home will be at the families' expense. Some Veterans' families may be entitled to a burial allowance, which may cover some of these expenses.