This page will give you a quick look at what your family may be eligible for after time in service.

Remember…if you think you’re eligible, apply! Don’t waste time, some benefits have a very limited window of availability.  There is a Veterans Benefits Timetable by the VA that offers a complete breakdown for recently separated from Active Military Service.

And as king if you’re eligible…the only way to get a dependable answer is to apply. If you’re denied…hey, APPEAL.

For a complete guide of “How To’s” in submitting information to the VA go to our GPS (Guide, Prepare, Send) section. For another guide to “diy”ing your own VA claim please take time to visit the A to Z guide for information.

Applying is easy, complete the forms, mail them, & use certified mail to provide tracking.  Click here for an example of a letter template for communications with the VA.

VA benefits and services fall into these major categories:

  • Disability Benefits
  • Education and Training Benefits
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Home Loans
  • Burial Benefits
  • Dependents’ and Survivors Benefits
  • Life Insurance
  • Health Care

Divorce

Is it possible to still receive benefits if I have divorced my soldier?

According to the VA, you are not eligible for benefits after you have divorced your disabled veteran.  This should be taken into consideration when going through the lengthy process of compensation and benefits.

Please visit our page on Divorce to find out more information.

Health Benefits

Veteran:

How do I (the veteran) apply for health benefits through the VA?

As a Combat Veteran, 5 years of VA health care at no out of pocket cost is available for all injuries or conditions that were caused/started/worsened while you were on Active Duty, to include medications for any injury or condition that could possibly be a result of your combat related service.  The 5 year window of VA care begins on your Active Duty discharge date.  This benefit is separate from service connected disabilities and financial claims coordinated through the Veterans Benefits Administration.

Read more on eligibility here.

Fill out VA form 1010EZ.  For any help with the form you can call 1-877-222-VETS.

You can apply one of 3 ways–but be sure to sign it or it can not be processed (recommended to do it in person if possible):

  • In person at any VA Medical Center or Clinic
  • Online here
  • By mailing or faxing to the medical center of your choice

Once you apply and eligibility is verified you will be assigned an Enrollment Priority Group (see chart here).  Under the Medical benefits Package, the same services are generally available to all enrolled Veterans.

For specific questions regarding applying for health benefits through the VA visit the VA website.

Dependents:

Family members and dependents may qualify for Healthcare under the CHAMPVA program.  Eligibility is determined by different categories.  Click here to view the eligibility requirements for dependents in the CHAMPVA Healthcare Program.

Caregivers 

Are you missing work to care for your veteran? Taking care of a disabled veteran can take the toll on the family.  You should not have to do it alone without help or compensation.  Be sure to find out more information in our Caregiver Benefits section.

DIC

Can you get benefits if your soldier dies? This depends on a few particular situations.

To apply for DIC is pretty easy. You simply write a brief letter to the Regional Office where the veterans record is kept and tell them that he or she has passed on and that you would like to begin to collect DIC and any other benefits for which you may be eligible.

Please visit our page on DIC to find out more information.

Be Prepared

No one ever wants to think about death.  It’s a very emotional time, one in which you may be left with  having to make some very important decisions in a short period of time.  There are some things you can do to help prepare for this time.  It’s much easier to make some of those decisions now instead of waiting until the week after the funeral when you are emotionally and physically drained.  We know of way too many instances of a veteran passing away and the survivors don’t have any information at all to help them.

To apply for DIC is pretty easy. You simply write a brief letter to the Regional Office where the veterans record is kept and tell them that he or she has passed on and that you would like to begin to collect DIC and any other benefits for which you may be eligible.

Eligibility is your first concern. To be eligible to receive DIC the veteran must have died of a service connected condition or he must have been 100% permanently and totally disabled for an uninterrupted period of 10 or more years. If the veteran who has not achieved the 10 year requirement dies of any cause other than a service connected condition, it’s unlikely that you’ll be eligible for any benefits.

To write the letter is simple. You can even write it today so that it’s prepared and ready to mail. You may write in the date when you mail it. We recommend that you send the letter via certified mail so that you have a return receipt. We urge you to only write the letter, don’t try to call or email or fax anything to VA.  A certified letter is the only acceptable method of communicating.

VA will want a certified copy of the death certificate. That is usually provided to you within a few days after the death by the funeral director.

Once you mail the letter, you will get the receipt returned to you in the mail. VA should reply to you within a month.  You should start now to prepare for an extended period of no income.  We understand how difficult it is to do that. However, to have a few dollars tucked away now is better than none at all. It may take VA a month or more to process the DIC claim.

The funeral director will help you to understand how the VA will assist you with death benefits. You may read more about burial benefits by clicking here.

You may also want to have a Power of Attorney drawn up today. If you have wills that are updated, the POA is probably already done. You should check to see. A will is an important document even if you don’t believe you need one. The smallest estates and insurance claims can be settled much more quickly with a simple will. We also recommend that you take care of reviewing simple tasks like car titles now. If the titles to vehicles or other titled property is in the name of only the veteran, you can take care of that now.

If your estate has any significant money, if there are retirement accounts or other investments, we recommend that you seek the services of an “eldercare” attorney. We like Attorney Drew Early of Atlanta as he is a retired military man as well as a highly skilled attorney. He practices veterans advocacy law as well as estate planning and so on.

You may want to have a look at his web site here.

In summary, do all the advance planning and savings that you can now. Then, when the veteran does die, the family will be able to remember him properly and without many of the stresses and tasks associated with straightening out reams of papers.

Please take time to visit Jim’s  mailbag offered through Stateside Legal. There are answers to many of the common questions asked about things such as OSA, DIC, Basic VA benefits, CHAMPVA, apportionment, etc.