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Understanding your VA Benefits

Pathway signs The Department of Veterans Affairs—the VA—operates many programs that provide financial, medical and other assistance to veterans throughout their lives.

For American service members who received an honorable or general discharge, the VA offers 4 major benefit programs:

  • Service Connected Disability compensation
  • Veteran's pension programs, for limited income veterans
  • Medical care through VA hospitals and medical facilities
  • Education Programs

If applying for a VA benefit for the first time, you will need a copy of your service discharge form (DD-214, DD-215, or, for WWII veterans, a WD form), which documents your service dates and discharge. If you do not have these you can contact the National Archives at 1-866-272-6272.
Your service discharge form should be held in a safe location and accessible by you, your next of kin or your designated representative.

Certain documents are required for claims processing related to a veteran's death:

  • Marriage certificate for claims by a surviving spouse or children
  • Death certificate
  • Children's birth certificates or adoption papers

The VA also has generous programs for:

  • Housing and home loan guarantees
  • Job training
  • Small business and business loans
  • Counseling
  • Burials and memorials
  • Franchise opportunities
  • PTSD support