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Who Qualifies for Veteran Assistance?


Veteran assistance through the VA (the US Department of Veteran Affairs) offers service member benefits, family member benefits, housing assistance, disability compensation, and healthcare benefits. Veterans can also get help with life insurance, pension, education and training, career and employment, burial and memorial, and more. Charity organizations and help groups also offer travel support and other benefits. There are so many resources of help for veterans; here’s a breakdown of the qualifications to receive assistance.

Be Considered or Defined as a Veteran

To receive assistance from veteran support programs, you must be officially recognized as a veteran. A veteran is a person who served in the active military (Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Coast Guard). National Guard and Reserve members are not veterans by default. They might be considered veterans if they were called up to active duty by federal order (the President of the United States). 

Only those who honorably complete the length of obligation for which they were called will be considered veterans. You may also be a veteran if you served the appropriate length of time to receive an award for a benefit. Research and National Guard members with active duty for training-only purposes are not considered veterans.

Meet the Active Duty/Period of Service Requirements

You must meet active duty requirements to get veteran assistance. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, you must have 24 consecutive months of service on record. Those who entered active-duty service after October 16, 1981, must also meet the exact requirement. You’ll fulfill the condition if you served another full period for which you were called to active duty.

If you served before September 7, 1980, the minimum duty requirements don’t apply. You’re also free from duty requirements if you were discharged for a disability caused/made worse by active-duty service. Minimum duty requirements do not apply in official situations of hardship or early release.

Suffer Service-Connected Disabilities (Not from Willful Misconduct)

You could qualify for veteran assistance if discharged from service because of a service-related disability. A service-connected disability is when something happens to you while in the line of duty. Accidents, injuries, and illnesses can result in permanent disability and discharge from service. Recently released combat veterans qualify for and receive priority assistance.

If the disability stems from or worsens because of willful misconduct, you won’t qualify for a pension or other benefits. Veterans who receive a dishonorable discharge don’t qualify for government assistance like pensions and healthcare benefits. You may qualify for veteran assistance if you are discharged for any other reason.

Other Conditions

You can get help for veterans if you receive financial compensation from Veteran Affairs for a service-related disability. Veterans who get a VA pension, medical benefits, or are former prisoners of war (POWs) also qualify for assistance. Other eligibility conditions include veterans who’ve received a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor.

Wartime service heroes also qualify for veteran assistance. The list consists of veterans who served in the following wars:

•    World War II between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946

•    Korean Conflict between June 27, 1950, and January 31, 1955

•    Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987

•    Vietnam Era between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975

•    Gulf War in Southwest Asia between August 2, 1990, and November 11, 1998

Veterans can also receive the basic pension if they are 65 or older with limited or no income. Other qualifications include permanent and total disability, residency in a nursing home, or the reception of supplemental security income. Veteran recipients of social security disability insurance also qualify for a pension. You can qualify for benefits through VA, A&A, Basic Pension, and Housebound Pension. 

Help for Veterans

Veterans can get help from the government and non-governmental organizations. Some charities offer emergency travel support for veterans and their family members. Others organize food, clothing, medication, and even entertainment services.

If you’ve served your country at any point, you can seek help for veterans from leading charities. You should also pursue clarification over benefits available through the government. Veterans and families of veterans can get the much-needed aid that they all deserve.

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