Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors
Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of benefits and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some of these benefits may be utilized while on active duty. These benefits are codified in Title 38 of the United States Code. This booklet contains a summary of these benefits effective Jan. 1, 2013. For additional information, visit www.va.gov.
La versión en español de este folleto se encuentra disponible en formato Adobe Acrobat a través de el link: 2013 Federal Benefits for Veterans Spanish
General Eligibility: Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service, other than active duty for training, as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, Environmental Science Services Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or its predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey.
Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison must contact VA to determine eligibility. VA benefits will not be provided to any Veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.
Certain VA Benefits Require Wartime Service: under the law, VA recognizes these periods of war:
Mexican Border Period: May 9, 1916, through April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters.
World War I: April 6, 1917, through Nov. 11, 1918; for Veterans who served in Russia, April 6, 1917, through April 1, 1920; extended through July 1, 1921, for Veterans who had at least one day of service between April 6, 1917, and Nov. 11, 1918.
World War II: Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 31, 1946.
Korean War: June 27, 1950, through Jan. 31, 1955.
Vietnam War: Aug. 5, 1964 (Feb. 28, 1961, for Veterans who served "in country" before Aug. 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975.
Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, through a date to be set.
In order to expedite benefits delivery, Veterans seeking a VA benefit for the first time must submit a copy of their service discharge form (DD-214, DD-215, or for World War II Veterans, a WD form), which documents service dates and type of discharge, or provides full name, military service number, and branch and dates of service.
The Veteran's service discharge form should be kept in a safe location accessible to the Veteran and next of kin or designated representative.
The following documents will be needed for claims processing related to a Veteran's death:
- Veteran's marriage certificate for claims of a surviving spouse or children.
- Veteran's death certificate if the Veteran did not die in a VA health care facility.
- Children's birth certificates or adoption papers to determine children's benefits.
- Veteran's birth certificate to determine parents' benefits.
eBenefits is a joint VA/Department of Defense (DoD) Web portal that provides resources and self-service capabilities to Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families to apply, research, access, and manage their VA and military benefits and personal information through a secure Internet connection.
Through eBenefits Veterans can: apply for benefits, view their disability compensation claim status, access official military personnel documents (e.g., DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), transfer entitlement of Post-9/11 GI Bill to eligible dependents (Servicemembers only), obtain a VA-guaranteed home loan Certificate of Eligibility, and register for and update direct deposit information for certain benefits. New features are added regularly.
Accessing eBenefits: The portal is located at www.ebenefits.va.gov. Servicemembers or Veterans must register for an eBenefits account at one of two levels: Basic or Premium. A Premium account allows the user to access personal data in VA and DoD systems, as well as apply for benefits online, check the status of claims, update address records, and more. The Basic account allows access to information entered into eBenefits by the Servicemember or Veteran only. Basic accounts cannot access VA or DoD systems.
Servicemembers can obtain immediate Premium level access by following step-by-step instructions using their Common Access Card (CAC).
In order to register for an eBenefits account, Veterans must be listed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and first obtain a DoD Self Service (DS) Logon. Note: For those without a DEERS record, VA will first need to verify military service and add the information to DEERS. This is most likely for Veterans who served prior to 1982. Individuals should contact a VA regional office for assistance in being added to DEERS.
A DS Logon is an identity (user name and password) that is used by various DoD and VA Websites, including eBenefits. Those registered in DEERS are eligible for a DS Logon. A DS Logon is valid for the rest of your life.
Identity verification: Many people will be able to verify their identity online by answering a few security questions. A few may need to visit a VA regional office or TRICARE Service Center to have their identities verified. Servicemembers may verify their identity online by using their Common Access Card.
Military retirees may verify their identity online using their Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Logon. Veterans in receipt of VA benefits via direct deposit may have their identity verified by calling 1-800-827-1000 and selecting option 7. eBenefits users with Premium access with appropriate My HealtheVet access can login to their My HealtheVet account using the single sign on feature.
- ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- CHAMPVA – Civilian Health and Medical Program of VA
- CLC – Community Living Center
- C&P – Compensation and Pension
- COE – Certificate of Eligibility
- CRDP – Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments
- CRSC – Combat-Related Special Compensation
- CWT – Compensated Work Therapy
- CZTE – Combat Zone Tax Exclusion
- DIC – Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
- DoD -- Department of Defense
- FHA – Federal Housing Administration
- FSGLI – Family Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
- HUD – Department of Housing and Urban Development
- IRR – Individual Ready Reserve
- MGIB – Montgomery GI Bill
- MIA – Missing in Action
- NPRC – National Personnel Records Center
- NSLI – National Service Life Insurance
- OEF – Operation Enduring Freedom
- OIF – Operation Iraqi Freedom
- OND – Operation New Dawn
- OPM – Office of Personnel Management
- POW-- Prisoner of War
- PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- SAH – Specially Adapted Housing
- SBA – Small Business Administration
- S-DVI – Service-Disabled Veterans' Insurance
- SGLI – Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
- SSB – Special Separation Benefits
- TAP – Transition Assistance Program
- TSGLI – Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection
- USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- USDA – U.S. Department of Agriculture
- VA – Department of Veterans Affairs
- VEAP – Veterans Educational Assistance Program
- VEOA – Veterans' Employment Opportunities Act
- VGLI – Veterans' Group Life Insurance
- VHA – Veterans Health Administration
- VMET – Verification of Military Experience and Training
- VMLI – Veterans' Mortgage Life Insurance
- VR&E – Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
- VSI – Voluntary Separation Incentive
- WAAC – Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
- WASPs – Women Air Force Service Pilots