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VA Benefits - Home Loans, Education and More

Posted : Tuesday January 6, 2009
Created by: MSG Randall High, U.S. Army (ret)
No organization does more to support former military members than the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Nearly all veterans who leave the military are entitled to some form of VA Benefits, as long as their discharge was not dishonorable. These benefits include financial help, medical benefits, educational services, employment services, disability compensation, and death benefits.

The VA Home Loan
One highly publicized benefit is the VA Home Loan. Active-duty personnel who have served at least 24 months are eligible for the VA to arrange a guaranteed loan to buy or build a home. The maximum amount of the loan varies by location and lender organization, but a veteran can often get a guaranteed loan without a down payment. Reserve and National Guard soldiers who have served at least 6 years are also eligible, as are some soldiers who have served less time but were separated for hardship or disability.

VA Health Benefits
The VA sponsors hospitals in many cities around the country and veterans are usually eligible for care, based on need and availability. Veterans can also get inexpensive prescription refills at VA hospitals and clinics. Veterans with service-connected disabilities may be eligible for monthly compensation, as determined by a physical examination at a VA hospital.

Other Benefits
The VA also offers educational benefits, such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which can provide financial assistance for up to 3 years of college-level study (including many non-college programs like trade certification training).

How to Contact the VA
The VA maintains a Web site at www.va.gov. On the site, you can find the VA center nearest you, as well as comprehensive information about other benefits.