Most of the Department of Veteran Affairs benefits focus on the retiring service member. These include vocational rehabilitation and employment, education benefits, disability compensation, health care through the Veterans Healthcare Administration, and loan guaranty.
The time to learn about VA eligibility is before you leave military service. The Pre-Discharge Program is a joint Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) program that affords service members the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32).The four components of the Pre-Discharge Program are:
- Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD)
- Quick Start
- Disability Evaluation System (Pilot program)
- Seriously Injured/Very Seriously Injured (SI/VSI).
While in the Pre-Discharge Program, members may also apply for other VA benefits, such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education, and Loan Guaranty.
After you retire, you can access information about VA programs through your county VA offices (found in the blue pages of the phone book), the Transition Assistance officers available at the State Joint headquarters of the National Guard, or by visiting the VA website at www.va.gov. Many national veterans service organizations or military service organizations also have national service officers affiliated with their organizations. These nationally trained personnel can help you navigate the VA system.
Many states offer special benefits for veterans. Search on http://www.va.gov/statedva.htm for benefits available in the state where you live.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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