Special honor is given to those who have rendered active duty and military service during the war. In several cases, a veteran is left with a disability or impairment that affects how the veteran’s daily activities. Many of them need the support of their family members or a caregiver to deal with day-to-day activities.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs is dedicated to serving and catering to the needs of veterans and their dependents and carers. Veterans may avail of veteran or VA benefits, but they may also qualify for disability benefits if they face any disability related to the veteran’s service. VA benefits, specifically, extend to their spouse and children as well.
Who Can Access VA Benefits?
While veterans are eligible for benefits, such benefits extend to their families (the veteran’s spouse and dependent child). Those who care for veterans can also be granted support to help them do the job better.
Do veterans’ children receive benefits?
A veteran’s dependents (spouse and children) can qualify for veteran/VA benefits. These veterans’ children’s benefits and spouse benefits can include health care aid, tuition assistance, or other forms of financial aid.
How About Those Who Take Care Of Veterans?
Those who take care of veterans may also avail benefits that help them care for them more effectively. On top of that, caretakers also get benefits directly for themselves.
How do I know if I am eligible?
If you are a veteran or the spouse, child, or carer of veterans, how do you know if you are eligible for these benefits?
The eligibility requirements may differ depending on the veteran’s benefits and on the case for each veteran.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs official site lists eligibility requirements for the specific benefit.
Eligibility for health care benefits
For health care benefits, for example, these are the conditions for eligibility.
- If the veteran’s enlistment date is after September 7, 1980, or if the veteran started active duty after October 16, 1981
- The minimum duty requirement does not apply if the following conditions are true:
- Discharged due to disability that was caused or aggravated by active duty
- Discharged due to difficulty or “early out”
- Was an active service member before September 7, 1980
- If the person is currently or formerly a service member for the selected reserve or National Guard
Eligibility for disability compensation
Disability compensation is also available if these conditions for eligibility are met.
- The veteran’s current injury or illness impacts the body or mind.
- The veteran served inactive duty training, active duty for training, or active duty.
Both of these two conditions must be met. If only one is satisfied, eligibility is not possible.
While those two are non-negotiable conditions, at least one of the following conditions should also be met.
- The former service member got an injury or sickness during military service. This condition can be connected to current injury or illness (also known as Inservice Disability Claim)
- The veteran had an injury or sickness before joining the military, and service with the army aggravated the condition (also known as Preservice Disability Claim).
- The veteran got a disability that is directly related to active duty service. However, this condition did not appear until after the term of service (also known as Postservice Disability claim)
What is available to the family of those who have served?
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, the benefits for the dependents (spouse, children, and survivors) include the following.
- Health care
- Educational benefits (tuition and other forms of aid under the GI bill)
- Home loans
- Financial Counseling
- Options for life insurance
- Burial in a VA national cemetery (for the eligible veteran)
- Survivors pension
- Compensation for survivors
How can I access dependent benefits?
Similar to the case for eligibility, the process of availing these benefits and accessing claims varies from case to case. While there is a VA form that the veteran has to fill up, claiming a health benefit, education benefit, or a different kind of benefit has a special process.
Hence, it is important for you first to know your eligibility and then proceed with the actual application process.
Applying for VA health care
The application process for health benefits is online through the US Department of Veteran Affairs official site. However, before proceeding with the application, you should prepare the following.
- Social Security identification numbers of the veteran, spouse, and eligible dependents
- DD214 (military discharge paper) or other valid separation documents
- Card information for all affiliated insurances of the veteran or the veteran’s spouse
- Gross household income during the previous calendar for the veteran, spouse, and dependents
- Deductible expenses during the previous year (i.e. health expenses, education costs)
The veteran or the one proceeding with the application should have this information before starting the application process.
Claiming disability compensation
If you are eligible for disability compensation, you can apply to claim this compensation online, by mail, in person, or by tapping a professional.
Before proceeding, however, you must ensure that you have evidence to support your claims for eligibility to make things easier. These could be public or private hospital records that reveal your condition and statements from family members, relatives, friends, clergy members, law enforcement personnel, and fellow veterans. These statements and documents should give insight into the condition and how it worsened.
While submitting evidence is not required, the US Department of Veterans Affairs may conduct a claim exam to know more about your condition.
If you plan to process these claims through paper, it may help if you pass an “Intent to File” form first. Submitting this file will allow you time to collect evidence without delaying the start date or effective date. With an intent to file, it is also possible to obtain retroactive payments or compensations for the past months.
The road to a successful claim
Processing and applying are quite tedious processes. What makes things worse, however, is the possibility of rejection. Even if you file your claim and apply for benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs may reject your claims.
How can Trajector help me?
We at Trajector can help you face this problem by guiding you through the application process and serving as your legal representative. Our team at Trajector Medical, Trajector Disability, and Trajector Legal can work with you to process your application and claims for veteran benefits.
With us, you can rest assured that your claims have higher chances of success.