We spend a lot of time discussing the VA Aid & Attendance Non Service Connected Disability Pension. But now that the vast majority of our deployed troops are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, the V.A. is turning its attention toward meeting the needs of some of the relatively younger generation of able-bodied and disabled veterans. Many of these efforts are centered on easing the transition between military and civilian life. So let’s focus this post on these efforts.
One area of aid for veterans is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which offers significant assistance for higher education costs. The benefits can cover up to 100% of tuition and fees, and contribute housing costs and books. These benefits may be particularly useful for veterans who entered the military directly from high school. Applying for higher education assistance may help veterans enhance their military skills and training with a degree. However, even if the veteran has already obtained a degree, it is important to recognize that the benefits may still be used for the veteran’s spouse or children. If the veteran chooses the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, that same veteran will not be eligible for other similar educational benefits under programs like the Montgomery GI Bill. The election is irrevocable so make sure to get advice!
Many other veterans will elect to enter the civilian workforce directly, but in this economy could use some help finding a job. The V.A. has developed a number of programs to help veterans find jobs and start businesses. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offers three-day workshops to help with job searching. There is an Employment and Training Service official located locally in Oceanside who you may contact for Transition Assistance Program information. Various forms of pre- and post-discharge counseling and job search counseling may be available. Additionally, federal benefits have been extended to employers who hire veterans. Finally, if you are interested in starting your own small business, the VA Center for Veterans Enterprise may be helpful for forming or expanding a small business.
However, many of our new veterans are finding themselves in the position of being homeless or disabled. California has the largest population of homeless veterans among the 50 states. Taking care of homeless veterans and the underlying causes of their homelessness is another top priority of the V.A. Health care and housing options exist around the country, including taxpayer-supported facilities such as the Chula Vista State Veterans Home. The V.A. may also provide benefits to veterans who are extremely low income or at risk for homelessness and incarceration.
Finally, service-connected disability may be compensated tax free depending on your disability rating. Over the course of the last four years, the V.A. has seen a 48% increase in claims filed for disability. A large portion of that number is made up of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and Agent Orange claims that arose from the Vietnam War. As a result, the waiting list for disability claims has doubled despite additional funding for a new computer system and hiring additional claims adjusters. Although the backlog of disability claims is astounding, the Department of Veterans Affairs is working toward processing disability claims and eliminating overdue claims. For many disabled veterans, this benefit can save them from living in poverty.
Clearly, this is not a comprehensive overview of the benefits that might be available to you or someone you know as a recently discharged veteran. Getting effective assistance can help you navigate the benefits available, satisfy the process of qualifying for the benefits, and resume civilian life. Also, avoiding common missteps may save substantial time and money. Contacting a V.A. accredited attorney is the best way to ensure you get the best help for these and other benefits.
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process?
FREE REPORT: This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the veterans aid & attendance industry.
The Oceanside Contact:
ADVET Joseph D. Moran
Veterans’ Employment and Training Service
U.S. Department of Labor
1949 Avenida del Oro, Ste 114
Oceanside, California 92056