Modern Aging: veterans benefits

If you’re not sure of the benefits you are entitled to, do not fear, you are not alone. More than half of American veterans recently reported having little to no understanding of the benefits they have earned through the Veterans Administration.

Below you will find a resource guide to help you learn more about your loved one’s eligibility.

To receive VA medical benefits, a veteran must have:

(Related: New Online Resource is Vets’ Guide to Long Term Care Option)

• Served in the Army, Navy or Air Force or must have served as a reservist or National Guard member called to active duty (for a purpose other than training) and must have completed the full call-up period.
• Been honorably discharged or released. Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months, or the full period for which they were called to active duty, to be eligible. This minimum-duty requirement may not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out, or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

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If a veteran meets those basic requirements, he or she can receive VA medical benefits regardless of income or net worth if one or more of the following is true:
• The veteran was discharged or separated for medical reasons, early out or hardship.
• The veteran served in a theater of combat operations within the five years before applying for benefits.
• The veteran was discharged because of a disability (not pre-existing).
• The veteran was a prisoner of war.
• The veteran received a Purple Heart medal.
• The veteran now receives VA pension or disability benefits or state Medicaid benefits.

If a veteran does not meet the above requirements, eligibility for medical benefits depends on the veteran’s current income and net worth. Counted income is reduced by a veteran’s regular medical expenses.

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The exact dollar limits on limits on income and assets depend on the number of the veteran’s dependents and where the veteran lives. Utilize the financial calculator provided by the VA to determine whether their income and assets make them eligible for veteran medical benefits.

For more information about paying for a loved one’s care, visit

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