Although they spent time valiantly protecting America, many veterans have not taken the time to fully understand their benefits.
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A 2010 Veterans Affairs survey found that only 41% of veterans indicated that they had “a lot” or “some” understanding of their benefits. As a result, numerous benefits with the potential to help veterans and their families go unused.
Below are 5 of the most unused veteran benefits:
1. Aid and Attendance
Aid and Attendance is the Veterans Administration’s pension program that helps to provide long-term care for veterans. The program does not directly provide a long-term caregiver but gives veterans long-term payments in addition to their monthly pension. To qualify, veterans must be eligible for their monthly pension and be bedridden due to disability.
2. Tax Preparation
Unbeknownst to many veterans, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offices on most military bases provide free tax preparation. VITA programs are sponsored by the IRS and can help veterans sort through military-specific taxes. Additionally, many private tax preparation companies offer discounts for veterans.
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3. Transferrable G.I. Bill Credits for Education and Training
Veterans who have unused credits from the G.I. Bill can transfer the credits to their spouse or dependent family members. This benefit only applies to credits earned after the 9/11 G.I. Bill.
4. Burial Rites Benefits
Upon the death of a veteran, the veteran’s family is entitled to request benefits to honor the deceased. The Department of Veteran Affairs can give provide grave markers, an American flag to drape over the deceased’s casket, or a Presidential Memorial Certificate, which are all free of charge. Additionally, the Department of Veteran Affairs sometimes provides compensation or reimbursements for funeral services.
5. Certification Programs
The G.I. Bill provides up to $2,000 to help veteran’s obtain certifications for vocational programs and for changing careers. Many veterans do not know about this provision of the G.I. bill and think they can only receive credits towards college degree programs.
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