Service in the U.S. military can be both exhilarating and terrifying for military families, especially when their loved ones are sent to a combat zone or other dangerous situation. While these brave people put their lives at risk, their families also bear some of the financial burdens of military life, especially if a militarily loved one is injured, disabled, or killed while on duty.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers numerous benefits to help active service members, veterans, and their families meet numerous costs for many critical services, from education to health care to mortgage payments. Particularly in cases where a family member has passed away, family members may not be able to tell that they still have access to VA benefits. Here are 10 VA Benefits Military Families Should Know About.
Last updated: May 13, 2021
Family members of an active, retired, or deceased service member, National Guard soldier, reservist, or Medal of Honor recipient may be eligible for health insurance (including prescription, dental, and even some special needs programs) under the TRICARE program, according to information of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you are a surviving spouse or child of a deceased service member, you can also obtain coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) civil health and medical program.
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The GI bill will help members or veterans of active duty, National Guard or Reserves, or qualified survivors or dependents pay for college degrees and non-college education programs and certifications. Eligible members earn credit towards a college degree or professional training programs (e.g., HVAC repair, trucking, or emergency medical training). This benefit can help veterans and family members make career changes. In addition, non-college veterans can take advantage of the VET TEC program for computer coding bootcamps and information science programs. Free IT certifications are also available to veterans.
Transfer of GI Bill Credits
In some cases, family members may be able to transfer a deceased veteran’s GI Bill credits for their use in pursuing college degrees or non-in-service training programs. While there was previously a 15 year usage limit, that limit was lifted in 2015 by the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act or the Forever GI Bill to make educational services accessible to service members, veterans and their families with greater ease.
Active service members can obtain life insurance coverage through the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program. SGLI is offered in increments of $ 50,000 up to a maximum of $ 400,000. There are age restrictions. However, for service members deployed in combat, the SGLI is invariably increased to the maximum coverage amount of $ 400,000. Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) enables a veteran to convert their SGLI to a civilian program (with lifelong coverage) after leaving service. In addition, Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) from Family Servicemembers offers life insurance to the spouses and children of service members with SGLI coverage.
For veterans and their families who are having difficulty paying their mortgage, the Department of Veterans Affairs can offer assistance through special repayment plans, loan forbearance, and loan modification programs. Additional benefits are available to veterans with VA loans and homeless veterans.
VA loans and access to foreclosures
Not only do active service members and veterans qualify for VA loans, which often don’t require cash, but the VA maintains a list of all VA homes that have gone into foreclosure. This gives veterans a chance to browse these VA acquired properties and purchase them for a discount.
Support with career transitions
American Corporate Partners (ACP) is a national not-for-profit organization that helps veterans and active spouses make career transitions after the military “through personal mentoring, networking, and online career counseling.” They connect veterans with corporate employment and other career opportunities.
Long term care
Caring for a disabled or aging veteran can be an expensive but necessary process for families. Family members may be able to benefit from the VA’s Aid and Attendance program, which can help with the costs of nursing homes, assisted living programs, and other long-term care options. Couples can receive up to $ 25,020 per year. Veteran’s surviving spouses may be eligible for up to $ 13,560 per year for long-term care expenses.
Care assistance for disabled veterans
When a veteran is wounded to the point of disability on duty, the Department of Veterans Affairs provides assistance, advice, and programs to those who serve as caregivers for the wounded veteran. The benefit may also extend to carers for members of the military whose disability is not related to active service.
Death and funeral benefits
The death of a loved one is a difficult time without worrying about the costs associated with their death. Veterans or service members killed on duty can be buried in a national cemetery with available space for free, and families can receive a free headstone or headstone from the VA. Families may also be eligible for funeral services to cover these costs. They can also request that a U.S. flag be hung over the coffin and a Presidential Memorial Certificate to honor the service of their loved ones.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com:: 10 VA Benefits Every Military Family Should Know About