September 26, 2021

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10 VA Benefits Every Military Family Should Know About

Geber86 / Getty Images

Geber86 / Getty Images

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

A young black woman is at a routine doctor's appointment.

A young black woman is at a routine doctor’s appointment.

Health insurance

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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Male teacher giving a lecture from desktop pc during class in computer room.

Male teacher giving a lecture from desktop pc during class in computer room.

Educational benefits

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.

Find out: 4 Ways Military Members and Their Families Can Achieve Financial Success

Virtual assistant

Virtual assistant

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.

Learn: How Much Do Veterans Make On Military Retirement?

Sad military soldier says goodbye to her son.

Sad military soldier says goodbye to her son.

Life insurance

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.

Connected: 5 unique financial challenges for military families

Serious African American couple discussing paper documents, sitting on the couch at home together, husband and wife checking bills, bank balance, contract terms, mortgage, loan agreement.

Serious African American couple discussing paper documents, sitting on the couch at home together, husband and wife checking bills, bank balance, contract terms, mortgage, loan agreement.

Mortgage assistance

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.

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All too common scene of a scruffy ranch style home in the foreclosure process in a working class subdivision in the United States, with an overgrown yard and bushes making it a thorn in the side of the neighborhood.

All too common scene of a scruffy ranch style home in foreclosure in a working class subdivision in the United States, with an overgrown yard and bushes making the neighborhood a thorn in the side.

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.

See: 4 Health services available only to military families

Business interview.

Business interview.

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.

Helpful: The Post-Military Career Tip You Must Know About

Side view of Asian nurse and senior African American male patient interacting with each other while standing in corridor at retirement home.

Side view of Asian nurse and senior African American male patient interacting with each other while standing in corridor at retirement home.

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.

Find out: 14 Key Signs You run out of money when you retire

A disabled man is sitting in a wheelchair.

A disabled man is sitting in a wheelchair.

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.

See: Paid Family Vacation – All You Need To Know

Close up view of tombstone in cemetery with red rose flower.

Close up view of tombstone in cemetery with red rose flower.

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