Honoring Gold Star Families

Close-up of a gold star on a blue shirt

Gold star families – spouses, children, parents, siblings or others whose loved one died in service to our nation – are a vital part of our country’s military community and history.

How did the term gold star originate? During World War I, families displayed small banners with a blue star for every immediate family member serving in the armed forces. If their service member died in service, the family replaced the blue star with a gold star. The gold star let the community know that their service member died or was killed while serving their country.

Today, the nation recognizes gold star survivors in several ways to show its deep gratitude, including:

  • Designating the last Sunday of September as Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day
  • Recognizing April 5 as Gold Star Spouses Day
  • Authorizing the Gold Star Lapel Button

These buttons are a symbol of the nation’s appreciation of a service member’s sacrifice to country and service, allowing us to honor and recognize the families of these brave men and women. To learn more about the Gold Star Lapel Button and how to honor gold star families:

Even though gold star families have experienced a great loss, their ties to the military community remain strong. Their military networks are dedicated to supporting them. To learn more about the resources and benefits available to gold star survivors, download A Survivor’s Guide to Benefits: Taking Care of Our Families, or see an overview of what’s available at Gold Star & Surviving Family Members – Benefits.

More comprehensive information about various benefits for gold star survivors can be found in the Gold Star & Surviving Family Members section of Military OneSource.

Understanding the Role of the Casualty Assistance Officer

Service member teaching class

In its effort to ensure that military families have support in their time of need when a service member is declared deceased, whereabouts unknown or missing, the Department of Defense’s Casualty Assistance Program assigns a dedicated casualty assistance officer to advise and assist the primary next of kin.

Your casualty assistance officer

In such cases, a casualty assistance officer is to assist the primary next of kin. Separate assistance officers will also be assigned to the parents of married service members, who are considered the secondary next of kin.

Each military service branch has different titles for their casualty assistance officers. Although the titles may differ, the services provided are the same.

  • Army — Casualty Assistance Officer
  • Marine Corps — Casualty Assistance Calls Officer
  • Navy — Casualty Assistance Calls Officer
  • Air Force — Casualty Assistance Representative
  • Coast Guard — Casualty Assistance Calls Officer

Meeting your casualty assistance officer

Shortly after you’ve been notified of your loved one’s status, you’ll receive a phone call from your casualty assistance officer to arrange a visit, unless your casualty assistance officer is the one who notified you of your loved one’s status. The officer will do the following:

  • Ask if you have immediate concerns
  • Confirm your mailing address
  • Arrange to meet with you at the earliest time and place convenient to you. It’s important to meet with your casualty assistance officer as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours of his or her call.

The first assistance visit will be brief, probably lasting less than an hour. When you meet your casualty assistance officer, you may be asked for the following information:

  • A mailing address where you may be reached for the next 45 days. If this is not the same as your current mailing address, you should provide both your current and future addresses.
  • Verification of all known family members including the marital status of your loved one and any previous marriages, and copies of divorce decrees and child custody orders.
  • Identification of all the service member’s children. Please don’t be offended if your casualty assistance officer asks you whether a loved one was married before and if there are any children from that or other relationships.
  • Verification of names other than his or her given name — nickname, middle name or maiden name — your loved one was known by.

Follow-up visits

Your casualty assistance officer will schedule a follow-up visit soon after the initial visit and will continue to schedule as many follow-up visits as necessary. Depending on your branch of service, you may also meet with a mortuary affairs officer. During these meetings, you will discuss payment of the death gratuity, preparation for the funeral, any honors due to your loved one and any questions you may have.

Certification Process Eases for Student Recipients of Survivor Benefit Plan

Mother helping daughter with homework

Current as of May 15, 2020

The certification process has gotten easier for students age 18 and older covered as a child annuitant under the military Survivor Benefit Plan.

The changes went into effect in May 2020, highlighted by the following:

  • A simpler certification form
  • A student’s ability to self-certify
  • An extension of the certification deadline to annually instead of each term/semester

SBP annuity payments for qualifying high school and college students are not affected by school closures in the wake of coronavirus disease 2019.

A quick SBP overview

The Department of Defense sponsors and subsidizes the SBP, which provides an ongoing monthly annuity (up to 55% of the service member’s retired pay) to military spouses and/or children when a military member dies while on active duty, inactive duty or after retirement.

Coverage is automatic and at no cost for members on active duty and for Reserve Component members while performing inactive-duty training. Active-duty members can purchase coverage upon retirement. Reserve Component members can elect full-time coverage, whether on duty or not, when they reach 20 years of qualifying service for reserve retired pay.

The department’s fiscal year 2020 budget made changes to the amount of the survivor benefit. The change, which takes place over three years, specifically affects those spouses and children of service members who died on active duty when the surviving spouse previously elected to transfer the SBP annuity to a child or children.

Student eligibility for the military SBP

The SBP’s child annuity payments typically end when recipients turn 18. You are eligible to continue receiving payments until the end of the school year during which you turn 22, as long as you remain unmarried and you attend one of the following full time:

  • High school
  • Accredited trade school
  • Accredited technical school
  • Accredited vocational institute
  • Accredited college or university

Easing the certification process

The DOD simplified the process of students becoming certified in other ways, including:

  • Students will now self-certify. So they will no longer need a school official’s signature or school documentation when they certify full-time attendance. With COVID-19 school closures, this truly simplifies the process.
  • Simpler Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter for certifying past attendance.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service details the new certification process on their website, including all the changes. Make sure to complete the updated Child Annuitant’s School Certification form.

The DOD is taking steps to make it easier to validate each student’s eligibility with an online option for uploading and submitting school certification forms. Use the AskDFAS online upload tool.

How to submit certification forms

Here are three no-cost ways you can submit your school certification form each term/semester. (Be sure to keep a copy for your records each time.)

  • Online: You now have a convenient online option. DFAS created a submission module, https://go.usa.gov/xymaH, where you can upload a school certification form through AskDFAS on the DFAS.mil website. This is accessible on mobile browsers. Simply fill in the required information in the online screen, and upload a PDF of your completed and signed DD Form 2788.
  • By mail:
    Defense Finance and Accounting Service
    U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
    8899 E. 56th Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46249-1300
  • By fax: 800-982-8459

If you would like to receive email reminders when it is time to submit your school certifications, follow the simple directions to create a profile in myPay.

Questions?

Look for additional information about military benefits on the DFAS website. You can also speak with a customer service representative at 216-522-5955 or 800-321-1080, or write to the address above.

Military OneSource and the Office of Financial Readiness have more resources and tips to help you and your family members prepare for your financial future. Follow FINRED on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and look for more on YouTube (streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks) and the FINRED website and blog.

Moving After the Death of Your Loved One

Woman sitting with moving boxes

Moving after the death of a loved one can be an important step toward creating your new normal. However, it can be emotionally exhausting. In addition to grieving, you may be faced with deciding where to relocate and worried about what to do with your loved one’s belongings.

Deciding where to move

Some things to consider when choosing your next home:

  • The best location to find support. Depending on your situation, you may find it comforting to move near family and friends, especially if you have young children. You may want to relocate near a military installation for a variety of services for yourself as well as your children.
  • Seeking new employment. You may want to consider looking into employment opportunities before you decide where to move. If you’re seeking employment through the federal government, you may be able to take advantage of special preference programs. Contact Military OneSource’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities to get a certified career counselor in your corner. Your SECO career coach can connect you with employers, education or other career resources in your current or new area.
  • The affordability of your location. Perhaps you need to relocate to a place that allows you to live comfortably with your survivor benefits.

What’s next?

Once you’ve made a decision about where to move, you may want to:

Take your time with your loved one’s possessions

You, and only you, should decide what to do with your loved one’s personal belongings. When you are ready, you can sort your loved one’s belongings at your own pace and may want to consider asking friends and family for help. Ask yourself questions about each item to help you decide what to do with it such as:

  • Could this item make a good heirloom for kids or grandkids?
  • Would a family friend find comfort in the item?
  • Can I donate it to charity to provide comfort to others?
  • Should I keep it for myself?

Resources

Moving away from the military doesn’t mean that your relationship with the military has to end. As a surviving spouse, you have access to military installations and may access your Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities, commissary, exchange and medical privileges.

Military OneSource can help you through this process. Available 24 hours a day, this free service can provide you help through:

Moving isn’t a one-person job. Tap into the support that is available to you and take advantage of the resources that can help you take this important step forward to your new normal.

Understanding the Probate Process, Survivor Benefits and Resources for Financial Planning

Intern fills out papers in legal office

Current as of May 15, 2020

While no actions can erase the pain you feel after losing a family member or loved one, getting your financial and legal affairs in order can be a small step in the right direction and can provide some peace of mind during this difficult time.

Here are a few essentials to consider as you address financial and legal affairs in the days following the death of a loved one.

Understanding the probate process

When your loved one dies, the probate process will begin in the county of their legal residence at the time of death. If your loved one had a will, the person they named as the executor will take charge of finalizing his or her affairs. If there isn’t a will, the court will appoint an administrator. With or without a will, the probate process can be divided into four steps. Here’s what you can expect to happen.

Step 1: the probate hearing

  • The judge formally appoints the executor or administrator to be the personal representative throughout the probate process.
  • The validity of the will is established and the court issues an order “admitting the will to probate,” which causes the will to become public record.
  • The personal representative is given a document, called the “letters of administration” or “letters testamentary,” that grants him or her the full authority to deal with the decedent’s probate property and accounts.

Step 2: collection and inventory of assets

The designated personal representative takes an inventory of the estate assets and files this inventory with the court. These assets may include money owed to the decedent or the estate, bank and stock brokerage accounts, and evaluations of real estate or property.

  • Money owed to the decedent or the estate includes loans, a final paycheck, life insurance payouts or retirement account(s).
  • Bank and stock brokerage accounts includes account numbers and latest balances.
  • Evaluations of real estate or property will probably require a professional appraisal.

Step 3: bills, taxes, expenses and creditors

  • Any final bills, debts, taxes or claims against the deceased are reviewed for their validity and then paid with funds from the estate. You are not personally responsible for paying these expenses out-of-pocket, even if estate funds are not available.
  • Once all debts and bills are paid, the personal representative files a report with the court to account for all income received and payments made on behalf of the estate.

Step 4: formal transfer of remaining estate property

  • The remainder of the property is distributed as the will directs or according to state law if there isn’t a will.
  • Depending on the state, there may be a state-required waiting period before property can be officially sold or transferred, which is usually six months.
  • Once all remaining estate property is transferred to heirs and beneficiaries, the personal representative completes a final settlement of the estate that details all dealings.
  • The judge then approves the final settlement and the personal representative’s duties are complete.

If you need more information on the probate process, contact your local legal assistance attorney. You can find legal assistance offices through the Armed Forces Legal Assistance website.

Make sure your wishes are properly carried out should the unthinkable happen by creating a last will and testament. Plan ahead with everything you need to know about estate planning.

Understanding benefits

The Department of Defense and other agencies are committed to doing everything possible to assist you as you deal with the financial details and decisions that surround the death of an active-duty service member. Every service member’s family may be eligible for certain benefits, such as:

Death gratuity: Death gratuity is a lump-sum payment made by the Department of Defense to the survivors or other individuals identified by the service member prior to his or her death while on active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty for training or within the 120 days of release from active duty if the death is due to a service-related disability. The amount of death gratuity is $100,000 and is tax exempt.

Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance, or SGLI: Upon the death of the service member, SGLI payment is made by the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.

Survivor Benefit Plan, or SBP: Surviving spouses or children of service members who die in the line of active duty may be entitled to SBP payments. The automatic monthly SBP death benefit is provided at no cost, as service members do not pay into this benefit when on active duty.

Student eligibility for military SBP: The SBP’s child annuity payments typically end when recipients turn 18. You are eligible to continue receiving payments until the end of the school year during which you turn 22, as long as you remain unmarried and you attend one of the following full time:

  • High school
  • Accredited trade school
  • Accredited technical school
  • Accredited vocational institute
  • Accredited college or university

The certification process has gotten easier for students age 18 and older covered as a child annuitant under the military Survivor Benefit Plan.

The changes went into effect in May 2020, highlighted by the following:

  • A simpler certification form
  • A student’s ability to self-certify
  • An extension of the certification deadline to annually instead of each term/semester

SBP annuity payments for qualifying high school and college students are not affected by school closures in the wake of coronavirus disease 2019.

The DOD simplified the process of students becoming certified in other ways, including:

  • Students will now self-certify. So they will no longer need a school official’s signature or school documentation when they certify full-time attendance. With COVID-19 school closures, this truly simplifies the process.
  • Simpler Child Annuitant’s Certification for Previous Attendance Letter for certifying past attendance.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service details the new certification process on their website, including all the changes. Make sure to complete the updated Child Annuitant’s School Certification form.

The DOD is taking steps to make it easier to validate each student’s eligibility with an online option for uploading and submitting school certification forms. Use the AskDFAS online upload tool.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC: This compensation will probably be the most important part of an eligible survivor’s long-range financial planning. It is paid to eligible survivors of active-duty service members and survivors of those veterans who deaths are determined by the VA to be service-related.

Assistance from the Social Security Administration: Monthly Social Security payments are paid to a spouse or a divorced spouse with children of the deceased service member under the age of 16, or disabled before the age of 18. The amount paid will be determined by the Social Security Administration.

Using your online survivor benefits report to set financial goals

The online survivor benefits report (PDF), allows you to view current and estimated future benefits, and set up savings and spending plans so you can forecast your financial future. Some useful features include:

  • The “what ifs”: See how different scenarios, such as changes to marital, education and disability status, will impact your current and future benefits. For example, if a spouse remarries before age 55, the Survivor Benefit Plan annuity is suspended, but can be reinstated if the remarriage ends by death or divorce. If the surviving spouse remarries at age 55 or older, the annuity continues uninterrupted for the duration of the spouse’s life. Current and “what if” reports can be saved or printed.
  • Homeownership possibilities: Look at your current finances and your financial future and decide if, or when, you should buy a home. Surviving spouses who have not remarried may be eligible for a Department of Veterans Affairs home loan guaranty, which they can use to buy a home, build a home or refinance an existing loan. Additional information about the VA home loan program is available on the VA website.
  • Education benefits: Whether you’re thinking about your own education or your child’s, the interactive report can help you financially plan for obtaining higher education, certification, technical or vocational school, apprenticeships or other educational programs. As a surviving spouse, you may access education benefits from the VA up to 20 years after the death of your service member. Surviving military children can typically use their benefits between the ages of 18 and 26.
  • Retirement options: Your report will show you how much money you should be receiving now and project your future benefits. That can help you decide how much money to set aside now for your retirement years.

Start preparing for your future by accessing your online survivor benefits report, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To log in and view personal reports, select your loved one’s branch of service below and follow instructions on the site:

If you don’t already have a Premium DS Logon account you can create one on the DMDC’s website. Meanwhile, Military OneSource also offers financial counseling and can help you with financial- or benefits-related questions. Call 800-342-9647. OCONUS/Overseas? Click here for calling options.

Contact the family assistance support team at 877-827-2471, or by email at osbr@afsc.com, about any questions concerning your report. Recipients of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance are entitled to a lifetime of free financial advice from FinancialPoint, an independent company whose team of professionals are experts in handling a wide range of financial matters on behalf of the VA.

Long-term survivor care programs

The services’ long-term survivor care programs also provide free services with financial counselors, as well as Military OneSource:

Meet the Team Behind Military OneSource’s Call Center

Military OneSource call center professional

As the one source to connect you to your best MilLife, Military OneSource provides both a robust website full of information and a call center with a team of friendly professionals standing ready to assist you with any need you have. We’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by telephone and online to help you with everyday life and your biggest milestones. Watch our brief video to meet this dynamic and qualified team of experts and learn about the range of services offered through Military OneSource.

Contact Military OneSource 24/7.

You can get personalized help 365 days a year by telephone and online.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Non-medical counseling is available to help you thrive

Confidential, non-medical counseling is a popular and proven service among service members and their families. Our counselors know military life, so they understand your challenges and how to help. We provide marriage and relationship counseling, parent and child counseling, sessions to ease deployment adjustment and other kinds of support to help you thrive at work and home. Support is just a call or click away. We provide counseling sessions face-to-face, by phone, online chat or secure live video.

Other popular services

At Military OneSource, we provide specialty consultations and other services to help service members and their families, including:

  • Tax and financial counselors who can help you prepare your taxes or assist with budgets, debt counseling or buying a new home.
  • Health and wellness coaches who support you with your healthy living goals and stress reduction.
  • Our peer support service, which provides opportunities for active-duty, National Guard and reserve members and military spouses to speak with someone who has been there, done that.
  • Relocation assistance to help you master your next PCS.
  • Assistance on elder care, adoption, special needs, education and career goals, relocation and more.

Streaming YouTube is currently blocked from DOD networks.

Who’s Eligible?

All active-duty, National Guard and Reserve Component service members regardless of activation status, recently separated service members, military families and survivors have access to Military OneSource resources anywhere in the world at no cost. Services are available by phone and online. Learn more about eligibility.

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Learn more about the range of services offered by Military OneSource. Our team of professionals is here to meet your needs. For more information, call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Click here for OCONUS calling options.

What to Expect During Military Funeral Honors

Army general gives burial flag to surviving spouse during her husband’s funeral.

From the folding of the flag to the sounding of Taps, here is a guide to what you can expect during military funeral honors.

The Military Funeral Honors Program includes traditions, within the funeral honors, intended to express deep gratitude for those who have served our nation.

To receive military funeral honors you must:

  • Provide at least two-days notification. The military services need the time to organize the resources for a military funeral honors detail.
  • Request military funeral honors through the eligible veteran’s funeral director/planner or funeral honors coordinator.

Understanding Military Funeral Honors and Eligibility

Providing military funeral honors is the nation’s way of showing gratitude and paying final tribute to a veteran’s honorable military service. Review the MilLife Learning eTutorial to better understand the Military Funeral Honors Program and eligibility.

The Sounding of Taps, Folding of the Flag and More

By law, military units are required to provide, at a minimum, a two-person uniformed detail to present the core elements of the funeral honors ceremony. The core elements include the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag. The veteran’s service uniformed representative will present the flag.

Taps and the ceremonial bugle: The version of Taps we know today was officially recognized by the U.S. Army in 1874. Beginning in 1891, the playing of Taps became standard at military funeral ceremonies and was legislated in 2013 as the “National Song of Military Remembrance.” The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2000 directed the playing of Taps at veterans’ military funerals. Although a live bugler is preferred, a ceremonial bugle or a high-quality recording on a stereo player may be used. (A ceremonial budge is an electronic device that fits directly inside the bell portion of a bugle and contains a recording of Taps.)

Flag presentation protocol and flag folding: The U.S. flag honors the memory of a service member or veteran’s service to our country. The ceremonial folding and presentation of the flag is a moving tribute of lasting importance to our service members, veterans and their families.

The flag is draped on a closed casket so the union blue field is at the head and over the left shoulder of the deceased. When an urn is used, the flag is already in a military fold. The lead body bearer carries the folded flag to the right of the urn. Once the urn comes to rest, the body bearers unfold the flag and hold it at the pall over the cremains. The remainder of the ceremony is conducted in the same manner as casketed remains.

After Taps is played, the flag is carefully folded into the symbolic tricorn shape. A properly proportioned flag will fold 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag is emblematic of the tricorn hat worn by the patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident, leaving only the blue field with stars.

It is then presented as a keepsake to the next of kin or a close friend or associate of the deceased veteran if there is no next of kin.

The flag presentation protocol is as follows:

  • Stand facing the flag recipient and hold the folded flag waist high with the straight edge facing the recipient.
  • Lean toward the flag recipient and solemnly present the flag to the recipient.

Effective April 17, 2012, the Department of Defense standardized the flag presentation language for military funeral honors ceremonies. The following words, mandated by the DOD, will be used when presenting the American flag during the funeral service:

“On behalf of the President of the United States, (the United States Army; the United States Marine Corps; the United States Navy; the United States Air Force or the United States Coast Guard), and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service.”

Burial flag: To get a burial flag, complete a VA Form 27-2008, “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes,” and take it to your funeral director, any VA regional office, or a post office. (Call ahead to make sure your local post office has burial flags.)

  • Burial flags are provided at no cost.
  • The flag will be presented to the veteran’s next of kin. If no claim is made for the flag by the next of kin, it may be given, upon request, to a close friend or associate of the deceased veteran.
  • Additional information can be obtained from the VA’s website.

Additional funeral honors elements: Depending on available resources and personnel, other elements may be added to the minimum two-person uniformed detail. These elements may include a gun salute, color guard, pallbearers, a caisson and a military flyover. Trained volunteers through the Authorized Provider Partnership Program and veteran services organizations may augment the two-person service detail as members of the firing party or color guard. They can also serve as pallbearers and assist in other elements of the process.

  • Military flyovers: Military flyovers are not part of the mandated funeral honors ceremony as required by Title 10, Section 1491 United States Code, but can be arranged if supporting personnel and aircraft are available.

    It should be noted that requests for a military flyover are simply that, requests. Approval for such requests must go through an administrative process within each military service. Approval is based on many factors, including the eligibility of the deceased, the availability of personnel and aircraft, the location of the funeral service, the time and date of the funeral, and weather conditions.

  • Burial at sea: Burial at sea is a means of final disposition of cremated or casketed remains that is performed on U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels. (The Coast Guard will not normally provide burial at sea for casketed remains). Family members are not routinely authorized to be present, especially for the Navy, as the committal ceremony is performed while the ship is deployed. The commanding officer of the ship assigned to perform the ceremony will notify the family of the date, time, and longitude and latitude once the committal service has been completed. For additional information concerning eligibility and procedures, please refer to Navy Personnel Command or the Coast Guard.

These details of military funeral honors are intended to honor the service member or veteran’s commitment and sacrifice to their country and provide comfort and gratitude to their families.

Questions? You can ask your military funeral honors coordinator or call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

Veterans Affairs Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Members

VA benefits for National Guard

Guard and reserve members are entitled to benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, just like their active-duty counterparts. The VA can help Guard and reserve members cover the cost of school, secure a home loan or acquire life insurance. Whether you’re preparing for life after military or you’ve already made the military-to-civilian transition, you’ll want to learn what VA benefits are available to you.

Here are the VA benefits for which Guard and reserve members are eligible:

  • Education benefits – If you’re currently serving you may be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill® – Selected Reserve. If you were called to active duty for at least 90 days since Sept. 11, 2001, you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Reserve Education Assistance Program.
  • Home loan guaranties – Guard and reserve members are eligible for a VA loan guaranty after you have completed six years of service in the Selected Reserve or if you’ve been on active duty for 90 days. For more information, visit the VA’s Home Loan Guaranty website, or call the Loan Eligibility Center at 888-244-6711.
  • Homelessness prevention programs – If you or a veteran you know are struggling to find permanent housing or facing eviction or foreclosure, make the call to 877-4AID-VET (424-3838), or chat online to learn more about the support services the VA offers. Learn about all the programs that can help you overcome or prevent homelessness on the VA website.
  • Life insurance – To qualify, you must be assigned to a unit in which you are required to perform active duty or active duty for training, and will be scheduled to perform at least 12 periods of inactive duty creditable for retirement. You can also get life insurance for your family and convert your life insurance to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. Learn more about coverage at the VA’s Life Insurance website.
  • Medical care – You may be eligible for Veterans Affairs medical centers, clinics, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, which are the core of the VA’s services. Veterans with service-connected disabilities get the highest priority at a VA medical facility, while other veterans receive care based on availability.
  • Disability compensation – If you’re a veteran with injuries or illnesses resulting from active-duty military service, you may be eligible for disability compensation. The amount is based on the severity of the disability.
  • Rehabilitation – If you have a service-connected disability, the VA’s Rehabilitation and Employment Program can help you transition out of the military. The program offers counseling services, education and training, job assistance and financial aid. Visit the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment resources for more information.
  • Survivor benefits – Spouses and dependent children of service members who died on active duty or as a result of service-related disabilities may be eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. Other survivor benefits include the Civilian Health and Medical Program and the Dependents’ Education Assistance Program. For details on any of these survivor benefits, visit the VA’s Veterans Benefits website.