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Veterans & Military Funeral Honors – Benefits

As a veteran, you may be eligible to choose between two GI Bill programs for educational benefits: the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill.

  • If you served at least 90 days of active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which can pay up to 100% of public school tuition, housing assistance, and more. If your service ended before Jan.1, 2013, you have 15 years to use this benefit. If your service ended on or after Jan. 1, 2013, the benefit won’t expire.
  • The Montgomery GI Bill is for service members who have served at least two years of active duty and paid into the Montgomery GI Bill program. Service members may receive up to 36 months of education benefits. The monthly benefit is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, any college fund eligibility, and if you contributed to the $600 buy-up program.
  • The Post-9/11 Bill may allow you to transfer your benefits to your spouse or child if you meet certain requirements.
  • You may also qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program, which will pay additional funds for your education.

Health care and medical benefits

The VA provides world-class health care benefits to eligible veterans. It’s the nation’s largest integrated health care system.

  • You may be entitled to additional VA medical benefits if you are a separating combat veteran.
  • Depending on the circumstances of your discharge, you and your family may be eligible for extended transitional health care benefits from TRICARE through the Transition Assistance Management Program.
  • For specific information on medical benefits for you and your family, call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 800-538-9552 or visit the DEERS website.

Life insurance

The VA offers low-cost term life insurance coverage to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, veterans and their families.

Home loans and housing assistance

  • The VA guarantees home loans made by private lenders to veterans and, in some cases, surviving spouses.
  • VA home loan programs may be used to obtain homes, condominiums or manufactured homes; refinance an existing home loan; or make energy-saving home improvements.
  • Disabled veterans may receive grants to adapt their homes to accommodate their disabilities.

Employment services

  • VA offers numerous employment services to help veterans in their transition to civilian jobs.
  • Career-enhancing services include education and training assistance, vocational and employment counseling and job-seeking tools.
  • The Department of Labor offers substantial career and job-seeking assistance.

Commissary and exchange privileges

Certain service members and families can retain some or all of their commissary and exchange privileges:

  • All honorably discharged veterans can shop online at military exchanges.
  • Retiring service members retain commissary and exchange privileges.
  • Involuntary separating service members may have continued access for two years as part of their transition assistance benefit.

If your service has resulted in a disability

VA Disability Compensation can enhance the independence of wounded warriors and help them care for their families. You may be eligible to receive tax-free benefits if you have suffered a service-connected injury or disease – no matter when or where you served.

Unemployment benefits

Depending on your discharge terms and state of residence, you may qualify for unemployment benefits through the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers Program.

Military OneSource counseling and other services

Discharged service members, retired service members, their immediate families and surviving spouses can continue to take advantage of the extensive counseling and support services offered by Military OneSource – for 365 days after transitioning out and some for longer.

Leaving no one behind

If you or someone you know is struggling with homelessness or is at imminent risk of becoming homeless, the VA can help. Contact your local VA medical center by calling 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838) or visiting to connect with the care that will get you back on your feet.

Military Funeral Honors program

A Military Funeral Honors ceremony will be provided to eligible beneficiaries upon request at no cost to the family.

  • The Military Funeral Honors ceremony consists of, at a minimum, the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag and the sounding of Taps by a detail of two uniformed members of the military services. At least one of the detail’s members will be from the parent service of the eligible beneficiary.
  • Depending on resources, availability and the veteran’s eligibility, additional elements of honors such as firing parties and pallbearers may be included in the funeral honors ceremony.
  • Local veterans organizations and chapters may be used to augment the service honors detail.

Military funeral honors may be requested by contacting the appropriate service coordinator to organize the details. It is common for a funeral director or funeral planner to make the arrangements on behalf of the family. For more information about the Military Funeral Honors program and eligibility, review the MilLife Learning eTutorial.

To learn more

Find out more about these and other veterans benefits on the VA website or at Explore VA. Eligibility and application processes vary by benefit and applicant.

Beyond benefits, the VA and other government agencies have numerous services and resources. See Military OneSource’s Veterans Programs, Services and Resources page for some top programs. Or speak to a Military OneSource consultant by calling 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

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