Veteran benefits are a collection of benefits you earn through service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Space Force. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a number of benefits, from healthcare and education to disability compensation, to support you after you serve.

With so many benefits available, it can sometimes be complicated for veterans to find programs they qualify for. Read on to learn more about the types of veteran benefits available, eligibility requirements, and how to sign up for them.

What are Veteran Benefits?

Veteran benefits are programs designed to support you after you serve. These benefits are designed to help veterans adjust back to civilian life and achieve new personal, professional, and financial goals. Veteran benefits include transition assistance, money for funding higher education and technical training, employment-related benefits, healthcare benefits, housing assistance, counseling, and other support.

Other than the benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are benefits offered by other government agencies, such as disabled veteran debt forgiveness programs from the U.S. Department of Education.

Types of Veteran Benefits

You can learn more about veteran benefits by calling the Veterans Affairs benefits phone number at 1-800-827-1000. You can also contact the VA online or through chat.

Healthcare Benefits for Veterans

The VA is committed to looking after the health and well-being of veterans and their families. You’ll receive access to a wide range of health-related plans and income support programs, such as:

  • Access to disability compensation and claims
  • Tax-free benefits for surviving dependents
  • Commercial and military group life insurance options

If you have been serving on active duty, you can apply for VA-provided health care once you’ve received your retirement or separation orders. You can receive free healthcare in VA medical centers or from eligible healthcare service providers for up to ten years after release or discharge for any condition related to your service.

If you’re a retired service officer or military member, you may also be eligible for the TRICARE program. The VA also offers a number of support services to caregivers, including monetary support for caregivers (often family members) of disabled veterans.

Education Benefits for Veterans

Veterans can also receive the training and education they need to transition to civilian life. The most well-known education benefit for veterans is the GI Bill, which helps pay for certifications, technical training, graduate school, and college.

If you have served for at least three years, you may be able to access benefits such as:

  • University and college tuition
  • Flight school
  • Entrepreneurship training
  • Trade school and vocational training
  • Certification and licensing courses
  • Part-time and online school

You may also qualify for Veterans Readiness and Employment services to help with education, job training, resume development, employment accommodations, and skills coaching. You may also be able to receive other services if you need help starting your own business.

Disability Compensation Benefits for Veterans

VA disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit for veterans who get injured or sick while serving in the military. It’s also available for veterans whose existing condition worsened due to service.

You may qualify for VA disability compensation for mental health conditions like PTSD and physical conditions that developed before, during, or after service. The VA assigns a disability rating (expressed as a percentage) to represent how much the disability has reduced your health, mobility, and ability to function on a daily basis.

Your disability compensation rate is based on your disability rating. The rating is also used to determine your eligibility for other disabled veteran benefits, including health care.

Burial Benefits for Veterans

Interment or burial for veterans is free in Arlington National Cemetery or in a VA National Cemetery. Many tribes and state benefits also offer inexpensive or free burials for veterans and their immediate family members in veterans’ cemeteries.

The VA also offers a Presidential Memorial Certificate and free headstones. Burial allowances are paid to eligible family members to help defray funeral and burial costs. The allowance amount depends on whether the veteran was hospitalized by the VA or if the death was service-connected.

VA Loans

VA also helps service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. Veterans can get access to a mortgage loan guarantee benefit as well as other programs to help buy, repair, build, adapt, or retain a home for personal occupancy.

VA loans are available through mortgage companies and banks at favorable terms. One of the main benefits of the VA loan is that you don’t need a down payment to qualify for the loan. The interest rates are competitively low, and the closing costs are limited. There’s also no need for private mortgage insurance (PMI) with a VA loan.

Eligibility for Veteran Benefits

You must be a veteran to qualify for most VA benefits. In some cases, you may be able to qualify if you’re a dependent or survivor of a veteran. A veteran is defined as a person who has served in active military, air service, or navy and who was released or discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable.

Here are the basic qualification requirements for most VA benefits:

  • Must meet the definition of a veteran
  • Must meet the period of active-duty service requirements
  • Must meet active duty requirements
  • Must have received a discharge other than dishonorable discharge
  • Service-connected disabilities must not be due to willful misconduct
  • Can’t qualify for pension if the discharge was because of willful misconduct

Applying for Veteran Benefits

You can apply for veteran benefits on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at If you have questions or need assistance with benefits, you can also contact the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU).

Veterans can do many tasks online on the website, such as filing disability claims or applying for VA health care or the GI Bill. You’ll be able to find all the necessary forms, including VA Form 21-526EZ (VA disability claim), online, which makes the application process easy.

Other options for applying include visiting a VA regional office near you to apply in person, mailing to the VA regional claims processing office, or seeking help from an accredited representative to apply for benefits.

Check To See Which Veteran Benefits You Qualify For

Veteran benefits are always changing, so it's important to stay updated with current changes–everything from the VA Disability Compensation COLA increase in 2024 to changes in health care benefits.

If you have served in the military, there may be a number of benefits you qualify for. Check which benefits you qualify for on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.