4 Helpful Lesser-Known Veterans Benefits

benefitsAs a veteran, you are probably aware of some of the benefits to which you are entitled. Most veterans know about the medical care services that you can receive through a VA hospital, and you might already be familiar with education programs that you can apply for through the G.I. Bill.

These more common programs are at the tip of the veteran benefit iceberg. From help with mortgages, to assistance with figuring out your taxes, and even identity theft protection, there is a nice variety of benefits that veterans can and should take advantage of.

Long-term Medical Care

As a veteran, both you and your spouse are eligible for long-term medical care. You already know about medical benefits, so the keywords here are “long term.” As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes, should you ever become housebound due to medical issues, you might be eligible for additional payments in addition to the monthly pension you are already receiving. The Aid and Attendance program applies to veterans who need help from others to do basic everyday tasks like bathing and dressing, as well as veterans who are in a nursing home, and/or have limited eyesight. In addition, the Housebound program involves an increase in your monthly pension when some type of disability confines you to your home for most of the time. Your surviving spouse may also be eligible to receive funds to cover long-term costs. In order to apply for these benefits, write to the Veterans Affairs office that handled your initial pension claim.

Identity Theft Protection

As a veteran, you spent part of your life protecting our country. Thanks to a discount that is available through LifeLock for Veterans of Foreign Wars members, the identity theft protection company will protect your personal information and private data. Right now, members of the VFW can save 10 percent on new identity protection services, which will keep vital information like your Social Security number, military ID, and other account numbers safe both here and overseas.

As a side note, the VFW website is an outstanding resource for veterans; its Member Benefits page lists dozens of discounts that you will receive for being a member. These include deals on everything from travel-related services to haircuts.

Help with Preparing Taxes

As anyone who has ever tried to organize piles of receipts and W2s knows quite well, preparing taxes is a cumbersome and confusing job. As Military Benefits notes, veterans and their families can get help with their taxes—all at no cost. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices are typically found on military bases and are staffed with people who can help prepare your tax return. In addition, the IRS offers free tax returns for elderly veterans who need help figuring out the complicated military tax forms.

Assistance with Home Loans

As a veteran, you can also get help to become a homeowner through the VA. Active service members and surviving spouses can also fulfill their American dreams of homeownership. In addition to various programs like refinances, interest rate reductions, and guaranty benefits, the VA website features helpful information and advice on how to apply for the various benefits. VA Home Loans are funded through many traditional private lenders like banks and other financial institutions.

If you are a first-time home buyer and have questions about the process, Veterans United Home Loans is also a terrific resource that can help guide you through everything and offer accurate advice on your various mortgage-related benefits.

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About Roger Young

Roger served with A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav “Silver Spurs” as a Scout Crew Chief in Vietnam from ’69 – ’70.

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