Briefly explain the different types of benefits available for Veterans?
- Compensation: A monthly benefit depending upon rating percentage, with additional amounts for dependents of veterans with a 30 percent rating and above. This benefit is available for those veterans who have been able to establish a connection to a disability or illness etc., based upon military service.
- Pension: A monthly benefit for a single veteran with wartime service and a suitable type of discharge. Additional amounts are available for those with dependents and those considered to be housebound or in need of aid and attendance. This benefit is determined by the veteran's income from all sources and the veteran's employability. Age is not a sole determining factor.
- Death Pension: A monthly benefit available to the surviving spouse of an eligible veteran. This benefit has a maximum dollar amount per month(contact this office for the current amount) for a surviving spouse with no dependents. Additional amounts are available for those with dependents or those who meet certain medical conditions. This benefit also is based upon the applicant's income from all sources.
- Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): Payments may be available for surviving spouses who have not remarried, unmarried children under 18, helpless children, those between 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school and low-income parents of deceased service members or veterans. To be eligible, the deceased must have died from a service-connected disease or injury, or died while on active duty. Willful misconduct of veteran will prevent award of DIC to surviving dependents.
- Medical Services: These benefits are established by the Veterans Health Administration and provided by the various medical centers and community-based outpatient centers (CBOC). These benefits are for the veteran only and not the spouse or dependents except for those vets rated 100% for a service-connected disability. The veteran should contact the closest VAMC. In this area, it is the Marion Medical Center, 1700 E. 38th St., Marion or call: 1-800-498-8792. Veterans will need a copy of their DD FORM 214 or other proof of military service. Anyone interested in these services should contact us to obtain more information and to determine eligibility.
- Clothing Allowance: Any veteran who is entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability for which he or she uses prosthetic or orthopedic appliances may receive an annual clothing allowance. The allowance also is available to any veteran with a service-connected skin condition that requires a prescribed medication that damages the veteran's outer garments.
- Aid and Attendance or House-Bound: A veteran who is a patient in a nursing home, who is otherwise determined by VA to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person or who is permanently house-bound, may be entitled to higher income limitations or additional benefits, depending on the type of pension received. This benefit is also for eligible widows who are entitled to benefits under the pension program and they also may be entitled to higher income limitations or additional benefits.
Enumerate the Education and Training program available for Veterans?
The Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty)
provides a program of education benefits to individuals who enter active duty for the first time after June 30, 1989, and receive an honorable discharge. Active duty includes full-time National Guard duty performed after Nov 29, 1989. Members of the Army and Air Force National Guard who enlisted between June 30, 1985 and Nov. 29, 1989, had to decide before July 9, 1997, to participate in the Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty). To receive the maximum benefit, the participant must serve on active duty for three years. An individual also may qualify for the full benefit by initially service two continuous years on active duty, followed by four years of Selected Reserve service, beginning within one year of release from active duty. To participate in the Montgomery GI Bill, service members have their military pay reduced by $100.00 a month for the first 12 months of active duty. This money is not refundable. The participant must have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate before the first period of active duty ends. Credits granted by colleges for life experiences may be used to meet this requirement. Completing a minimum of 12 credit hours toward a college degree meets this requirement. Individuals who serve a continuous period of at least three years of active duty, even though they were initially obligated to serve less, will be paid the maximum benefit. Benefits under this program generally end 10 years from the date of the veteran's last discharge or release from active duty, but some extenuating circumstances qualify for extensions. A veteran with a discharge upgraded by the military will have 10 years from the date of the upgrade. Discharges and separations for the Montgomery GI Bill program, the discharge must be honorable. Discharges designated "under honorable conditions" and "general" do not establish eligibility.
An honorable discharge for one of the following reasons may result in a reduction of the required length of active duty:
- Convenience of the government
- Medical condition existing before service
- Force reductions
- Physical or mental conditions that prevent satisfactory performance of duty
The following education and training are available under the Montgomery GI Bill:
- Courses at colleges and universities leading to associate, bachelor, or graduate degrees, and accredited independent study
- Courses leading to a certificate or diploma from business, technical, or vocational schools
- Apprenticeship or on-job training programs for individuals not on active duty
- Correspondence courses, under certain conditions
- Flight training, if the veteran has a private pilot license and meets the medical requirements upon beginning the training program
- Tutorial assistance benefits if the individual is enrolled in school halftime or more, and refresher, deficiency, and similar training
- State-approved teacher certification programs
Other items covered under this education bill are:
The Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve)
- Work study
- Counseling services
provides education benefits to members of the reserve elements of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, and to members of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
To be eligible for the program, a reservist must:
- Have a six-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve signed after June 30, 1985, or, if an officer agrees to serve six years in addition to the original obligation
- Complete Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT)
- Have a high-school diploma or equivalency certificate before completing IADT
- Remain in good standing in a Selected Reserve unit
Reservists may seek an undergraduate degree, go for graduate training, or take technical courses at colleges and universities. Flight training also is allowed. Those who have a six-year commitment beginning after Sept. 30, 1990, may take courses for a certificate or diploma from business, technical, or vocational schools; cooperative training; apprenticeship, or on-the-job training; correspondence courses; independent study programs; flight training; tutorial assistance; remedial, refresher and other training; and state-approved certification programs for training alternate teachers.
If a reservist stays in the Selected Reserve, benefits end 10 years from the date the reservist became eligible for the program. VA may extend the 10-year period if the individual could not train due to a disability caused by Selected Reserve service. If a reservist leaves the Selected Reserve because of a disability, the individual may use the full 10 years. VA may also extend the 10-year period if the reservist was ordered to active duty. In other cases, benefits end the day the reservist leaves the Selected Reserve, except that certain individuals separated from the Selected Reserve due to downsizing of the military between Oct. 1, 1991, and Sept. 30, 1999, will have the full 10 years to use their benefits. If the 10-year period ends while the participant is attending school, however, VA may pay benefits until the end of the term. If the training is not on a term basis, payments may continue for 12 weeks.
Other items covered under this education bill:
- Work study
- Counseling services
What does the term Vocational Rehabilitation mean?
Vocational rehabilitation is a process which enables persons with functional, psychological, developmental, cognitive, and emotional impairments or health disabilities to overcome barriers to accessing, maintaining, or returning to employment or other useful occupations.
A disabled veteran may receive employment assistance, self-employment assistance, training in a rehabilitation facility, and college and other training. Severely disabled veterans may receive assistance to improve their ability to live independently or to benefit from vocational rehabilitation.
Eligibility Veterans and service members are eligible for vocational rehabilitation if they meet these three conditions
- They suffer a service-connected disability or disabilities in active service that is rated at least 20 percent disabling. Veterans with a 10 percent disability may also be found eligible if they have serious employment handicap.
- They are discharged or released under other than dishonorable conditions or are hospitalized and awaiting separation for a service-connected condition at least 20 percent disabling.
- They need rehabilitation to overcome an employment handicap caused substantially from a service-connected disability.
The veteran must complete a rehabilitation program within 12 years of a military discharge. This period may be extended if a medical condition prevented the veteran from training or if the veteran has a serious employment handicap. Disabled veterans may receive services until they have reached their rehabilitation goal, up to 48 months. VA may provide counseling, job placement, and post-employment services for up to 18 additional months.
VA will pay the costs of tuition and required fees, books, supplies, and equipment. VA may also pay for special support, such as tutorial assistance, prosthetic devices, lip-reading training, and signing for the deaf. VA will help the veteran to pay for at least part of the transportation expenses unique to disabled people during training or the employment stages of the program. VA also can provide an advance against future benefit payments for veterans who run into financial difficulties during training.
VA will pay participants in advance for work-study at the three-quarter or full-time rate. A participant, with VA supervision, can provide outreach services, prepare, and process VA paperwork, work at a VA Medical Facility, or perform other approved activities.
Veterans awarded 100 percent disability compensation, based upon unemployability, may still request an evaluation. If found eligible, may participate in a vocational rehabilitation program and receive help in getting a job. A veteran who secures employment under the special program will continue to receive 100 percent disability compensation until the veteran has worked continuously for at least 12 months.
What are Home Loan Guaranties?
VA loan guaranties are to be used for the purchase of homes, condominiums, and manufactured homes.
Refinancing loans are made to be use by service members, veterans, reservists, and surviving spouses who have not remarried.
VA guarantees part of the total loan, permitting the purchaser to obtain a mortgage with a competitive interest rate, even without a down payment if the lender agrees. VA requires that a down payment be made for the purchase of a manufactured home. VA also requires a down payment for a home for condominium if the purchase price exceeds the reasonable value of the property or the loan has a graduated payment feature. With a VA guaranty, the lender is protected against loss up to the amount of the guaranty if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
A VA loan guaranty can be used to:
- Buy a home or residential condominium
- Build a home
- Repair, alter, or improve a home
- Refinance an existing home loan
- Buy a manufactured home with or without a lot
- Buy and improve a manufactured home lot
- Install a solar heating or cooling system or other weatherization improvements
- Purchase and improve a home simultaneously with energy efficient improvements
- Refinance an existing VA loan to reduce the interest rate and make energy-efficient improvements
- Refinance a manufactured home loan to acquire a lot
Eligibility Applicants must have a good credit rating, have an income sufficient to support mortgage payments, and agree to live on the property. To obtain a VA certificate of eligibility, complete VA Form 26-1880, "Request for Determination of Eligibility and Available Loan Guaranty Entitlement,". Eligibility varies with service.
The amount of the VA guaranty available to an eligible veteran is called the entitlement.
The entitlement may be considered the equivalent of a down payment by lenders. Up to $50,750 in entitlement may be available to veterans, purchasing or constructing homes, to be financed with a loan of more than $144,000 and to veterans who obtain an Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan of more than $144,000. The amount of entitlement varies with the loan amount. VA does not establish a maximum loan amount. No loan for the acquisition of a home, however, may exceed the reasonable value of the property. A loan for the purpose of refinancing existing mortgage loans or other liens secured on a dwelling is generally limited to 90% of the appraised value of the dwelling. A loan to reduce the interest rate on an existing VA guaranteed loan, however, can be made for an amount equal to the outstanding balance on the old loan plus closing costs, reasonable discount points, and energy-efficient improvements. A loan for the purchase of a manufactured home or lot is limited to 95% of the amount that would be subject to finance charges. The VA funding fee and up to $6,000 in energy-efficient improvements also may be included in the loan. A veteran who previously obtained a VA loan can use the remaining entitlement for a second purchase. The amount of remaining entitlement is the difference between $36,000 or $50,750 for special loans, and the amount of entitlement used on prior loans. Veterans refinancing an existing VA loan with a new VA loan at a lower interest rate, need not have any entitlement available for use. Required occupancy Veterans must certify that they intend to live in the home they are buying or building with a VA guaranty. A veteran who wishes to refinance or improve a home with a VA guaranty also must certify to being in occupancy at the time of application. A spouse may certify occupancy if the buyer is on active duty. In refinancing a VA guaranteed loan solely to reduce the interest rate, veterans need only certify to prior occupancy.
Payment in cash is required on all home loan closing costs, including title search and recording, hazard insurance premiums, prepaid taxes, and a 1% origination fee, which may be required by lenders in lieu of certain other costs. In the case of refinancing loans, all such costs may be included in the loan, as long as the total loan does not exceed 90% of the reasonable value of the property. Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans may include closing costs and a maximum of 2 discount points. Loans, including refinancing loans, are charged a funding fee by VA, except for loans made to disabled veterans and unremarried surviving spouses of veterans who died as a result of service. The VA funding fee is based on the loan amount and, at the discretion of the veteran and the lender, may be included in the loan. Financing, interest rates, and terms Veterans obtain VA guaranteed loans through the usual lending institutions, including banks, savings and loan associations, building and loan associations, and mortgage loan companies. Veterans may obtain a loan with a fixed interest rate, which may be negotiated with the lender. If the lender charges discount points on the loan, the veteran may negotiate with the seller as to who will pay points or if they will be split between buyer and seller. Points paid by the veteran may not be included in the loan, except that a maximum of 2 points may be included in Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans. The loan may be for as long as 30 years and 32 days.
VA does not require that a down payment be made, except in the following instances:
- A manufactured home or lot loan
- A loan with graduated payment features
- To prevent the amount of a loan from exceeding VA's determination of the property's reasonable value
If the sale price exceeds the reasonable value, the veteran must certify that the difference is being paid in cash without supplementary borrowing. A cash down payment of 5% of the purchase price is required for manufactured home or lot loans.
VA sells homes that have been acquired after foreclosure of a VA guaranteed loan. These homes are available to both veterans and non-veterans. Please contact local real estate agents for available listings.
Safeguards for veterans:
- Homes completed less than a year before purchase with VA financing and inspected during construction by either VA or HUD, must meet VA requirements.
- VA may suspend, from the loan program, those who take unfair advantage of veteran borrowers or decline to sell a new home or make a loan because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status, or national origin.
- The builder of a new home is required to give the purchasing veteran a one-year warranty that the home has been constructed to VA approved plans and specifications. A similar warranty must be given for new manufactured homes.
- In cases of new construction, completed under VA or HUD inspection, VA may pay or otherwise compensate the veteran borrower for correction of structural defects seriously affecting livability, if assistance is requested within four years of a home-loan guaranty.
- The borrower obtaining the loan, may only be charged the fees and other charges prescribed by VA as allowable.
- The borrower can prepay, without penalty, the entire loan or any part not less than the amount of one installment or $100.
- VA encourages holders to extend forbearance if a borrower becomes temporarily unable to meet the terms of the loan.
Explain about Burial Benefits?
Burial benefits in a VA National Cemetery include the gravesite, a headstone or marker, opening and closing of the grave, and perpetual care. Many national cemeteries have columbary or gravesites for cremated remains. Veterans and service members are eligible for burial in VA national cemetery.
An eligible veteran must have been:
- Separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable
- Have completed the required period of service
Those entitled to retired pay, as a result of 20 years creditable service, with a reserve component are also eligible. A U.S. citizen who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the U.S. in a war, also may be eligible. A 1997 law, bars persons convicted of federal or state capital crimes from being buried, or memorialized, in one of the VA national cemeteries. Spouses and minor children of eligible veterans and of service members also may be buried in a national cemetery. Adult children incapable of self-support due to physical or mental disability are eligible for burial. If a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran marries a non-veteran, and remarriage was terminated by divorce or death of the non-veteran, the spouse is eligible for burial in a national cemetery. Gravesites in national cemeteries cannot be reserved. Funeral directors, or others making burial arrangements, must apply at the time of death. Reservations made under previous programs are honored. Cemeteries do not provide military honors but may make referrals to military units or volunteer groups. The National Cemetery Administration normally does not conduct burials on weekends. A weekend caller, however, will be directed to one of three VA cemetery offices that remain open during weekends to schedule burials, at the cemetery of the caller's choice, during the following week.
Arlington National Cemetery is under the jurisdiction of the Army. Eligibility for burials is more limited than other national cemeteries.
VA provides headstones and markers for the unmarked graves of veterans anywhere in the world and of eligible dependents of veterans buried in a national, state veteran, or military post cemeteries. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble, upright granite, and upright marble types are available to mark the grave in a style consistent with the cemetery. Niche markers also are available for identifying cremated remains in columbary. Headstones and markers are inscribed with the name of the deceased, branch of service, and the years of birth and death. Optional items that may be inscribed are military grade, rank or rate; war service such as "World War II"; months and days of birth and death; an emblem reflecting one's religion; and text indicating valor awards. When burial is in a national, state veteran, or military post cemetery, the headstone or marker is ordered through the cemetery, which will place it on the grave. Information on style, inscription, and shipping can be obtained through the cemetery. When burial occurs in a cemetery other than a national, military post, or state veterans cemetery, the VA must handle the application for the headstone or marker. It is shipped at government expense. VA, however, does not pay the cost of placing the headstone or marker.
To memorialize an eligible veteran whose remains are not available for burial, VA will provide a memorial headstone or marker. The headstone or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave except that the phrase "In Memory of" precedes the inscription. The headstone or marker is available to memorialized eligible veterans or deceased service members whose remains were not recovered or identified, were buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered. The memorial marker also may be provided for placement in a cemetery other than a national cemetery. In such cases, VA supplies the marker and pays the cost of shipping, but does not pay for the plot or the placement of the marker.
VA provides an American flag to drape the casket of a veteran or a reservist entitled to retired military pay. After the funeral service, the flag may be given to the next of kin or a close associate. Flags are issued at VA regional offices and national cemeteries, and post offices.
VA will pay a burial allowance up to $1,500 if the veteran's death is service-connected. In some instances, VA will also pay the cost of transporting the remains of a service-disabled veteran to the national cemetery nearest the home of the deceased that has available gravesites. In such cases, the person who bore the veteran's burial expenses may claim reimbursement from VA. VA will pay a $300 burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who, at time of death, were entitled to receive pension or compensation or would have been entitled to compensation but for receipt of military retirement pay. Eligibility also may be established when death occurs in a VA facility, a nursing home under VA contract, or a state nursing home. Additional costs of transportation of the remains may be paid. There is no time limit for filing reimbursement claims of service-connected deaths. In other deaths, claims must be filed within two years after permanent burial or cremation.
VA will pay a $150 plot allowance when a veteran is not buried in a cemetery that is under U.S. government jurisdiction under the following circumstances:
- The veteran was discharged from active duty because of disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
- The veteran was in receipt of compensation or pension or would have been except for receiving military retired pay
- The veteran died in a VA facility
The $150 plot allowance may be paid to the state if a veteran is buried without charge for the cost of the plot or interment in a state-owned cemetery reserved solely by the deceased's employer or a state agency will not be reimbursed.
Explain about Dependents Education?
Educational assistance benefits are available to spouses who have not remarried and have children of:
- veterans who died or are permanently and totally disabled as the result of a disability arising from active military service.
- veterans who died from any cause while rated permanently and totally disabled from service-connected disability.
- service members listed for more than 90 days as currently missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force.
- service members listed for more than 90 days as currently detained or interned by a foreign government or power.
Benefits may be awarded for pursuit of associate, bachelor's, or graduate degrees at colleges and universities, including independent study, cooperative training, and study-abroad programs. Courses leading to a certificate or diploma from business, technical, or vocational schools also may be taken. Benefits may be awarded for apprenticeships, on-job-training programs, and farm cooperative courses. Benefits for correspondence courses under certain conditions are available to spouses only. Secondary-school programs may be pursued if the individual is not a high-school graduate.
An individual with a deficiency in a subject may receive tutorial benefits halftime or more. Deficiency, refresher and other training also may be available.
Other benefits available under this program are:
- Work study
- Counseling services
- Special benefits
- Spina Bifida assistance
Loans are available to spouses who qualify for educational assistance. Spouses who have passed their 10-year period of eligibility may be eligible for an educational loan. During the first two years after the end of their eligibility period, they may borrow up to $2,500 per academic year to continue a full-time course leading to a college degree or to a professional or vocational objective which requires at least six months to complete. VA may waive the six-month requirement. Loans are based on financial need.
A VA loan guaranty to acquire a home may be available to an unremarried spouse of a veteran or service member who has been officially listed as missing in action or as a prisoner of war for more than 90 days. Spouses of those listed as prisoners of war or missing in action are limited to one loan.
Medals awarded while in active service are issued by the appropriate service if requested by veterans or, if deceased, their next of kin.
What are State Supported Benefits?
The natural or legally adopted children of a disabled veteran may be eligible for remission of fees at any state-supported post secondary school or university in the State of Indiana. This applies regardless of the age of the child as long as the child is a resident of the state.
The rules are:
- The veteran must have served in active duty U.S. Armed Forces during a period of wartime.
- The veteran must be declared to be disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Department of Defense (if the Department of Defense, the veteran must supply official documentation) even if the disability is 0% and non-compensatory.
- The veteran received a Purple Heart Medal. (Official documentation of the award is required).
- The veteran was a resident of Indiana at the time of entry into the service and was declared a POW or MIA after Jan 1, 1960.
- The student was a veteran related pupil at the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Children's Home.
The remission of fees is good for 124 semester hours of education and may be used for either undergraduate or graduate level work. Ref: IC 20-12-19-1 and IC 10-5-16.5-3
Property tax abatements Property tax deductions are available to disabled Hoosier Veterans under the following conditions:
A $12,480.00 abatement is available to veterans who:
- Served at least 90 days of honorable service.
- Are totally disabled (not necessarily service-connected but the disability must be evidenced by a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pension certificate)
- Are at least 62 years old and 10% service-connected disabled.
A $24,960.00 abatement is available for veterans who:
- Served honorably in the Armed Forces during any period of wartime.
- Are at least 10% service connected disabled.
A $37,440.00 tax abatement is available for any veteran who:
- Served honorably during any period of wartime.
- Is at least 62 years old and have a 10% service-connected disability or under age 62 with 100% service connected-disabled.
The surviving spouse of the veteran is eligible for the veterans tax exemption. The spouse must apply in his or her own name. Ref: IC6-1.1-12-14 and IC 6-1.1-12-15
State law provides that any wartime veteran who has an honorable discharge shall be granted peddlers, vendors, or hawkers licenses by all cities and counties free of charge. Ref IC-25-25-2-1 (IC 25-25-2-3
exempts any county having a consolidated city from this rule)
Any resident of the state who was honorably separated from the active Armed Forces can purchase a Hoosier veteran license plate.
Disabled veteran plates are the same as wheelchair plates in the state of Indiana. These are strictly to those individuals who have a serious mobility impairment due to a service-connected disability. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs must verify the veteran's eligibility. Ref: IC 9-18-18-1, IC 9-18-18-2, IC 9-18-18-3
The POW license plate is available to all ex-prisoners of war or to the surviving spouse of a deceased POW. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs must verify the eligibility of the applicant. Ref: IC 9-18-17-1
Any Hoosier Veteran who has received the purple heart medal is authorized to have special license plates. The veteran must present official documentation of the award, and the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs must verify the veteran's eligibility. Ref: IC9-18-19-1, IC 9-18-19-2, IC 9-18-19-3
What are the vital documents required for Veterans Benefits?
The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indiana State Archives have copies of DD-214's on file for many Hoosier veterans who entered the service from Indiana. Copies of these will be provided upon request to the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. The processing time for such a request is usually 2-3 days. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, or your County Veterans Service Officer, can assist you with the paperwork to obtain other documents from the federal government.
Ref: IC 10-5-7-1
Describe Veterans Home?
The Indiana Veterans Home
, in West Lafayette, provides nursing and domiciliary care for any Hoosier veteran with at least one day of wartime service. To qualify, you must have been a resident of Indiana for at least 5 years. The home is open to both veterans and their spouses. Ref: IC 10-6-1-7
What is Burial Allowance?
Each county auditor is authorized to pay up to an amount not to exceed $100 for the burial of a veteran or the veteran's spouse and to pay up to $100 for the setting of a federal headstone. Veterans must have received an honorable discharge, and an application must be filed.
Ref: IC 10-5-3-1