VA Benefits Every Veteran Should Know About

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My hubby served in the Marines many years ago. When he got out the only benefit we knew about was the GI Bill. They were great about helping him get into school but that was all.

After twenty years I have found there are a LOT more benefits that most Veterans don’t know about. These are benefits they have earned and should be able to use. The trick is you need to know where to go and how to get them. Here are the ones I know of, if you know of any other I should add please leave a comment.

VA Home Loan

This is a BIG one – you can buy a house with the best interest rate available and with no money down and no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You do have to pay the funding fee (ours was close to $7k) but overall this will save you a TON of money (we saved close to $30k!!!) if you can get in on this. They have very modest requirements too so you don’t need an excellent credit score to get one.

The VA will not approve all houses. Honestly in our experience if they don’t approve it, you don’t want it unless you plan to fix it up. They didn’t approve our first house and I wish I had listened on that one. If we had we would have saved a ton.

Not all banks/mortgage brokers are VA eligible. They are actually kind of tricky to find. We used a local guy to make sure to ask around. A local company really is your best bet. They You can also try LendingTree and QuickenLoans. Both do VA Loans!

10% Discount at Lowe’s

Yes, all Veterans and Active Military can receive 10% off EVERY purchase at all Lowe’s stores. You can learn how to sign up here. Make sure to link your phone number, it makes it easy to ask them to apply your discount at checkout.

I know this isn’t a life changing benefit but this little gem has saved us thousands over the years – especially during our kitchen remodel!

USAA Membership

This is one that annoyed me for years! My husband didn’t sign up when he was enlisted, he didn’t know he needed to. We tried to get in after he got out and were denied. Back then you had to have signed up while enlisted or been an officer. That has changed!

Now ALL Veterans and Active are eligible for a free membership. This can mean discounted insurance, and a lot more!

GO HERE to sign up!

Federal Hiring Preferences

This little gem can help a lot when securing employment, especially with the State. We live in Tallahassee (the capital of Florida – didn’t know that did you lol), everyone here works for the state. On every application it asks about this preference. In order to use be eligible for veterans preference, candidates must meet the following criteria:

    • Achieve a score to 70 or higher on a written exam or evaluation.
    • Have an honorable or general discharge.
    • Have a military rank that’s lower than a major or lieutenant commander — unless the applicant is disabled then the rank does not matter.

Job seekers that meet these standards can add five to 10 points to their overall numerical ratings depending on the nature of their preference, according to the Partnership of Public Service (PPS). And, veterans who are deemed eligible and have a service-connected disability of 10 percent or more, are moved ahead of other veterans preference candidates who are applying for the same position — unless the position is a scientific or professional position GS-9 or higher. However, be warned: Entitlement to veterans preference does not guarantee a job.

Watch for this preference on applications!

VA Health Benefits

If you served in the active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits as well. GO HERE to learn more!

VA Counseling

VA provides counseling services through 300 community-based Vet Centers located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and America Samoa. Vet Center counselors provide individual, group, and family readjustment counseling to combat veterans to assist them in making a successful transition from military to civilian life. Veterans are eligible if they…

  • Served in any combat theater
  • Experienced military sexual trauma
  • Provided direct medical care or mortuary services
  • Served as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to combat operations.
  • Is a Vietnam-era veteran who accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 1, 2004

Vet Center services are also provided to family members of veterans and service members for military related issues when it can aid in the readjustment of those that have served.

Vet Center bereavement services for surviving family members of Service members may be accessed by calling (202) 461-6530.

The Vet Center Combat Call Center (877-WAR-VETS) is an around the clock confidential call center where combat veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat veterans from several eras as well as family members of combat veterans. For additional information visit www.vetcenter.va.gov/.

VA Program Eligibility:

 

 

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