PSA: VA has New ‘Veterans Welcome Kit’

The Veterans Administration just made things a little easier for our service members to get the help they need once they have left active duty and have begun transitioning into civilian life.  Here is some info on their new Veterans Welcome Kit.

VA Welcome

I find that too many veterans I talk with either don’t understand what benefits are available to them or are, surprisingly, reluctant to apply for earned and awarded benefits like Disability Compensation.  Please do not think that anything the VA gives you is charity in any way shape or form. You have certainly earned everything that you qualify for and don’t ever doubt that!

Also, please don’t be afraid to ask for help. I work with the homeless here in Maryland and have been steering veterans who are down on their luck to the VA for years. The majority of men and women I have worked with have received at least some sort of benefits.  To put it another way none of those vets are homeless any longer and all have health care coverage they didn’t know was available…. and some have been awarded VA Disability Compensation monthly payments that allows them to live a life they felt was out of reach.

If you are one of our veterans looking at getting out soon, or even if you have been out of the Service for years, this VA Welcome Kit is the first thing you need to have in hand to guide you through the VA benefits process.

Here are the download links so that you can print it out yourself:

Download your VA Welcome Kit in black and white.

Download your VA Welcome Kit in color.

And here are some other links to Veterans Services that you need to keep handy for both you and your spouse and children should these services be needed…

Disability Benefits

Apply for disability compensation and other benefits for conditions related to your military service.

Health Care Benefits

Apply for VA health care, find out how to access services, and manage your health and benefits online.

Education Benefits

Apply for and manage benefits that help you pay for college and training programs.

Housing Assistance

Find out if you qualify for a VA home loan. If you have a service-connected disability, find out if you qualify for a housing grant to help you live more independently.

Careers and Employment

Find out if you’re eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) services, get support for your Veteran-owned small business, and access other resources to help build your career skills and find a job.

Life Insurance

Explore VA life insurance options, manage your policy online, and file claims.

Pension Benefits

Apply for monthly pension benefits for wartime Veterans and survivors.

Burials and Memorials

Get help planning a burial or memorial service, and find out how to get survivor and dependent benefits.

Don’t hesitate with this.  Again, none of this is charity – each and every benefit is something you have already earned with your time in serving our nation.  If you have questions my personal contact info is on the front page of the Blog. I will be glad to help in any way I can.

Reed

28 thoughts on “PSA: VA has New ‘Veterans Welcome Kit’

  1. It disgusts me to no end that if a Congressman serves just one term, he is pretty much set for life …. yet someone who serves a tour of military duty apparently is not even made aware of what is available to him.

    My dad served in WWII and later on spent many years in the Reserves until he retired reaching the rank of Lt Colonel. He died unexpectedly a few years later, and I made an initial inquiry into what may be available for my mom, and could not find anything. Then some years later, I happened to run into a VA advocate at the county courthouse who led me through some processes where I was able to get some satisfaction. As someone who served mostly in the Reserves, there was no large pension available, but I was able to get some additional aid for my mom. (She was not living in poverty by no means, but she had a very limited SS payment.)

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      1. That happens all the time Wbb, especially older vets. Not surprisingly Senior Living Centers are the most knowledgeable about VA and Social Security benefits because that way, when they help clients file, they get more money to house them.

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  2. Reed – good for you for the work you do for Veterans. A nursing home made me aware that my mother, being the surviving spouse of a wartime WWII veteran, was eligible for what is called an “aid and attendance” benefit. It took a lot of jumping thru hoops to get it, but it provided about $1200 a month to help pay the really high cost of a nursing home.

    Had never heard of “aid and attendance.” Can also help with providing care for someone at home… Just in case anyone is in that situation, or knows of someone…

    Thanks, Reed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great informative, helpful post Reed.
    Another portion that is frequently overlooked with that is the technical training benefits.
    If a veteran works at a job and during that time they are receiving technical training, and if they arnt simultaneously using the education portion at the same time, they can collect benefit money for that training they are receiving at work.

    It’s really useful and often overlooked.

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  4. In South Carolina, every county gov’t has a department of Veterans Affairs. The head of the Veterans Affairs Dept. is elected by eligible vets. Their job is to help in filling out forms, arranging transportation to VA hospitals, clinics, benefits eligibility, etc.

    You are right about nursing homes. My wife found out about her mother’s eligibility for assistance from a nursing home. She then told the family of her sister in law that she may be eligible for help. Both wife’s of vets got aid they didn’t know was available & County Vets Affairs Dpt. made sure proper documentation was assembled before application.

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  5. Great job for your mom Web. My dad was a WWII disabled vet who never got full disability despite numerous appeals to try to get it. Six months before he died he asked that I file for a service connected death pension even though he did not expect me to win. As a first semester law student, really quite over my head, I started with asking a DAV attorney to help file and he said they had lost in past and there was no chance but gave me a copy of the file. I researched and filed and lost locally then filed an appeal to a three judge panel – writing the brief as if my mom wrote it. When I won 2-1 and added to her small SS It was the greatest win I would ever have and wasnt out of first year of law school. In honor of your dad I say a well done son, I understand the greatness of the feeling for what you did for your mom. It was a tough task you took on. Be proud. God bless American (and Pitt).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rkb , That was some time ago I assume. There has been a real push over the last eight years to modernize the VA and to simplify the benefits process so it is much easier and better now.

    I can say that in all my years in the military and then doing outreach for vets in need afterward I’ve met less than 10 people who applied for benefits and were denied them.

    What I urge everyone to do is first off apply for everything – the worse the VA can do is say no, right?

    Then I tell people to make an appointment with the VA to discuss in detail why they weren’t approved, then take that info back and apply again. Same goes with Social Security disability benefits – they almost always turn down first time applicants.

    Too many people are afraid of paperwork or afraid of being told “no”. But keep trying and it will happen.

    One tip… If someone gets a 80% or above disability rating from the VA then they need to apply for Social Security disability right away. The SSA then uses the VA records and amost always awards the applicant a disability right away.

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  7. Thank you rkb,

    BTW Reed, I’m glad there is a much better outreach these days for veterans and their families. To put it in terms that many here can identify with … my dad was buried the day before Pitt lost to SMU in the Cotton Bowl (no solace), but my mom died the day before Pitt beat Va Tech 38-7

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  8. My hat is off and over my heart to any one who serves this nation in the military. My father (Hobie) was in the Army. His brother (uncle Don) was in the Air Force. My uncle Lloyd (mother’s side) was in the Navy. All served in WWII. I hold the greatest generation in great respect. I consider everyone who serves cut from their cloth. – Hobie

    Liked by 2 people

  9. There was my father and three boys. (my mother died very young) My father survived WW II, my oldest brother survived the Vietnam war, (barely) and my next older brother served in the Army. I never served.

    What Reed does for the Vets is truly a perfect depiction of what kind of man he really is. A great man and a great PITT fan on top of it.

    Thanks for everything you do friend. You are amazing. ike

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  10. Guys – what MajorMajors is referring to is that the VA pays caretakers a monthly sum for taking care of the veteran. This is especially important now that us guys and gals on here have aging parents – many of whom served in the military. here is the basic info from the VA:

    Aid & Attendance and Housebound

    Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.

    Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.

    Aid & Attendance (A&A)

    The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:

    You require the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
    You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
    You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
    Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

    Housebound

    This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount when you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.

    How to Apply

    You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. You can locate your local regional benefit office using the VA Facility Locator.

    You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.

    The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.

    Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the applicant gets around, where the applicant goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.

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  11. Folks – by far the following is the best benefit available for transitioning vets – or anyone else who served any time at all, either active duty or reserves, after 9/11.

    https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp

    It is called the New G.I. Bill and not only does it pay tuition, books and fees but it also pays a tax-free stipend for every month you are enrolled in school up to a full degree. For example if a vet in the PGH area used this GI Bill to go back to school he’d get $1851 per month if married and $1450 per month if single. That is the Housing allowance for that area for an E-5 which is what it is based on.

    So – all of college paid AND money to live on while going to school.

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  12. As a vet, I learned yesterday about various discounts (10% off at Lowe’s, etc) that are available for the asking.
    Obviously, not the big-ticket stuff Reed addresses, but bennies nonetheless.

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  13. I continue to be impressed by the actions and passion of Reed for veterans. Information is the key to decision making. There are two important issues that also continue to require attention of veterans. One involves the continuing problem of actions by vets before discharge that were a consequence of PTSD that result in loss of benefits. Emotional responses to situations that are consistent with PTSD are used as a basis of less than honorable discharge with loss of all benefits. If they are in this situation they need legal help. There are non-profit and law school clinics that have been successful in rectifying this situation.

    The other educational issue relates to the glut of for profit colleges who spend their money on marketing to induce vets to use their educational benefits for a sub-standard education (e.g. Trump University) and false promises of employment after finishing. It is vital for veterans to investigate the reputations and history of the schools they attend. The benefit is limited and they can’t afford to waste it.

    EDIT NOTE: Trump U. is an example but what Mark means is that there are a lot of non-accredited entities calling themselves “colleges” and “universities: and they aren’t. The above post is spot on and details a continuing problem of fraudulent businesses targeting vets (and others) for false promises but still take their money.

    Thanks Mark!

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  14. There is much better support today than back in the day and that is great, it was tougher for us but if you wish to call me a liar on my father’s situation and its affect on oue family go ahead and live in your dream world. My dad never looked for a handout. Frankly to respond in such a way regarding a ww2 disabled vet shows you to be a self important jerk. A fork to you. – rkb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WTF!!!! RKB – how in the world do you get that? I was only pointing out that times have changed and the VA system works better these days. I think what you did for your father was fantastic and am sorry the system didn’t work in your case – I certainly wasn’t thinking you were fabricating anything.

      Man, you really need to read things without getting your back up right away – you totally misconstrued what I and others on here have said. I re-read your post four times just now and don’t have a clue as to what you are upset about.

      My God, there is something completely wrong here for you to jump to conclusions like that my friend.

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  15. Times may have changed but it is still quite a chore to wade through the paperwork and get everything just right and if not, months of waiting leads to months more after a “t” is crossed or “i” is dotted. Or I should say, that is my/our experience about 5 years ago with wife’s father seeking help with obtaining in-home health assistance after heel sores developed post op during hospital stay.

    I still often have patients I see reporting to me they gave up trying to get approved for disability on claims they think are valid, though some I am skeptical – I do not get involved to know. Though come to think of it, I do hear it less frequently over the past few years so maybe it has gotten easier.

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