Veterans are eligible for a wide range of services offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Major categories include compensation, pension and health care; vocational rehabilitation and employment; education and training; home loans, life insurance, dependent and survivors; and burial benefits and state benefits.
Who is eligible?
You may be eligible for VA benefits if you are a veteran; a veteran’s dependent; a surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran; an active-duty military service member; or a member of the Reserve or National Guard who has been called to active duty in support of a war or conflict and discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
What are the time limits to apply for benefits?
A variety of time limits applies to education and training benefits. There is no time limit to claim reimbursement for burial expenses for a service-related death. In other cases, claims for burial benefits must be filed within two years of the veteran’s burial.
There is no time limit to apply for any of the other benefits described above.
Please watch for this column, which is published the first Sunday of every month. I will address the benefits listed above in more detail in future columns.
Do you need a VA Identification card?
To get a new or replacement VA ID card, you can stop by the Durango VA Clinic between 1 and 3 p.m. Friday afternoons. You must bring a utility bill to verify your address and at least two other forms of identification.
You must be actively enrolled in VA Health Care to receive a VA health care ID card. Call the Durango VA Clinic for more information at 247-2214 and press 1 for the front desk
If you are not enrolled in VA Heath Care and wish to have an ID card verifying your veteran status, you can go to your local driver’s license office with a copy of your DD-214, and they will update your driver’s license or state ID card to reflect your branch of service and veteran status. Normal replacement card fees apply.
Having a VA ID card can eliminate the need to carry a copy of your DD-214 with you, and it’s an easy way to verify your veteran status and receive a veterans discount, which is offered by many of Durango businesses and restaurants.
Richard Schleeter is the veterans service officer for the La Plata County Veterans Service Office. He can be reached at 759-0117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.