In addition to the life changing experiences, sharp discipline, and forged mental toughness, veterans receive pretty great support in the form of healthcare benefits, education assistance, financial support, and a multitude of other social service support. The comprehensive benefits provided by our country to our service men and women is a serious factor causing many people to enlist and commission into the armed forces.
A question that often arises when discussing benefits is how to determine the specific benefits for which one would qualify. Many veterans wonder ‘does it matter the era I served?’ when they think about applying for benefits.
The 2.7 million men and women who served in the Vietnam War often inquire, “What benefits do veterans that served in Vietnam receive?” They were a part of a generation that saw much different levels of support in our country. Although it is now common to see multiple veteran-specific service organizations inside a town, or for an audience to stand in support of our troops at a sporting event, that was not always the case. Especially for service members from the Vietnam era, it is very important to understand the specific Vietnam veteran benefits that exist today.
Some of the most important benefits that exist for Vietnam veterans are as follows:
1. Healthcare: Vietnam veterans have access to the largest integrated health care system in our nation under the Veterans Health Administration. There are numerous health care facilities, medical centers, and outpatient sites dedicated to serving qualified applicants and their immediate families. The care under the VA covers such things as regular checkups, primary care appointments, and appointments with specialists as needed. Check with your VA or Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to discover what benefits you qualify for.
2. Pensions: Depending on the details surrounding military service, some Vietnam veterans will be eligible for the VA needs-based pension program. This program pays monthly installments to veterans and their survivors as a means of financial support. One of the main requirements of this program is the veteran must have served a minimum of 90 days on active duty and at least one day during a wartime period. Check with your local VA or VSO to discover your eligibility.
3. Educational Benefits: Under the GI Bill, and especially with the renovations under President Trump’s “Forever GI BILL”, Vietnam Veterans can utilize available support to attend colleges, universities, trade and vocational schools. This support can help cover the high costs of education and provide necessary qualifications to obtain future employment. Additionally, there are stipends that can help support costs for housing expenditures and fees for books and class supplies. Check with your local VA contact or VSO to see exactly what educational benefits you qualify for.
4. Vocational Rehabilitation: Closely tied to one’s service-connected disability, there are vocational rehabilitation and employment programs to help qualified veterans start a new career. These services include employment counseling, skill assessments, career coaching, and access to job-specific resources depending on the intended career. There are numerous chapters to this program so check with your local VA or VSO to see which benefits you can utilize.
5. Burial Benefits: There are a couple burial benefits existing for Vietnam veterans and their families. If the burial occurs inside a national cemetery, benefits include a grave site, burial flag, and a presidential memorial certificate. There are also burial benefits for the spouses of Vietnam veterans even if the veteran is not buried in a national cemetery; this includes cremation benefits for the spouse so that cremated remains will be inurned with the same respect and honors of a casket burial.
In some cases, the VA assists families with burial or cremation costs up to a maximum level of $2,000 reimbursement. The amount of money paid depends on the timing of the death and the cause of death. The VA will pay more towards service-related deaths and for deaths after September 11, 2001. Due to varying details of qualification, contact your local VSO or VA representative to learn all applicable benefits.
6. Insurance & Home Loans: There are both insurance and loan benefits available for qualified Vietnam Veterans and their families. The VA provides Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) as an important way to protect the veteran’s family by ensuring financial security. Families can choose a range of premium payments and coverage to fit their individual needs. Under SGLI, qualified family members are also eligible to receive life insurance benefits.
Similar to the security provided with life insurance benefits, the VA provides valuable home loans for not only home purchases, but also repairs and improvements. Qualified applicants receive very competitive interest rates and are required to place no down payment. There are some additional benefits varying by state and if there are service-related disabilities present. Check with your local VA representative or VSO to review all of your specific insurance and home loan eligible programs.
Thankfully, the government has created a wide variety of supportive programs for Vietnam Veterans and their families. Many of these benefits continue even after the death of the service member. It is important to understand the different resources available and that all of them have very specific eligibility requirements and often depend on the state of residence.
Don’t hesitate to see if you, your spouse, or your children qualify for the above benefits available for Vietnam veterans. Thank you for your service!