Benefits

In 1990, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.  One of the provisions of the Act mandated the use of a single, free application form for all Federal student aid.  That form (FAFSA) continues to be used today and is the key to obtaining all types of Federal student aid.  Financial aid is offered in the form of grants, scholarships, student and parent loans and work-study programs.

On June 25, 2019, President Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veteran Act into law.   The new law fills a hole in the disability protection for veterans who served in Korea during the 1960s and for Navy and Marine Veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.  Vietnam War veterans battled for decades to have Agent Orange related disabilities recognized by the U.S. government. The new law is another step in validating their claims.

Those of us who have served in the military have a good, if general, understanding of what it takes to be classified as a veteran.  Civilians, however, don’t always know or understand what veteran status requires.  Are Reservists veterans?  What about the National Guard?  Heck, I’ve met people who think someone who took ROTC in college is a veteran.  So, let’s discuss the issue.  What is the definition of a veteran, and what types of veterans are there? 

These days, most honorably discharged veterans are entitled to military funeral honors in recognition of their service to their country.  Honoring active and former members of the armed services is a long-standing tradition, but it is only in recent years that veterans have been given a legal right to have their status recognized at death with military funeral honors.

This article provides an introduction to the free legal services provided to veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors by the Veterans Consortium through its Pro Bono Program and its Discharge Upgrade Program.

The Pro Bono Program provides free legal representation at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to qualified veterans whose VA claims have been denied by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

The Discharge Upgrade Program provides free legal representation to qualified veterans in discharge upgrade appeals before their service’s Discharge Review Board.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes all same-sex marriages without regard to a Veteran’s state of residence. There are a variety of benefits and services dependent up a Veteran’s marital status including benefits for a ‘surviving spouse.’  The VA is encouraging all Veterans in same-sex marriages who believe they are entitled to benefits but were previously denied, based on a ground related to their marriage, to apply for benefits. If you have questions to fill out a form, call 1-800-827-1000. For more information, go to http://www.va.gov/opa/marriage/

The U. S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs has a Center for Women Veterans (CWV) and Women Veterans Call Center to assist the many women who have served in the military. The site has links to health information, benefits, resources for women veterans and outreach. The call center provides assistance and resources to women veterans and their families.  The Call Center’s phone number is:  1-855-829-6636 and is available Monday- Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET. An online chat service is also available Monday- Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.

For information go to:  http://www.va.gov/womenvet/.  For information on the Dept. of Veteran Affairs Womens Call Center go to: http://www.womenshealth.va.gov/ProgramOverview/wvcc.asp

It was 2014 when the news story broke, and the public learned that the VA health care system was broken.  The scandal erupted in Phoenix, when whistleblowers revealed a secret wait list for veterans requesting care.  The list was hidden from Federal Regulators because the Phoenix VA sent regulators falsified documents that grossly underestimated the length of time veterans were waiting to be given a doctor’s appointment.  As the truth came to light, the public learned that Arizona veterans had to wait an average of 115 days to see a primary care doctor, and more than 40 veterans died waiting for care.

Why is There a Special Benefits Program for the Children of Women Who Served in Vietnam?

Veterans’ children don’t normally qualify for VA health benefits.  Why are women who served in Vietnam different?  The answer is Agent Orange.  The chemicals in Agent Orange accumulate in the body and remain there for years.  One of the consequences of exposure can be birth defects in the children born to women who were exposed to the chemicals.

That Arizona Military Family Relief Fund was established to provide financial assistance to families of currently deployed Servicemembers and Veteran families for hardships caused by the Servicemembers deployment to a combat zone post 9/11. Assistance for the fund is determined by an Advisory Committee. More information about the Arizona Military Family Relief Fund can be found here http://dvs.az.gov/benefits/relief_fund.aspx

What is AZ ABLE?

AZ ABLE is a new state-run financial savings program for eligible people with disabilities who live in Arizona.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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