Who Qualifies for Benefits Through the Department of Veterans Affairs?


Quick Answer

The most-basic requirement for veteran status and access to services is to have served at least 24 consecutive months on active duty, but there are some exceptions to this for health care services. The requirements for other benefits vary greatly.

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Full Answer

In addition to the above basic requirement, the veteran must also have received a discharge or separation other than dishonorable to be eligible for most benefits. Reserve and National Guard members are generally required to complete six years of service to be eligible for most benefits. Family members of veterans also have some eligibility for benefits.

Enhanced eligibility is granted for certain other conditions, such as formerly being a prisoner of war or having been awarded a Purple Heart. Veterans who are applying for medical services or disability pensions are also given a rating based on service-connected injuries or conditions. This rating determines payment terms for medical services through the VA. Income is also a factor with most medical services.

Some programs have added requirements. For example, the VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefit requires veterans to meet certain income and credit requirements. There are also housing programs for homeless veterans that require them to meet certain standards that qualify them as "chronically homeless."

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