A veteran is any person who served in any branch of the military for any length of time. A veteran could be someone who served in the Navy, the Army, the Marines, the Air Force, etc. Certain Coast Guard personnel can also qualify as veterans.
A person does not need to have fought in combat to qualify as a veteran. A veteran who has fought in battle is known as a combat veteran. However, war veterans consist of both combat veterans and veterans who were involved in supporting a war. So, for example, war veterans could include intelligence officers who helped devise plans for the war, but who never fired a shot or were not fired on.
Due to their important and valued service to the country, veterans are entitled to a number of benefits after they are done serving in the United States military. Here's a closer look at the benefits for veterans.
The Effect of Discharge Status
The first thing to know about veteran benefits is that the status of your discharge can have a major impact on whether or not you're entitled to benefits. Usually, veterans who are discharged honorably or with a general discharge under honorable circumstances are entitled to most or all veteran benefits.
Any veterans who receive discharges other than the two mentioned above may be restricted from receiving most or all benefits. Those who are discharged dishonorably under court martial are usually not entitled to any veteran benefits.
Types of Veteran Benefits
For veterans who are entitled to benefits, there are many different benefits that they may receive:
- Retirement pay
- Disability benefits
- Preference for employment in federal positions
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Dependency and indemnity compensation
- Health care
- VA home loans
- Life insurance
- Education benefits
- Disability pension
- Death and burial benefits
The extent to which a veteran can be entitled to the full range of benefits can also be affected by things like years served, whether or not they were injured during the military service and other similar things.
Significance for Veterans
Whether or not a veteran is entitled to these benefits can have a major impact on their life. Often, family members of veterans are also entitled to certain benefits, such as various types of insurance. So, whether or not a veteran receives benefits can also have a major impact on their family.
Often, when a veteran first gets out of the military, they do not necessarily know what they will do next or where their next paycheck will come from. Having access to benefits can be crucial while they transition into their next phase of life.
Furthermore, many people become disabled during military service (often as a result of fighting wars). Everything from missiles and bullets to IEDs fired by the enemy can result in permanent disability. So, the fact that veterans are entitled to disability benefits if they are discharged honorably or with a general discharge under honorable circumstances is enormously significant.
Some veterans are so badly injured from their military service that the disability benefits that they are entitled to after their service may be their primary and only income once they get out of the military.
Reversing a Dishonorable Discharge Decision
It goes without saying that the people who serve in the United States military perform an invaluable service to the country. So, many people view their access to benefits after their service as a favorable thing. Unfortunately, however, not all veterans are discharged in such a way that entitles them to benefits.
If a veteran believes that they were dishonorably discharged as a mistake, then they can hire an attorney to help them make an appeal for a correction of military records. This could potentially reverse the discharge decision to get an honorable discharge reinstated and entitle the veteran to benefits. If such a reversal is made, then it could have a substantial impact on the life of the veteran.
If a veteran was dishonorably discharged for rape, desertion or murder, there will be almost no chance of having this decision reversed.