The VA website also mentions the Survivors Pension benefit, “a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased veteran with wartime service.” That benefit is figured as the difference between your income and a pension limit set by Congress, Jackson says. The VA “generally pays this difference in 12 equal monthly payments.”

College Help

Most states offer some kind of college scholarship, grant or some other form or aid to veterans or their dependents, especially if the veteran is disabled, has died, or is MIA. Many states go all the way and spring for tuition as long as the students meet certain residency and age requirements. In Connecticut, for example, veterans can attend public colleges tuition free as long as they live in the state and are accepted to the schools. In Indiana, children of disabled veterans get 124 semester hours of free tuition as long as they are residents of the state. California offers a college fee waiver for all its public universities for the children and spouses of veterans who have a “total disability” related to their service. These colleges include the State of California Community College, California State University or University of California systems. Other states such as New Mexico, Maine, Nebraska, Kansas and Kentucky also offer various forms of tuition waivers for state schools to dependents of those killed in the line of duty or who meet requirements of total disability related to service.

Many veteran’s benefits are triggered by the “percentage” of disability you have, Bruer says, as well as where you served. The percentages are tricky and can add up to more than 100%. For 50% service-related disability, you can get prescriptions and free scans, MRIs, etc. There’s a whole different benefits package for those exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam, for instance, than there is for someone who served in Afghanistan or the Pacific in World War II, Bruer says. “It’s not like there’s a clear template for anybody.”

If the veterans are quiet or coy about their service, they might not only miss out on benefits but feel themselves isolated when it comes to depression or PTSD. Suicide is a major problem among veterans. “With 22 veterans committing suicide every day in this country, a lot of veterans that I’m friends with really take that to heart,” Bruer says. “I have had friends who have killed themselves. Friends who had friends who killed themselves. And you want to be there for them and advocate and push the system to take care of these people.”

There’s also a fast-track for SBA loans, Bruer says. Under its vocational rehabilitation program, Bruer says, the Department Veterans Affairs will subsidize some of the pay for employers who hire veterans. It’s enough to pay for a CFP’s test and prep, for instance, he adds.

By far most states have property tax exemptions of varying amounts for disabled veterans. (A list can be found at Connecticut, for instance, offers a $1,500 property tax exemption from the total assessed value to all eligible veterans; in Alabama a veteran may receive a full property tax exemption for being 100% disabled.

Home Loans

Another popular item is VA loans for housing, which require zero down payment and no primary mortgage insurance and boast better mortgage interest rates. These loans are attractive for many other reasons: There’s no prepayment penalties on them. You can keep getting them over and over as long as you’re paying off previous loans. However, there is a 2.15% funding fee for regular military that climbs on subsequent use—or declines if you kick in a down payment of 5% or more. But you better be prepared to live in the house and move into it—it’s not for flippers.

“The VA loan program is intended for purchasing primary residences,” Jackson says. “That means that the borrower must live in the property year-round; it is not intended for vacation or rental homes. However, the VA does allow homebuyers to use a VA loan to purchase a multi-unit property as long as the homebuyer certifies that they will occupy one of the units. The VA does allow for a qualified buyer to purchase a home, live in it as their primary residence and then later look to rent out the home—and in many cases even purchase again with a $0 down VA home loan using their remaining VA loan entitlement.”

First « 1 2 3 4 5 6 » Next