He reminds borrowers that this is not a government loan: “Like other loans, VA loans are offered by private lenders such as banks, credit unions and mortgage companies. … One lesser known feature of the VA loan program is the opportunity to do a cash-out refi and refinance an existing home loan (including a non-VA loan).”

Breaks on business operation is another perk to look for. California, for instance, offers breaks on municipal, county and state business license fees, taxes and fees “for veterans who hawk, peddle, or vend any goods, wares, or merchandise owned by the veteran, except spirituous, malt, vinous or other intoxicating liquor, including sales from a fixed location.”

Like A Second Job

Jackson recommends visiting the VA benefits website (http://benefits.va.gov/) for benefits from education, training to loan information, to employment help and health-care benefits.

Bruer adds that veterans need to have an advocate or representative of some sort in the American Legion or in their congressman’s office. “One of the best resources for veteran’s benefits is getting to know your local VA representative, Bruer adds. “Most counties pay for that. It’s not a federal thing, it’s not even a state thing. It’s a county thing. So most counties have a veteran’s services officer.”

It’s such a disjointed and confusing system, Bruer says. “It’s almost like a second job trying to figure out what you’re entitled to.”       


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