Senior Wellness: Veterans benefits

Senior Wellness: Benefits for veterans

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - In this week's Senior Wellness, we're honoring the men and women who selflessly served our country in the military.

Because of this sacrifice, veterans are entitled to benefits which will assist in life as a civilian for the remainder of their lives.

What are some benefits entitled to veterans?

  • Health care is the highest utilized program of the Veterans Affair’s benefits. Lesser utilized V.A. benefits include life insurance, education and memorial benefits.
  • War time veterans and their spouses may be eligible for a benefit known as Aid and Attendance Improved Pension.  This benefit can be used to pay for care in the home or for assisted living or skilled nursing care.  To qualify, there must be a medical need for the aid and assistance of another person and the veteran and their spouse must meet specific income qualifications.
  • There are also some benefits available to assist with death memorials for veterans.  The V.A. will pay a $300 allowance for burial and funeral expenses.
  • Veterans are eligible for headstones for any unmarked grave in any cemetery.
  • If you have attended a funeral service with military honors, you have probably witnessed a touching tribute to the veteran and the folding and presentation of a burial flag to the surviving family.  These touching ceremonies are available to all veterans.  If you would like to have this service, inquire with the funeral director to request this honor.

What are some other benefits available to veterans?

  • Disabled veterans are able to obtain licenses for these activities without fees.  Some retailers offer discounts on purchases to veterans.  Examples include home improvement stores, car part stores and some clothing retailers.  Some movie theaters and hair salons offer similar discounts.  Veterans should also ask their cell phone carrier if they qualify for discounts on their service plan.
  • Most hotels will offer discounted rates for veterans.  Restaurants, car rentals and airlines also frequently offer discounts.  Once a veteran arrives to their vacation destination, they may find that they can also receive discounts at cultural attractions.  Some museums, tours, theme parks and other admissions may have lower rates for veterans.
  • Some banks will offer veterans premium bank accounts without fees or preferred rates.  There also may be programs which offer veterans discounted interest rates.  V.A. home loans are available through financial institutions for existing structures, new builds and equity.  This benefit is not limited to first time home buyers and can be used more than once.

How can a veteran access these benefits?

  • Even if veteran discounts are not visibly advertised, a veteran should ask if there is one available.  The vendor will typically need to see proof of service to provide these discounts.
  • The State of Michigan now offers veterans to add a designation to their state id’s and/or driver licenses to help with this process.  Veterans are able to apply for this designation at any Secretary of State Office.
  • Contact the Veteran Affairs office or visit their website to inquire about applying for entitled benefits.

For more information please visit the Porter Hills blog at www.porterhills.org.

(© 2016 WZZM)


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