We Speak Veteran™

Veterans Advantage Financial™

We Speak Veteran™

Certified Medicare Insurance Planner™* | Retirement Income Certified Professional®*

Medicare | Retirement | Life Insurance | Veterans Only

Table of Contents

What Do Veterans Do After Service?

About a quarter of those transitioning back to civilian life report that it was more challenging than easy. However, some veterans struggle to return to normal life after serving their country.

Military veterans possess valuable work experience that makes them well-suited for roles in emergency management and public safety. Careers in law enforcement are open to veterans, and some examples include police officers, crime scene investigators, emergency dispatchers, and corrections officers.

When they leave the military, how do people spend their time? Now is the time to find out if you’ve ever been curious.

How Many Years of Military Service Makes You a Veteran?

To be designated a veteran, a service member must have served for at least 24 months. However, if they become disabled due to their military service, they are eligible for VA benefits regardless of how long they served.

Members of the National Guard and Reserve who meet the following criteria will be considered veterans and eligible for VA benefits:

  • Served for at least 180 days on federal active duty and received a discharge other than dishonorable or for cause OR
  • Served for at least 20 years and got a better-than-bad-conduct discharge

Every year, members of the Reserves put in another 14 days of training to hone their military skills. Veteran status is earned in other ways, and Reserve meetings, weekend duty, and training do not count. A former Reservist who was never called to active duty does not qualify as a veteran. The Reserves may be activated for combat operations by the President or the Secretary of Defense. Roughly 65,000 reservists currently support military operations in various parts of the world.

Those who serve in the reserves are only considered veterans if called to active duty. Service in the Reserves counts toward the minimum time requirements for veteran status when the Reserves are activated.

For emergencies, state governors can activate their National Guard units. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods, frequently necessitate the deployment of the National Guard by governors. When the government needs additional U.S. troops, they will issue a “Title 10 call-up,” which mobilizes the Guard. With “Title 10 call-ups,” the President and Defense Secretary can mobilize the National Guard. Members of the Guard who are activated may be granted veteran status, just like Reserve members.

Do Veterans Still Get Paid After Service?

One of the most important benefits for veterans’ families is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Those who qualify for DIC can receive tens of thousands of dollars in annual tax-free payments.

Rates of DIC payments are adjusted on an annual basis. (For veterans who passed away before 1993, the VA calculates DIC rates differently and ranges from about $1,440 to $3,290, plus supplements based on the deceased’s pay grade.) Spouses of veterans who passed away after January 1, 1993, will receive about $1,440 per month in 2022, with potential increases in compensation for disability or caring for minor children.

Children of veterans who have passed away may be eligible for DIC payments, and parents of veterans who have passed away may be eligible for benefits if they have low incomes.

In addition, only some are qualified to receive DIC payments. Beneficiaries must submit an application to receive the benefit; the sooner they do so, the better. If payments are made more than 12 months after a service member’s death, they are only retroactive to the application date and not to the veteran’s death. If a surviving spouse remarries, they will usually no longer be eligible.

The program’s purpose is to provide financial support to a service member’s dependents in the event of their death or permanent and total disability as a result of their military service. It also benefits surviving family members of veterans who died of causes unrelated to their military service but who had been classified as totally disabled by the Veterans Administration due to a service-connected disability.

Who is Eligible for the Basic Medical Benefits Package for Veterans?

VA health care typically requires enrollment, so veterans should do that if needed. Enrollment guarantees Veterans have access to all available medical care. For expedited enrollment, certain categories of Veterans are given higher priority in the VA’s system.

Veterans with a VA disability rating, ex-POWs, and Purple Heart or Medal of Honor recipients make up Priority Groups 1, 2, and 3. Other medical conditions, combat status, environmental exposures, and income levels are used to indicate Priority Groups 4-8.

Suppose a veteran was honorably discharged or released from active duty in the armed forces between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2011, but did not enroll in VA health care during the five years as currently specified by law. In that case, they will have until February 12, 2015 (the date the Clay Hunt SAV Act was signed into law) to do so. All veterans who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, regardless of enrollment status, are eligible for free health care to treat specific medical issues.

Are You a Veteran if You Never Finish Basic Training?

Because their active duty began on day one of training, some may be deemed veterans even if dismissed early. The Department of Veterans Affairs publishes eligibility guidelines, but it cannot possibly account for every possible circumstance that may arise for a given service member.

Accordingly, the long and short answer to this question is that each case is evaluated independently. In some situations, a person who served for less than 180 days might not be considered a veteran under federal law, but there are also exceptions to this rule.

As a result, the individual will probably be awarded a disability rating from the VA for their service-related injury. Even though he didn’t make it through his first day of basic training, this man would still be considered a veteran. While medical reasons for leaving the military are among the most common for those granted veteran status, this is not always the case.

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