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 Is Veterans Administration?

Older adults are likely wondering what the Veterans Administration is and what it does. Are you one of them? Let’s take a look at this government organization and what it’s responsible for.

The Veterans Administration is a government agency that provides benefits to veterans and their families. These benefits can include medical care, emotional support, physical rehabilitation, and more. The VA also offers burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and their loved ones.

We will provide an overview of what Veterans Affairs is and what it can do for you. Stay tuned for future posts that will go into more detail about specific VA programs and benefits.

What is the Purpose of the Veterans Administration?

The Veterans Administration (VA) is a federal agency that assists veterans financially. President Hoover established the VA in 1930 via an Executive Order. Before this change, three different agencies were responsible for managing veterans’ benefits. To more efficiently help those who have served our country, Hoover established one agency that would cater to veterans’ and their loved ones’ medical, emotional, and physical needs.

The VA offers burial and memorial benefits to qualifying soldiers and their families. These benefits help cover the costs of funeral services and can provide financial assistance to grieving family members. The VA also offers counseling services to help veterans and their families cope with the loss of a loved one.

The Veterans Affairs Department was elevated to a U.S. Cabinet level and is now commonly known as the VA. The VA has come a long way since its inception in 1930. Today, the VA is one of the largest federal government agencies, with over 300,000 employees. The VA provides numerous services and benefits to veterans and their families and is committed to improving the lives of those who have served our country.

When Did Veterans Administration Become Veterans Affairs?

On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed The Department of Veterans Affairs Act into law, thus abolishing the Veterans Administration and renaming it the Department of Veterans Affairs. By combining VA’s former health care, benefits, and cemetery and memorial service duties into one government department, this reform attempted to improve the delivery of VA services and benefits to veterans and their families. The act also created a new position within VA, the Under Secretary for Veterans Affairs, who would report directly to the President.

The Veterans Administration originated in the Veterans Bureau, established by Congress on August 17, 1921. This bureau was responsible for providing medical care and training to disabled vets and running VA hospitals and clinics. Over time, the Veterans Bureau began to offer additional benefits and services to vets, such as disability compensation, pension programs, and education assistance. In 1930, President Hoover consolidated these various veteran-related programs into the Veterans Affairs, which remains VA’s official name today.

Who Runs the Veterans Administration?

The Veterans Administration is currently being run by Secretary Denis R. McDonough. McDonough was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the new Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. On January 27, 2021, he appeared before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The United States Senate confirmed Mr. McDonough’s nomination on February 8, 2021, and he became the 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs the next day after being sworn in.

From February 2013 to January 2017, Secretary McDonough served as the 26th White House Chief of Staff in the Obama Administration. Under President Obama and Vice President Biden’s direction, Mr. McDonough was responsible for the White House staff and communicating and collaborating with the cabinet secretaries to maintain progress towards meeting presidential agendas. In addition, he created objectives and measurable outcomes to guarantee that everyone in the administration was meeting efficient and ethical standards.

What Does the Veterans Administration Do?

The VA provides eligible veterans and their families with burial and memorial benefits. This includes maintaining over 131 national cemeteries, providing headstones and markers for the graves of Veterans and their spouses at no cost, offering a Presidential Memorial Certificate to recognize a deceased Veteran’s military service, as well as coordinating burial at sea services. The VA also provides counseling services to help Veterans cope with psychological stressors such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

These services can be provided through individual or group therapy sessions and cognitive processing therapy groups specifically for women. Furthermore, the VA has a crisis line available 24/7 for Veterans needing support. The VA also operates Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals and clinics nationwide that provide free medical care to enrolled Veterans.

Disability compensation is a tax-free monetary benefit granted to Veterans who are disabled due to an injury or disease sustained or worsened while serving in the military. These benefits are also paid to certain Veterans’ survivors. Lastly, the VA provides home loan guarantees to Veterans and Servicemembers and their surviving spouses to help them obtain affordable housing.

How Can I Contact the Veterans Administration?

The best way to contact the VA is through their website, va.gov. On the website, you will find a “Contact Us” page with several options for contacting the VA, depending on your needs. You can also reach the VA by phone at 1-800-827-1000. If you are a Veteran in distress or know an individual who is, you can also contact the Veterans Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to connect with someone online, or text 838255 to receive confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How Many Years Do You Have to Serve to be a Veteran?

Service members must have completed 24 months of active duty to be designated a veteran. If a service member is disabled during their time in the service, they qualify for VA benefits regardless of how long they served. In addition, veterans and their loved ones are eligible for several benefits through the VA, including burial and memorial benefits. These benefits can help ease the financial burden on families who have lost a loved one who served our country. 

“You may be considered a veteran if you served on active duty for at least 180 days and were honorably discharged,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Matthew Krenz, a legislative liaison at the National Guard Bureau who gave information to Congressional members working on the measure. “If you served less than 180 days, you would need a discharge for a service-connected disability.”

VA offers health care, benefits, burial, and memorial services, disability compensation, education assistance, home loan guarantees, pension programs, and more.

Where Does VA Money Come From?  

Every year, Congress gives federal agencies money for their budgets, which is called budgetary resources. For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had $338.73 Billion distributed among its three sub-components in FY 2022. Agencies commit budgetary resources by making financial promises called obligations.


What Are the Three Administrations of the VA?

The Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and National Cemetery Administration are the three administrations of the VA.

Veterans Health Administration

The Veterans Health Administration is the most extensive integrated healthcare system in the United States. It offers medical care and services at 1,298 locations, including 171 medical centers and 1,113 outpatient clinics. These outpatient clinics serve 9 million enrolled veterans every year.

Veterans Benefits Administration

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is in charge of veteran registration, eligibility determination, and administration for five major lines of benefits:

  • Education
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Insurance
  • Home Loan Guarantee
  • Compensation and Pension

National Cemetery Administration

The National Cemetery Administration manages over 131 national cemeteries and 400 state VA cemeteries. They offer burial services to qualified veterans and their dependents. These services include interment, memorialization, and honored tributes.

  • In 40 states and Puerto Rico, the NCA is responsible for preserving about 3.4 million gravesites, 131 national cemeteries, one Veterans’ burial ground, and 33 soldiers’ lots and memorial sites.
  • VA’s 131 national cemeteries have roughly 473,000 full-casket gravesites, 124,000 in-ground cremation gravesites, and 154,000 columbarium niches.
  • In the fiscal year 2018, VA spent $277 million on national cemeteries operations and maintenance.

Make Appointment with Chris Duncan

Scroll to Top