Federal Benefits: From a Grateful Nation

Federal benefits for military veterans are provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.Military Discharge Record Image

FEDERAL BURIAL BENEFITS

HEADSTONES AND MEDALLION MARKERS

Headstones and Markers are available to veterans with an
“other than dishonorable” discharge.

How to Apply: A Veteran Service Officer is required to complete the necessary National Cemetery Service form. On this form, we will need the signature of the person who will accept receipt of the headstone or medallion markers (usually a monument service). Also, the cemetery must sign the form to indicate they will accept the item. The process is complete when this office sends the complete and twice endorsed form to the National Cemetery Service. Stones and medallions can take 4-6 months for delivery.

PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL CERTIFICATES

An office representative will help you complete the necessary National Cemetery Service form.   

How to Apply: We will need a copy of the death certificate and military discharge paperwork. An office representative will complete the necessary paperwork to receive the certificate.

Claim for VA Burial Benefits

Veterans who die from service connected disabilities are eligible for a $2000 service-connected burial allowance from the Federal Department of Veteran Affairs. This office has Veteran Service Officers who can assist you in completing necessary forms, gathering required paperwork, and endorse this request.  

How to Apply: Make an appointment by calling 610-278-3285 where a Veteran Service Officer will attempt to establish a connection between the cause of death and a service connected disability; the primary criteria for eligibility. We will need a copy of DD-214, VA Award letter detailing disabilities, and death certificate.

FEDERAL PENSIONS

Non-Service Connected Pension (including surviving spouse)

1.  Improved Pension

Non-service-connected VA pension is a monthly payment available to wartime veterans who are permanently and totally disabled and have very low incomes and net worth. The pension program is designed to supplement the income of disabled veterans who had to give up career opportunities while they served their country during a time of war and were unable to accumulate enough resources to support themselves adequately after they became disabled.

Veteran Service Officers will assist wartime veterans to apply for a non-service connected pension by completing necessary paperwork for submittal to the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Call 610-278-3285 for an appointment with a Veteran Service Officer.

Applicants must also bring required documents:

  • Veteran’s Discharge Paperwork
  • Voided Check or Checking Account Information
  • Claimant (and spouse) last three months of bank statements
  • Any “net worth” statements (Investments, IRAs, Annuities)
  • Income Statements (1099, W2s, 1040 (as applicable), VA Award Letter)
  • Medical Expense Invoices (out of pocket payments that have been paid and will not be reimbursed.)
  • Marriage License
  • Veteran Death Certificate (if Surviving Spouse is applicant)

2.  Special Monthly Pension

Some veterans with severe disabilities are entitled to increased VA benefits known as special monthly pension (SMP). There are two types of SMP: housebound and aid and attendance. Veteran Service Officers are experts at helping you attain necessary medical opinions and completing forms to apply with the VA.

  • Housebound benefits are available to veterans with a single permanent disability rated as 100 percent disabling who are essentially confined to their homes. These veterans do not actually have to be housebound. A questionnaire  
  • Aid and attendance (A&A) benefits are available to veterans who require the regular (but not constant) assistance of another person to perform the tasks of daily living. 

In making this determination, the VA considers their “Activities for Daily Living”, whether the veteran is able to dress or undress without assistance; can feed himself or herself; can keep himself or herself clean and presentable; frequently needs adjustments to any special prosthetic or orthopedic appliances; is able to attend to the wants of nature; and has a physical or mental incapacity that requires assistance on a regular basis to protect the claimant from the hazards of his or her daily environment. 

Entitlement can also be established by showing that the veteran is blind or nearly blind (5/200 vision in both eyes, with corrective lenses, or contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less); or is a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity.

Call 610-278-3285 for an appointment with a Veteran Service Officer.

3.  Non Service Connected Death Pension

Non-service-connected death pension benefits are pension payments for low-income surviving spouses and surviving dependent children (Dependent parents are not eligible for non-service-connected death pension). 

Eligibility

  • The veteran must have met the basic eligibility requirements for VA pension benefits (wartime service, discharge under conditions other than dishonorable, and the additional service requirement for veterans who first entered into active duty on or after September 8, 1980) and 
  • The survivor must demonstrate financial need and not have an excessive net worth.

Unlike the pension rules for veterans, the survivor does not need to be disabled to qualify for non-service-connected death pension. In addition, the veteran need not have established entitlement to VA compensation or pension benefits before his or her death.

Applicants must also bring required documents:

  • Veteran’s Discharge Paperwork
  • Voided Check or Checking Account Information
  • Claimant (and spouse) last three months of bank statements
  • Any “net worth” statements (Investments, IRAs, Annuities)
  • Income Statements (1099, W2s, 1040 (as applicable), VA Award Letter)
  • Medical Expense Invoices (out of pocket payments that have been paid and will not be reimbursed.)
  • Marriage License
  • Veteran Death Certificate 

A Veteran Service Officer will examine income statements and expenses and submit the required documentation to the VA. Call 610-278-3285 for an appointment with a Veteran Service Officer.

FEDERAL COMPENSATION

Dependent Indemnity Compensation

Family members of a deceased veteran whose death was connected to service may be entitled to a number of VA benefits. 

DIC is a monthly payment that is available to eligible surviving spouses, children, and dependent parents when the VA determines that the veteran’s death was service-connected.

To receive DIC, a family member must qualify as a surviving spouse, child, or dependent parent under VA rules. In general, a surviving spouse must have been legally married to the veteran at the time of death and have lived with the veteran throughout the marriage; however, a separation that was not the fault of the surviving spouse will not disqualify the spouse. Same-sex spouses are eligible for VA survivor benefits. Surviving spouses who remarry before the age of 57 may have their DIC benefits discontinued.

How to Apply: Contact a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285 to learn more about the program and to set up an appointment. The Veteran Service Officer will instruct you on what paperwork is needed to file with the VA.

Service-Connected Disability Compensation

Service-connected compensation is a monthly payment made by the VA to a veteran with a physical or mental disability that was incurred in, caused by, or aggravated by service. The size of the compensation is based on the level of disability suffered by the veteran (generally described by the VA as the “average impairment in earning capacity”), not on need, income, or any other factor. The greater a veteran’s level of disability, the more compensation he or she will receive. The veteran whose knee was wounded in combat and the veteran who injured a shoulder playing rugby during active service might both qualify for service connection (and possibly for the same level of compensation).

How to Apply: Contact a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285 to learn more about the program and to setup an appointment. The Veteran Service Officer will instruct you on what paperwork is needed to file with the VA.  

These claims involve several steps:

  1. Establish Representation and Intent to File: You will need to enter into a limited power of attorney agreement with your Veteran Service Officer (VSO) using VA Form 21-22 as well as declare to the VA your intent to file on VA Form 0966.
  2. Determine items to claim: AN in-depth interview with your Veteran Service Officer and a review of available military service treatment records of other medical records is required.  
  3. Claim Development and Filing the Claim: The VSO will have you visit your doctor to fill out a Disability Benefit Questionnaire. The VSO will fill out the necessary paperwork to file the claim. Later, the VA will likely have you assessed by their doctors. 
  4. Waiting: Claims can take several months to a year. 

Filing for a Service Connected Disability rating is a long and arduous process, but our Veteran Service Officers do most of the heavy lifting as far as paperwork goes.  The applicant will need to assist the Veteran Service Officer in attaining medical records (military and civilian) and going to VA mandated medical evaluations.

Special Monthly Compensation – Loss of Use

Special Monthly Compensation is an additional compensation a veteran receives because the VA recognizes that certain conditions require greater compensation. Special Compensation is based on:

  • Loss or loss of use of a hand or foot.
  • Loss of sight or hearing.
  • Loss or loss of use of a reproductive organ (including service-connected erectile dysfunction).
  • Inability to communicate by speech.
  • Loss of tissue from one or both breasts from mastectomy or radiation treatment.
  • Inability to leave the house from service-connected disabilities.

How to Apply: Contact a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285 to learn more about the program and to set up an appointment.

Individual Unemployability Compensation

When service-connected disability results in the ability to keep steady employment that supports you financially (known as substantially gainful employment) and the veteran has a certain service-connected disability rating, they may be eligible to be paid the 100% disability rating.

How to Apply: Contact a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285 to learn more about the program and to set up an appointment.

OTHER

Request for Records (SF-180 or vetrecs.archives.gov)

Veteran Service Officers can assist you in accessing your military service records (including medical records). Contact our office for assistance.

How to Apply: Contact Mr. Charles Delaney, a Navicate and Army Veteran with the Office of Community Connections who specializes in these requests OR a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285.

Veterans Health Benefits

The VA provides a wide range of health care services to veterans. Generally speaking, however, only the following limited groups of veterans receive care cost-free: 

  • Veterans with compensable service-connected conditions
  • Former prisoners of war
  • Veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart, and 
  • Low-income veterans

Some veterans may have special eligibility which may allow them to receive limited types of care. All other veterans may be provided services if resources and facilities are available and the veteran agrees to pay a copayment.

How to Apply: Click here or call -1-877-222-8387.

Specially Adapted Housing Grants

Veterans with certain service-connected disabilities may be awarded benefits to pay for housing adaptations that permit greater mobility. To qualify for the maximum benefit, the veteran must have a service-connected permanent and total disability as the result of any of the following:  

  • Loss, or loss of use, of both lower extremities that prevents the veteran from moving from place to place without the use of braces, crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair; 
  • Loss, or loss of use, of both upper extremities at or above the elbow; 
  • Blindness in both eyes (being able to perceive light only), plus the loss, or loss of use, of one lower extremity; 
  • Severe burn injuries; 
  • Loss or loss of use of one or more lower extremities which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.

How to Apply: Contact a Veteran Service Officer at 610-278-3285 to learn more about the program and to set up an appointment