All State Benefits
Special Disability Information
For Vietnam Veterans, Former POWs, Veterans Exposed to Radiation, Recent Separatees, and Gulf War Veterans.
Veterans in these categories have special systems in place to help with their unique challenges.
Emergency Financial Assistance
Low-income Vermont veterans without the funds to take care of their critical life needs can receive temporary financial assistance from various state and local programs. These programs won’t cure long term financial difficulties, but they can help prevent a financial problem from becoming a crisis.
Survivor and Family Benefits
The surviving family members of veterans or military personnel who die may be eligible for various benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the state. These include various pensions and education benefits. In addition, the families of military personnel wounded in the Global War on Terror are also eligible for financial assistance.
Mortuary and Burial Benefits
Programs provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the state honor deceased veterans and military members through financial assistance and burial benefits. These include the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery, grave markers, and financial assistance for burials.
Home and Vehicle Modification
Various programs provide help to disabled veterans who need to have their home or vehicle modified to accommodate their disability.
Sometimes the benefits that can best help a veteran and their family are those not specifically created for veterans. To talk with a benefits specialist to find out what is available in your area, regardless of who provides the benefit, just dial 2-1-1 for a free call that is available 24 hours a day.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides markers for veterans no matter where they are interred. Markers can be upright or flat, and they come in bronze, marble, and granite.
The federal government provides burial flags free of charge. To receive a burial flag, simply take the deceased veterans discharge to the closest United States Postal Office.
Military Funeral Honors
The Vermont National Guard has a professional honor guard team that performs at more than 300 funerals each year. They are a precision team, and during their honors may perform an appropriate gun salute, complete a flag folding ceremony, present the flag to the next of kin, and play Taps.
Presidential Memorial Certificate
The President of the United States issues memorial certificates to the families of deceased veterans. Visit the National Cemetery Administration’s Website for application instructions.
The VA provides funds to help offset burial and funeral costs for veterans. Many different factors are involved to determine the amount provided. We recommend families contact the VA directly to find out if they are eligible.
Burial of Destitute Veterans
Veterans who die destitute are guaranteed an appropriate burial by the State of Vermont. For more information, contact your local Economic Services Division Office at 1-800-479-6151. In addition, we recommend the families of destitute or low-income veterans consider the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery because of its quality and low cost.
Vermont’s Medals for Veterans
Vermont has three medals that recognize those who served who have a connection with our state. They are:
The Vermont Veterans Medal is awarded to most veterans with an honorable discharge.
The Vermont Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to veterans who received an honorable discharge and who served in a combat theater.
The Patriot’s Medal is presented to the next-of-kin of Vermont soldiers killed in action.
Distribution of the Veterans Medal and Distinguished Service Medal is not automatic. Veterans must apply for them or have someone apply on their behalf.
Applicants can choose to receive the medals in the mail, or they can choose to participate in an annual medal presentation ceremony at the Vermont State House, with medals delivered by the Governor. The family members of deceased veterans may also receive the medals.
High School Diplomas for Veterans
Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War era, or the Vietnam War Era can also receive a high school diploma if they have never received one. Applicants can choose to receive their diploma from any Vermont public school. After the Office of Veterans Affairs verifies eligibility, it passes the application along to the appropriate high school, who will make presentation arrangements with the applicant.
License Plates for Veterans
Veterans can display a Veterans License Plate on their vehicle. The plates are available for standard cars and trucks and motorcycles. Verification of service is done by the Office of Veterans Affairs.
If you are registering your vehicle in person at the Montpelier Department of Motor Vehicles, the Office of Veterans Affairs can verify your eligibility in person, as they are located next door to the DMV. You could bring your application and supporting documents to any DMV. Please us this application to apply. You will need to provide a DD214 as proof of service to the Office of Veterans Affairs for the plate you want for your vehicle. Keep in mind, you can apply for a Veterans License Plate at any time. You don’t have to wait until you reregister your vehicle.
In addition to the Veterans Plate, the DMV has a selection of different veteran related plates, including a Purple Heart Plate, Former Prisoner of War Plate, and Pearl Harbor Survivor Plate. The DMV also has plates for several veteran organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Vietnam Veterans of America. Applications for the plates in this section are made directly with the DMV.
Veterans in Vermont can get a VETERAN designation on their Driver’s License!
Memorial Day Ceremony
Each year the state has a Memorial Day observance ceremony at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 30th at 3:00 p.m. Contact the Office of Veterans Affairs for information about the ceremony.
Veterans Day Parade
Each year the state provides the Boy Scouts of America funds to organize the state’s Veterans Day Parade. The parade is held the first Saturday of November, and the location changes from year to year. Contact the Boy Scouts of America for information about the parade.
Veterans Business Resource Center
This program ensures that veteran entrepreneurs and their family members have the best resources available to start or grow a business in Utah. The program works closely with the Utah Veteran-Owned Business Partnership to help serve the 17,000 veteran-owned business and veteran entrepreneurs throughout the state. This program and Small Business Development Network offer the following free services to the veterans, military personnel, and their immediate families:
Replacement Military Decorations
The federal government will send veterans or their next of kin with the medals they received during their service.
Cold War Service Certificates
Veterans who served during the Cold War (from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union) can receive a certificate of appreciation from the federal government. Applications are processed by the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
Quilts of Valor
Quilts of Valor are presented to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans who are receiving medical care from the White River Junction VA Medical Center. The quilts are made from appreciation, admiration and respect for their service to our country. The quilts are presented several times a year in a ceremony at the medical center. To receive a quilt, contact the medical center’s eligibility office.
FREE USE OF ARMORIES
Federally chartered Veterans organizations shall have the right to the free use of armories owned or leased by the State of Utah, provided that their use of the armories does not interfere with their use by the National Guard or organized militia of the state.
HOMELESS VETERANS FELLOWSHIP
The Homeless Veterans Fellowship provides transitional housing for up to 18 months for Veterans. They also provide emergency food bags and personal hygiene items, and coffee and donuts are provided during open hours.
VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES PARK PASS
Veterans that are 50% service-connected disabled will need to provide a current summary of benefits letter issued by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs in order to obtain the Honor Pass at select locations across Utah.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is for the surviving spouses of military members who die while in service or from a service-connected disability. It provides a monthly payment regardless of the spouse’s income from other sources. The amount is higher if there are additional dependents or if the spouse is disabled and/or housebound. In some cases, the parents of deceased military and disabled veterans may also receive DIC.
Death Pension is for exceptionally low-income surviving spouses and underage surviving children of deceased veterans with war time service. A surviving spouse with no children would need to have income of less than $624.84 per month to be eligible. They would receive enough assistance to raise their income to this level. The level is higher depending on the number of dependents.
Applications for both programs can be made directly to the VA. We recommend, however, that applications be made with the assistance of an accredited veteran service officer.
Dependents Education Assistance (DEA)
This VA program is available to some spouses or children of military members who died or were permanently and totally disabled as a result of a service-connected injury or condition. The program operates much like the Montgomery GI Bill and must be used within 10 years of the date of eligibility for the program. Applications can be made directly to the VA or through a veteran service officer. Questions about the program can be directed to the VA or to the Education Consultant at the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
Armed Services Scholarship
The Armed Services Scholarship is a State of Vermont program for the spouse and children of military members who died on active duty since 2001, or the spouse and children of Vermont National Guard members who have died while serving at any time. The scholarship can be used towards the completion of an undergraduate degree at a Vermont school. For Vermont state schools, the scholarship covers the full tuition; for Vermont private schools, the scholarship reduces the tuition. If the deceased was a member of the Vermont National Guard, applications are processed by the guard’s education office. All others apply to the Veteran Services Director at the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
The surviving family members of military members who die in service or military retirees may be eligible for continued TRICARE coverage, which is provided by the Department of Defense.
Surviving family members who are not eligible for TRICARE may be eligible for CHAMPVA, which is provided by the VA. CHAMPVA is available to the spouse and children of permanently and totally disabled veterans, the surviving spouse and children of disabled veterans who died of their service-connected condition, or the spouse and children of military members who die in service (this is very rare, however, as most of these survivors are eligible for TRICARE). Contact the VA directly for more information or to apply.
Disability Compensation is for veterans who have conditions that were caused or aggravated by their service in the military. These conditions cover the full range of human physical and emotional experience. Has your ankle bothered you ever since you twisted it at boot camp? Have your ears rung ever since you spent a year driving a tank in a combat zone? Have you felt anxious ever since going on patrol in hostile territory? The bottom line: If you have a current physical or mental condition, and it is related to your military service, then apply for Disability Compensation. Even if the condition seems minor now, don’t wait to apply. When you’re 25, that “bum” left knee may just be a minor inconvenience; when you’re 55, the early onset arthritis you developed in that knee because of your service may mean you can barely walk. You should apply regardless of your income and regardless of your ability to find work. In short: if the military broke it, the VA owns it.
Non-Service-Connected Pension (Also Called Improved Pension)
The application process varies for different types of applicants. So, before you apply, determine the benefit that is right for you. You have up to 15 years after release from active duty to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill; other programs have different time limits. If you are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill, or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, you must choose which benefit you wish to receive. This decision is irrevocable. It takes about 30 minutes to apply for the benefit online. Consider the following: • Plan and apply early; VA education benefits can take a few weeks to process
Veterans’ Health Administration
Healthcare is provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The doctors you visit at the White River Junction VA Medical Center, or its various clinics work for VHA, and their purpose is to provide medical care to you. They do not process applications for benefits, including VA disability benefits.
Veterans Benefits Administration
Benefits are provided by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and they process applications for VA disability benefits. The only VBA location in Vermont is at the White River Junction VA Regional Office, which is located at the same campus as the hospital. White River Junction is one of only four locations across the nation where VBA and VHA work in the same complex. Usually, they maintain separate facilities.
Don’t let their geographic proximity fool you. They are separate and distinct operations, each with their own mission and chain of command. Therefore a veteran can see a VHA doctor for their service-connected conditions, but not be a “Disabled Veteran” unless VBA approved their disability application.
Regular Financial Support
Most veterans who have their applications approved receive additional monthly income. For Disability Compensation, this income is tax free. Even if a veteran is rated at only 10%, that is still an extra $115 every month, probably for life. If they live another 50 years, that’s an extra $69,000 to help pay the mortgage, buy a car, or put kids through school.
Increased Access to VA Healthcare
Just as importantly, the VA provides free care for every service-connected condition. If the veteran with a bad knee above needs to have knee replacement surgery, the VA pays for it. In many cases veterans receiving either Disability Compensation or Non-Service-Connected Pension can also use the VA to receive care for conditions not related to their military service. This may not seem like a big benefit to a veteran who is currently working and has health insurance, but it can be a more significant benefit when they are unemployed or after they retire.
Access to More Robust VA Benefits
Many veteran benefits have been created to care specifically for disabled veterans, so having your service-connected conditions recognized may grant eligibility to other more robust benefits, such as:
VA Vocational Rehabilitation to retrain into a new career
Using the VA Guaranteed Home Loan without having to pay the normal funding fee
Increased options for long term care
Possible property tax exemption
Preference in government hiring
Additional support in starting a business
For business owners, preference in obtaining government contracts
Access to VA Benefits for Survivors
Finally, apply for VA disability benefits to care for your family after you are gone. The surviving spouses and children of deceased disabled veterans may be eligible for various pensions and education benefits that can have a profound impact on their lives.