Benefits for Veterans

Military service members receive special, life-changing benefits as a thank you for their services.

In addition to serving their country, members of the military get access to life-changing benefits for themselves and their dependents.

Education Benefits

Education assistance is often the first thing that comes to mind when people think about the benefits of serving in the military. The most popular and commonly used education benefit comes from the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but there is also the lesser-known Montgomery GI Bill. It’s important to be aware that service members can only use one or the other.


Post 9/11 GI Bill

Requirements for Qualification

To take advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, service members must not have been dishonorably discharged and need to fall into at least one of the following categories after September 10, 2001…

  • Served at least 90 days of active duty service
  • Received a Purple Heart
  • Discharged with a service-related disability after serving at least 30 continuous days


The Post 9/11 GI Bill helps service members afford training and education. The bill covers the full cost of in-state tuition and fees at a public university or a set amount for a private or foreign school. It also provides money for housing, books, supplies, and a one-time payment to relocate from a rural area for school.

The assistance can be used for various types of training and education including college degrees, technical and vocational training, licensing reimbursement, apprenticeship programs, and more.

The actual dollar amount of assistance that a service member qualifies for is based on how long they served. For example, if they served 90 days but less than 6 months, they’re eligible for 50% of the full amount. If they served at least 24 months but less than 30, they’re eligible for 80%. A member of the military must serve at least 36 months in order to receive 100% of the benefit. Go here for more details about the Post 9/11 GI Bill.


Montgomery GI Bill

Requirements for Qualification

A service member can take advantage of the Montgomery GI Bill if they fulfill all the following requirements…

  • Served at least 2 years of active duty
  • Completed high school or an equivalency certificate
  • Contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months while on active duty


The Montgomery GI Bill provides up to 36 months (8 semesters/4 years) of funds for education or training such as college, certification tests, and flight school. The bill pays out various monthly amounts depending on student and duty status, as well as the kind of training pursued.

A service member can begin to use the Montgomery GI Bill after 2 years of service, but it’s best to wait until you’re no longer on active duty. This bill “charges” active duty and veterans differently, and veterans receive a more generous payment rate. Go ​​here to learn more about the Montgomery GI Bill.


Home Loans

Another extremely popular benefit for service members is VA-backed or VA direct home loans.


VA-Backed Purchase Loan or Cash-Out Refinance

Requirements for Qualification

A service member must fulfill all the following to get a VA-Backed loan…

  • Qualify for a VA Certificate of Eligibility
  • Meet the VA and lender standards of credit and income
  • Live in the home


A VA-backed loan is one borrowed from a regular mortgage lender with the VA guaranteeing or backing part of the loan. This makes it more likely that a lender will want to lend to a service member.

VA-backed purchase loans do not require a down payment or Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and generally get better rates and fewer closing costs than regular mortgage loans. VA-backed loans also have no penalties for paying the loan off early. This helps service members save a lot when buying a home or afford a larger home than they would otherwise.

In a cash-out refinance, service members can turn a non VA-backed loan into a VA-backed loan, with better rates to save money. They can also draw on the equity of their home to pay off debt or other expenses.


Native American Direct Loan (NADL)

Requirements for Qualification

In order to qualify for an NADL, a service member must fit all the following…

  • Be a Native American veteran or a veteran with a Native American Spouse
  • Belong to a tribal government that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the VA
  • Have a valid VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility
  • Meet VA credit and income requirements
  • Live in the home


For Native American veterans or veterans with a Native American spouse, an NADL helps them buy, build, or improve their home. These loans are offered directly from the VA, meaning that borrowers do not work with a separate mortgage lender. Borrowers are not required to pay a down payment or PMI and often have fewer closing costs than a regular loan. NADLs are 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.



Requirements for Qualification

Qualifying for VA Healthcare is a little complicated. No matter what, the service member cannot be dishonorably discharged.

If a service member enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, they must have served 24 continuous months or the full period they were called for active duty. This requirement is only waived if the service member is discharged early with a service-related disability, a hardship, or an “early out.” If the member of the military served before September 7, 1980, the service length requirement does not apply.

If the service member is a current or former member of the National Guard or Reserves, they must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full term for which they were ordered.

Finally, members who served in the Vietnam War automatically qualify if they served in specific, approved times and places.

More specifics on eligibility are found here.


Many veterans qualify for VA healthcare through the Veterans Health Administration. Those who do pay no premiums, but may need to pay co-payments for covered healthcare. Covered healthcare includes regular checkups, primary care visits, and appointments with certain specialists. Only some dental care is included with VA health care coverage. To learn more about the benefits covered, go here.


Other Benefits

There are many other benefits available to service members. Some of the most powerful include...

  • Burial Reimbursement: The VA reimburses up to $796 for non-service related deaths and $2,000 for service-related deaths to cover funeral and burial costs for qualified veterans. Learn more here.
  • Dependent and Survivor Benefits: Dependents and survivors of military service members can receive various benefits including monthly payments for various financial needs, financing for education, life insurance benefits, healthcare, and more. Learn more about what is available to the family of service members here.
  • Disability: For those with a service-related disability (a disability caused or made worse by their military service), the VA pays disability payments. These payments are based on a disability rating that’s created from the severity of the disability and whether the veteran has dependents or not. Learn more about veteran disability payments here.
  • Life Insurance: Service members have access to VA Life Insurance to give them peace of mind, help support disabilities, and pay out money to their surviving family members should something happen to them. There are 6 types of VA life insurance. To see the specifics of each, go here.
  • Pension: Service members who served during eligible wartime periods, are at least 65 years old or with a qualified disability, and were not dishonorably discharged can receive monthly pension payments. To learn more about how much someone could receive, go here.
  • Readiness and Employment Training: The VA provides training to help service members reach career goals. This includes job training, resume development, career counseling services, business counseling, and more. Learn more about the available programs here.


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