The VA has a number of programs providing financial, medical and other assistance to veterans.
If you are applying for a VA benefit for the first time you must submit a copy of your discharge paperwork, which shows your service dates and type of discharge, or provide the VA your full name, social security number, branch and dates of service.
Your paperwork should be kept in a safe place where you and your family can get to it. Your preference regarding burial in a national cemetery and use of a headstone provided by VA should be documented and kept with this information.
Your eligibility for most VA benefits is based on discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
You may be eligible for certain benefits, such as home loan guarantees and education if you meet the time-in-service and other criteria.
Honorable and general discharges qualify a veteran for most VA benefits.
Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may bar VA benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees may be eligible for certain VA benefits. VA regional offices can clarify the eligibility of prisoners, parolees and individuals with multiple discharges issued under differing conditions.
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