This page is a guide complied from many individuals who all have first hand experience going through the VA education and health care systems. Please use it and share it! The more veterans that sign up for VA benefits, the more money the government allocates to the VA system as a whole! By signing up, you are helping every other veteran!
NOTE: This page contains helpful information for US veterans. Please click the links below for the UK and Canadian Veteran services. Krieger Gaming is not affiliated with or endorsed by the department of Veterans Affairs or the government.
Combined Arms brings together veteran-focused nonprofits and agencies and communities across the nation committed to serving those who served. These 250+ best-in-class organizations provide 1200+ resources that empower veterans to lead the successful civilian lives they want, making our community stronger than ever.
VA education benefits help Veterans, service members, and their qualified family members with needs like paying college tuition, finding the right school or training program, and getting career counseling. Learn how to apply for and manage the education and training benefits you’ve earned.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) helps you pay for school or job training. If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).
If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help. This program—also known as Chapter 31 or VR&E—helps you explore employment options and address education or training needs. In some cases, your family members may also qualify for certain benefits.
Please note, you can use VR&E benefits to pay for college without touching your GI Bill so long as you use VR&E benefits FIRST. You cannot use your GI Bill and then use VR&E.
Joint Service Transcripts (JSTs)
The JST is a one-stop shop for all college credit that you've earned in the military. When you apply for a college, make sure to send a copy of your JST to the school you're attending! You can even transfer your existing college credits to the JST so they are all in one place! Visit the ACE Military Guide to College Creditable Service to see what can transfer.
Who is eligible?
All military members & veterans.
How to get your JST:
Did you know if you served honorably on active duty for at least 36 months and separated or retired honorably, you qualify for VA health care? VA health care meets the minimum coverage of health care needed by law, and in most cases its completely free!
Did you know that there is never an end date for submitting a claim? You can submit a claim at any time for anything that happened while you served. Even decades after you departed the service! The only draw back is that you wont receive back pay if you didn't submit a claim within the first 365 day after you separated.
Are you still in? You can submit a BDD claim (Pre-Discharge Claim) between your last 180 and 90 days of service! This means you can get all of the paperwork and appointments completed while you are still active duty! That way your benefits start date is the day you separate!
Simply put, Service Connected means an injury or illness you received while in the military, OR a preexisting condition that was made worse by your service. Remember, if you get injured or sick, go to medical and get it documented! Documentation is EVERYTHING!
Find a Veteran Service Officer near you! VSOs are very useful because they review your records and help you fill out the paperwork you need to submit for your claim! Most VSO's are completely free!
Gather all of your medical records and make copies of everything! If you can't find paperwork on a particular injury, try contacting the clinic or hospital you visited directly.
Additionally, you can file something called a Buddy Statement (Form VBA-21-4138-ARE). Buddy Statements are useful but optional documents that allow for a Battle buddy, roommate, supervisor, etc. to fill out on your behalf. For example, if you have no record of a knee injury, but one of your coworkers remembers you being injured, they can verify that it happened while in service!
Fill-out and submit VA Disability Claim Form 21-526EZ to the VA! This is the form that gets the ball rolling! You can do this online by clicking on the link, or send a paper copy to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
Once the VA receives your forms and records, they will upload your claim to the VA website under Claims and Appeals. Then either the VA or a contracting company will reach out to you to schedule your medical exams. Remember to be early for all of your appointments, and if you need to reschedule, do it a couple days before if possible. If you miss an appointment, the VA can throw out your claim and you'll have to start over.
Once all of your appointments are completed, the VA will review your claims and make a decision. This can take months, so be patient! It doesn't hurt to contact the VA or the contracting company to ask if they received everything they need for the claim. They may request additional information or records, which can typically be uploaded electronically on the VA website. Once a final decision and rating is applied, you'll see that on the same Claims and Appeals page!
Veteran Affairs Important Resource Numbers
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