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Military Benefits for Former Service Members, Veterans, and Families

By Kirtland Financial Services

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Just because your military service is up doesn’t mean your benefits disappear. You spent many years of your life serving and protecting your country. With that sacrifice, you can access various benefits created to help you readjust to civilian life and build a future for yourself and your family.

Home Loans

Former service members, veterans, and surviving spouses, that are eligible, have the opportunity to apply for a VA loan. A VA loan is a government-backed mortgage option made by private lenders, for example, a bank or mortgage company, that offers competitive terms and interest rates to purchase a single-family home, a manufactured home, a new construction, a multi-unit property, or condominium. A few of the benefits that come with a VA loan include:

  • You can purchase with a 0% down payment.
  • Eligible participants are offered lower interest rates.
  • Typically, caps on how much lenders can charge to originate and process a loan are in place.
  • Credit flexibility. VA loans aren’t as harsh with debt-to-income ratios or periods of waiting if an event like foreclosure or bankruptcy negatively impacts your credit.

The GI Bill

Service members eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill can have their education covered for all public in-state tuition and fees. If they enroll at an out-of-state or private school, tuition rates at these schools may be more than the covered amount. However, schools that participate in The Yellow Ribbon Program may be able to cover more of the student’s costs.

To be eligible for The Yellow Ribbon Program, you must meet these criteria:

  • Must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Must have served an aggregate period of 36 months of active-duty service after Sept. 10, 2001
  • Must have been honorably discharged from active duty for a service-connected disability after serving at least 30 continuous days after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • Must be a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 GI Bill based on the service eligibility criteria listed above.


Also eligible:

  • Purple Heart recipients with an honorable discharge.
  • Recipients of the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship.

The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program

Also called Chapter 35, this program was designed for the spouse and children of a veteran or service member who has died, is missing or captured, or has disabilities. Eligible participants may get help paying for school or job training.

VA Healthcare

You may be eligible for VA health care benefits if you served in the active military, naval, or air service and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge. To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:

  • If you enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, you must have served 24 continuous months or the entire period you were called to active duty unless any of the following are true.
  • Minimum duty requirements may not apply if any of these apply to you:
    • You were discharged for a disability that was caused, or made worse, by your active-duty service, or
    • You were discharged for a hardship or “early out,” or
    • You served before Sept. 7, 1980.
  • For current or former National Guard or Reserve members, you must have been called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty. You don’t qualify for VA health care if you had or have active-duty status for training purposes only.
  • If you served in certain locations and time periods during the Vietnam War era.
  • You may qualify for enhanced eligibility status if you meet one of several requirements that you can find by visiting the Eligibility for VA Health Care page on the VA website.

Hospital Indemnity Insurance

Hospital indemnity insurance provides cash payments in the event of an unexpected hospital stay for a covered illness and/or injury.

Disability Compensation for Veterans with Service-Related Disabilities

Veterans with a service-related disability may be eligible for monthly compensation. The amount received is calculated by using a basic monthly rate table where you can locate the amount for your disability rating and dependent status.

Consult a Financial Professional

Determining what benefits you are eligible for as a former service member, veteran, or military spouse can be complex and confusing. Consider consulting a financial professional to learn how your decisions could impact you and your family’s financial strategy and goals.

Sources:

Yellow Ribbon Program Frequently Asked Questions – Academic Year 2023-2024 – Education and Training (va.gov)

VA Loans: The Complete Guide to Eligibility, Rates and Benefits (veteransunited.com)

VA Dependent & Survivor Education Benefits | Military OneSource

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by LPL Marketing Solutions

LPL Tracking # 546643

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