Most veterans are eligible for medical care benefits, disability compensation benefits, home loan guaranty benefit, and education benefits. Each benefit must be filed for separately. The specific nature of your benefits is determined per your length of service, when you served, enlistment options, and character of discharge. Most of theses benefits have a very straightforward application process as follows:
How to apply for VA benefits: healthcare. File VA Form 10-10EZ online, in person at your nearest VA healthcare facility, by mail. The VA.gov website best explains the process at https://www.va.gov/health-care/how-to-apply/.
How to apply for VA benefits: education. Due to the many types of educational benefits and your exact life circumstances, determining your specific benefits can be a complicated process. File VA Form 22-1990 on-line, in person at your nearest VBA regional office, or by mail. The VA.gov website best explains the process at https://www.va.gov/education/.
How to apply for VA benefits: home loan guaranty. VA loans are obtained through a lender of your choice once you obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). A COE can be obtained through eBenefits, by mail, and often through your lender. To apply by mail, fill out a Request for a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880) and mail it to the address listed on the form. The VA.gov website best explains the process at https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/how-to-apply/.
How to apply for VA benefits: disability compensation. File VA Form 21-526EZ on-line, in person in person at your nearest VBA regional office, or by mail. Although the application process is straight forward, obtaining an approval for disability compensation is often very difficult. The disability compensation benefit is dependent on the medical evidence in service and post service medical records. The VA.gov website explains the basic process at https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/.
Realistically, veterans need to carefully plan to ensure the they receive their disability benefits as follows:
- Step 1: file the intent to file form VA Form 21-0966. This form actually starts an effective date for the next claim filed. A veteran has one year to file the actual claim and maintain an effective per the intent to file application.
- Step 2: obtain a current diagnosis for the claimed condition. For a condition to be current the diagnosis cannot be more than one year old. Watch current diagnosis video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qYowSDzM_M.
- Step 3: in many cases a detailed statement is required noting in service symptoms. Watch statement video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecTssZ3KVR0&t=1.
- Step 4: often it is best to obtain a medical nexus opinion before the claim is filed. Watch nexus video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAn3hRvmSN8&t=1s.
- Watch video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Tflf7NTxI for a full explanation of the claim process and how to identify disability claims.