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1. How do I apply for veterans benefits?
You can apply for veterans benefits three ways: online at eBenefits, in person at the closest VA regional office, or by mail when you complete VA Form 21-526. Before you apply, you need to gather and document the following information:
- dependency records (marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates),
- discharge and separation papers (DD-214 or equivalent),
- employment history (W-2, etc.),
- and medical evidence supporting your disability (doctor and hospital records).
2. Who is considered a veteran of the armed forces?
Any former service member is considered a veteran of the armed forces. You are still considered a veteran if you only served one day, and/or you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
3. Am I eligible for veterans benefits?
You may be eligible for veterans benefits if you are a:
- veteran or veteran’s dependant,
- surviving spouse, child, or parent of a deceased veteran,
- uniformed service member,
- or present or former reservist or National Guard member.
To be considered eligible for disability compensation as a veteran, you must have a service-related disability and be discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
4. How can I obtain a copy of my military records?
If you are a veteran or the next-of-kin of a veteran, you will most likely be able to obtain a free copy of your military records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). All military records are now filed with the NARA—not your local VA office.
- National Personnel Records Center
- 9700 Page Avenue
- St. Louis, Missouri 63132
- Fax: (314) 801-9195
5. Can I receive veterans benefits when I’m working?
Yes. Unless you are considered “unemployable,” you should be able work while receiving benefits. When you apply for benefits, the VA will determine if you are unemployable.
6. Am I eligible for veterans benefits when I’m receiving Social Security Disability benefits?
Yes. The benefits you receive from the VA are not considered income. The Social Security Administration will not factor veterans benefits into your total income, which means you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.