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Where to Apply for VA Disabled Veteran Benefits

Do you know where to apply for important VA benefits including disability pay, healthcare, and related options? Do you know where to go to get VA healthcare? These are important questions, especially if you are new to VA benefits,

Unfortunately, applying for and using VA benefits isn’t a one-stop shopping type application.

Depending on your needs, you may need to complete multiple forms and submit them to the Department of Veterans Affairs. You may also need to find VA facilities near you to schedule appointments, evaluations, and tests.

Knowing where to find VA benefits can be just as helpful in the early days of your new benefits as knowing how to apply. We describe some of the most important programs and where to submit application info below.

Related: Veteran Benefits Guide

Apply for VA Disability Compensation

If you’re a veteran who became ill or injured while serving or a service member whose time in the military made an existing condition worse, the VA offers disability compensation which may apply to physical and mental health conditions that developed before, during, or after service.

You may be eligible if you currently have an injury or illness and served in the military on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. You must also meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • You have an in-service disability claim—while serving, you became injured or sick and can link your condition to your time in the military (called an in-service disability claim), or;
  • You have a pre-service disability claim—you suffered injury or illness before serving, and serving made it worse, or;
  • You have a post-service disability claim—your disability relates to your active active-duty service but didn’t appear.

For more eligibility information, visit the agency’s Eligibility for Disability Benefits page.  You can also begin a VA disability claim online at the official site.

Apply for VA Health Care Services

According to the VA’s website, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is “the largest integrated health care system in the United States, providing care at 1,321 health care facilities, including 172 VA Medical Centers and 1,138 outpatient sites of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics).”

You may be eligible for VA health services if you meet the following requirements:

  • You enlisted after September 7, 1980, or;
  • You entered active duty after October 16, 1981

Applicants must have 24 concurrent months in active service or served the full period for which they  were called to active duty unless one of the following is true;

  • You were discharged for a disability that was made worse or caused by your active-duty service or
  • You were discharged with an “early out,” or hardship, or
  • You served before September 7, 1980.

There is more information on the VA’s website regarding eligibility for current or former members of the National Guard and Reserves, Vietnam War vets who served during specific locations and time periods and those exposed to toxins or other hazards while on active duty.

Find a VA healthcare center or facility near you at the Veterans Health Administration site or use the VA Facility Locator

Apply for VA PTSD Benefits

Service members and veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of a traumatic event they experienced during military service may be eligible for PTSD disability compensation.

You may be eligible for PTSD disability compensation if your symptoms occurred in relation to a traumatic event and or the event is related to your symptoms and you meet both of  the following factors:

  • The traumatic event occurred during your service, and
  • You have a PTSD diagnosis from a doctor.

The VA considers the following as traumatic events:

  • You suffered personal or sexual trauma, sexual violation, or a serious injury;
  • You were threatened with injury, sexual assault, or death

For more information on compensation and immediate help with PTSD, visit the VA’s PTSD Treatment page. You can also find a PTSD program at a VA facility near you.

Related: Veteran Benefits Guide

Apply for VA Employment and Transition to Civilian Life Services

There are transition services are offered through the VA and other government agencies to help disabled veterans move into civilian life and find jobs.

The VA’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides service members with everything that they need to prepare for civilian life. They begin the program one year before separation or two years prior to retiring.

Applicants will take a VA Benefits and Services course. This one-day, in-person program helps military members navigate the VA’s offerings. It includes real-life examples and interactive exercises and covers everything from family support and disability compensation to education and healthcare.

Learn more about VA TAP options at the VA official site.

Veteran Readiness and Employment

The VA also offers Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) services to assist vets with education, job training, coaching, and resume development.

Other services include helping service members when starting their own businesses or providing independent living services for those unable to work in traditional employment with severe disability.

Learn how to apply for  Veteran Readiness and Employment  options at the VA official site.

Where to Apply for VA Home Loans

The VA’s Home Loan program allows qualifying service members including disabled veterans to get competitive rates on home loans with little or no down payment. It offers three types of loans for service members on active duty, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and some surviving spouses:

  • A VA Purchase Loan helps eligible applicants to buy a home at a competitive interest rate, without making a downpayment or buying mortgage insurance to obtain the loan.
  • The VA’s Streamline Refinance Loan (aka, an “Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan” or IRRRL) allows applicants to get a lower interest rate by refinancing an existing VA loan. Eligible service members can also refinance a VA adjustable rate mortgage into a fixed rate mortgage.
  • A Cash-Out Refinance Loan  allows servicemembers to cash out home equity. With it, you can pay other debts or make home improvements. It can also be used for refinancing a non-VA loan into a VA loan.

VA loan options for disabled veterans include the option to apply for housing grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs to adapt a home or buy an adapted home (see below.)

For more information, visit the VA’s Home Loans page. Applying for a VA loan must be done using a participating lender.

VA Adaptive Housing Grants

The VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant is an important supplement to the VA home loan benefit. Veterans with qualifying disabilities may apply for VA grants  to buy or renovate a home to make it more accessible via a Specially Adapted Housing grant. To be eligible both factors must be true:

  • You own the home or will own the home, and;
  • Have a qualifying, service-connected disability, which can include the loss or loss of use of at least one limb, the loss or loss of use of a lower leg with last effects from a disease or injury, blindness (both eyes), some severe burns, loss or loss of use of a leg or foot following September 11, 2001, in which the service member can’t walk or balance without braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
  • In some cases a doctor’s recommendation or prescription for adaptive technology may be required.
  • You do not have to have a VA home loan to apply for these grants.

Learn how to apply at the VA’s Housing Assistance page and its Home Improvements and Structural Alterations page. 

Vehicle Allowance and Adaptive Equipment

Vets and service members who have service-connected disabilities can also get money to help them buy or change a vehicle so they can remain mobile. They can receive:

  • A one-time payment for the purchase of a specially equipped vehicle or
  • One or more adaptive equipment grants to alter a vehicle with lift equipment or power steerings, seats, brakes, and windows.

To be eligible, you must have a service-connected disability with at least one of these conditions:

  • You have loss, or permanent loss of use, of at least one foot or;
  • You have loss, or permanent loss of use, of at least one hand or;
  • You have decreased vision in both eyes that is permanent or;
  • You have severe burn injuries, or;
  • You have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or;
  • You have ankylosis in at least one knee or hip (this qualifies you only for an adaptive-equipment grant.)

Learn about your application options using the VA’s Automotive Allowance and Adoptive Equipment page.

Where to Apply for VA Life insurance

Some eligible service-disabled veterans can still receive low-cost insurance coverage through the VA’s S-DVI, but it stopped taking new applications at the end of 2022. Those who already have S-DVI can keep it. For more information about S-DVI, visit the VA’s Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance page.

The VA began accepting applications for its Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife) program on January 1, 2023. To be eligible, if you are 80 years old or younger, you must have a VA service-connected disability rating. If you are 81 or older, all of the following factors must be true:

  • Before you turned 81, you applied for disability compensation through the VA for a
    service-connected disability, and
  • After turning 81, you received a service-connected disability rating, and
  • You applied for VALife within two years of notification of your disability rating.

For more information, visit the VALife page on the VA’s website. 

Where to Apply for VA Housebound, Aid and Attendance Benefits

The VA’s Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits program provides payments in addition to the agency’s monthly pension for qualified veterans and survivors who are housebound and need help with daily activities.

If you get a VA pension and meet at least one of the following requirements, you may be eligible:

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, such as bathing, eating and dressing, or
  • You must stay in bed or spend a large portion of the day there due to illness, or
  • You are in a nursing home due to the loss of physical or mental abilities related to a disability, or
  • You have limited eyesight as determined by the VA.

You may be eligible for housebound benefits if you have a VA pension and spend most of your time in the home due to a permanent disability. Applicants cannot receive Aid and Attendance benefits and VA Housebound benefits at the same time.

Learn how to apply for Aid and Attendance Benefits at VA.gov

Related: Veteran Benefits Guide

About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.