Wednesday October 22, 2014
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Veterans Services

The Veterans Service Office processes claims for the following:

  • Disabilities Compensation (Service Connected)
  • Disabilities Pension (Non-Service Connected)
  • Educational Benefits
  • Insurance (Life)
  • Death and Burial Benefits
  • Health Care (Hospital, Clinic, Nursing Home)
  • State Veterans Benefits

Disability Compensation
Monetary benefits known as disability compensation are paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The service of the veteran must have been terminated through separation or discharged under conditions that were other than dishonorable. Disability compensation varies with the number of dependents, and is paid monthly. The payment of military retirement pay and separation known as SSB and VSI (Special Separation Benefits and Voluntary Separation Incentives) also affects the amounts of VA compensation paid.

Pension
Veterans with low income may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, one day of which was during a period of war. The discharge from active duty must have been under conditions other than dishonorable. The veteran must be permanently and totally disabled for reasons not traceable to willful misconduct. Payments are made to qualified veterans to bring their total income, including other retirement or may be reduced by unreimbursed medical expenses. Pension is not payable to those who have assets that can be used to provide adequate maintenance.

Home Loan Guaranties
VA guarantees loans made to service members, veterans, reservists and un-remarried eligible surviving spouses for the purchases or refinancing of homes, condominiums and manufactured homes. VA guarantees part of the total loan, permitting the purchaser to obtain a mortgage with a competitive interest rate, even without a down payment if the lender agrees. The VA requires a down payment for the purchase of a manufactured home. VA also requires a down payment for a home or condo if the purchase price exceeds the reasonable value of the property or the loan has a graduated payment feature. With a VA guaranty, if the borrower fails to repay the loan, the VA will pay the loan up to the guaranteed amount. A VA loan guaranty can be used: (1) to buy a home; (2) buy a residential condominium; (3) build a home; (4) repair, alter or improve a home; (5) refinance an existing home loan; (6) buy a manufactured home with or without a lot; (7) purchase and improve a home; (8) buy and improve a manufactured home lot; (9) refinance an existing VA loan; (10) install a solar, heating or cooling system, weatherization or other improvements; and (11) refinance a manufactured home loan to acquire a lot.

Eligibility: Applicants must have a good credit rating, have an income sufficient to support mortgage payments, and agree to live in the property. To obtain a VA certificate of eligibility, complete VA Form 26-1880, "Request for Determination of Eligibility and Available Loan Guaranty Entitlement", and submit to the nearest VA Regional Office. The Veterans Service Office will be glad to assist you in this process.

Education and Training
The Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty) provides a program of education benefits to individuals who enter active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985 and receive an honorable discharge. Active duty includes full-time National Guard duty performed after November 29, 1989. Members of the Army and Air Force National Guard who enlisted between June 9, 1985 and November 29, 1989 had to decide before July 9, 1997 to participate in the Montgomery GI Bill. To receive the maximum benefit, the participant must serve three years. An individual may also qualify for the full benefit by initially serving two continuous years on active duty, followed by four years of Selected Reserve service, beginning within one year of release of active duty.

Eligibility: To participate in the Montgomery GI Bill, service members must have their military pay reduced by $100 per month for the first twelve months of active duty. This money is not refundable. The participant must have a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate before the first period of active duty ends. Completing twelve (12) credit hours toward a college degree also meets the requirement. Individuals who initially serve a continuous period of at least three years of active duty, even though they were initially obligated to serve less, will be paid the maximum benefit. Benefits under this program generally end ten years from the date the service member leaves active duty. Extensions may be granted, however, under certain circumstances. Those requesting an extension should apply for such, providing a very sound reason why their education could not be completed within the 10-year timeframe. A veteran whose discharge was upgraded by the military will have ten years from the date of the upgrade. top

Vocational Rehabilitation
A disabled veteran may receive employment assistance, self-employment assistance, training in a rehabilitation facility, college or other training. Severely disabled veterans may receive assistance to improve their ability to live independently.

Eligibility:Veterans and service members are eligible for vocational rehabilitation if they:
(1) suffered a service connected disability or disabilities in active service and are receiving at least 20% compensation or would if not for receiving military retirement pay (veterans with a 10% disability may also be eligible if found to have a serious employment handicap); or 
(2) were discharged or released under other than dishonorable conditions or are hospitalized awaiting separation for a service connected disability and need vocational rehabilitation to overcome an employment handicap caused by their service connected disability.

Insurance
There are two regular and two disabled insurance programs currently available for new policyholders:

(1) Service Members Group Life Insurance – open to active duty members of the uniformed services. 
(2) Veterans’ Group Life Insurance – available to individuals released from active duty after August 1, 1974 and to reservists. 
(3) Service Disabled Insurance – available for veterans with service connected disabilities. 
(4) Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance – provides mortgage like insurance for veterans granted specially adapted housing grants.

Burial Benefits
(In National Cemeteries): Veterans, service members and dependents are eligible for burial in a VA National Cemetery. Burial benefits include the gravesite, headstone or marker, grave opening and closing, and perpetual care. 

Eligible veterans must have been discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and have completed the required period of service. Persons entitled to retired pay as a result of 20 years creditable service with a reserve component are eligible. U. S. citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in a war may also be eligible. A 1997 law bars any veteran convicted of a federal or state capital crime from being buried or memorialized in one of the VA National Cemeteries. Headstones or markers are available to memorialize eligible veterans or deceased service-members whose remains were not recovered or identified, buried at sea, donated to science, or cremated and scattered. The headstone or marker is the same as that used to identify a grave, except the mandatory phrase "In Memory Of" which precedes the inscription. The memorial marker may be provided for placement in a cemetery other than a National Cemetery. In such a case, VA supplies the marker and pays the cost of shipping, but does not pay for the plot or the placement of the marker. Only a relative recognized as the next of kin may apply for a headstone or marker.

Nursing Home Care
North Carolina now has its first Veterans State Nursing Home, located at 214 Cochran Avenue in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Nursing care in a VA or private nursing home may be provided for veterans who are not acutely ill and not in need of hospitalization. If space and resources are available in VA facilities, the VA may provide nursing home care. Veterans who have a service-connected disability are given first priority for nursing home care. The following may be provided nursing home care with an income eligibility assessment:

• Veterans with service-connected disabilities. 
• Veterans who were exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam 
• Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing or in the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
• Veterans with a condition related to an environmental exposure in the Persian Gulf. 
• Veterans of the Mexican border period of World War I who are eligible for Medicaid.

Non-service connected veterans and zero-percent, noncompensable service-connected veterans requiring nursing home care for any non-service connected disability must submit an income eligibility form 10-10F. VA will determine whether they will be billed for nursing home care.

VA also offers Domiciliary Care which provides rehabilitative and long-term health maintenance care for veterans who require minimal medical care but who do not need the skilled nursing services provided in nursing homes. Income is considered when applying for domiciliary care. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may determine a veteran with no adequate means of support can also receive domiciliary care.

Agent Orange Registry
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

Veteran Health Administration
Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1710 (formerly 610), provides for health care only to veterans exposed to herbicides in Vietnam. Health care services may not be provided under this authority for the care of conditions that are found to have resulted from a cause other than the specified exposures. This authority provides for health care only, the determination that the veteran is eligible for such care does not constitute a basis for service-connect or in any way affect determinations regarding service-connection. Vietnam Era veterans exposed to phenoxy herbicides outside the Vietnam Theater of War are not eligible for health care under this authority. Individuals who served as civilians in Vietnam, are not eligible for health care under this authority unless they also served as a member of the Armed Forces in Vietnam during the Vietnam Conflict. Since the establishment of this program approximately 1,050 Vietnam veterans have received examinations at this facility.

Veterans that served in the Republic of Vietnam that desire to have their name placed on the Agent Orange Registry must have an examination completed. To schedule an Agent Orange Registry examination contact Troy L. Graggs or Belinda Johnson by calling (919) 286-0411, extension 6257. An examination will be scheduled with our Environment Physician Assistant, Robert Osman, P.A.

Eligibility Criteria
A veteran, male or female, who had active military service in the Republic of Vietnam between 1962 and 1975 expressing a concern relating to exposure to herbicides, is encouraged to participate in the Agent Orange Registry Program which includes a thorough medical examination.

Veterans who did not serve in Vietnam are not eligible for the Agent Orange examination. Exposure to Agent Orange or any of the other classes of herbicides used elsewhere, other than Vietnam, does not confer eligibility for purposes of the Agent Orange Registry. Such individuals may have been permanently assigned elsewhere during the period of the Vietnam Conflict, i.e., Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, at sea, etc., however the crucial factor is that the individual was physically present in Vietnam.

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