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Veterans’ Resources & Benefits

June 09, 2015, 06:57 AM

With the number of senior veterans in the US aged 65+ years exceeding 12.4 million and growing, many aging veterans find themselves in need of assistance in paying for and receiving long term care. In addition to government sponsored long term care assistance called Aid & Attendance, elderly and disabled veterans may also require help when it comes to the other areas of life such as housing, meals, insurance, and burial arrangements. Thankfully, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has many programs, pensions, and funds with billions of dollars in resources to help veterans not only transition back into civilian society, but to thrive as well.

Image Source (CC BY 2.0) by dvids via flickr

Life Insurance

Active, discharged, and disabled veterans and their families are eligible for subsidized life insurance policies under the auspices of Prudential’s Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) program. Established as part of the Veterans’ Insurance Act in 1974, the program covers eligible veterans who previously held Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI). Learn more about the VA life insurance program, eligibility, and find out how to apply by consulting this convenient chart.

Tax Counseling & Return Preparation

For low-income, disabled, and elderly veterans, free tax preparation is available through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The program consists of volunteers across the country who donate their time and expertise at various sites, typically public institutions like community centers and libraries. Volunteers are IRS-certified to help veterans properly fill out forms and submit by e-filing. In addition to the VITA program, senior veterans (age 60+) can also take advantage of the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program which focuses on helping with common tax issues affecting older veterans such as retirement, pension, and social security questions. Find a VITA and TCE site near you by visiting the IRS website.

Housing Assistance, Mortgages, and Loans

Nearly 12% of the adult homeless population in the United States are veterans. For homeless and at-risk veterans, the VA Supportive Housing program has partnered with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-VASH) to provide housing vouchers and subsidized housing across the country. In addition, supportive and transitional housing is available for veterans in need of shelter as well as crisis intervention, case management, and counseling from the Grant and Per Diem Program. To learn about HUD-VASH eligibility and housing and care option, consult this comprehensive guide.

Along with housing assistance for homeless and at-risk veterans, the VA also provides home purchase and refinancing loans. Though negotiated and provided by private lenders, the program allows for favorable terms like reduced or no penalty fees, limits on closing costs, and once a veteran has been approved, the VA will guarantee a portion of it. In addition to loans and refinancing, the VA makes available veteran-loaned properties that have been foreclosed for below market value. These houses in federal inventory are known as VA REO, Veterans Affairs Real Estate Owned, and can be financed via the VA Vendee Financing Program for even greater savings.

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