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Proposed Changes To The GI Bill – How Will They Affect Your Veterans Benefits?

The New Post 9/11 GI Bill has been in effect now for over a year and many returning service members are taking advantage of this well deserved benefit. In the American Council on Education report titled “Service Members in School: Military Veterans’ Experiences Using the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Pursuing Higher Education,” approximately 25% of the veterans polled stated that availability of funds from the New GI Bill was a determining factor in their decision to further their education. But despite the popularity of this benefit, legislators continue to seek means for improving and simplifying the sometimes confusing array of benefits created by the original GI Bill legislation.

Efforts are under way to reform and revise veterans educational benefits provided by the GI Bill. Both houses of congress are currently considering bills which aim to improve the current Title 38 – Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits. It is essential that all veterans familiarize themselves with this legislation and support our current and past service members. While this legislation is politically popular, support is beginning to fade due to cost estimates. Because this veterans benefit is considered an entitlement program lawmakers are bound by “pay as you go” rules. Raising additional taxes or cutting other mandated benefits will be a difficult task in the current political environment.

A version of the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010 (S.3447) (H.R.5933) was introduced in the Senate on 5/27/2010 and in the House of Representatives on 7/29/2010. These bills include similar provisions which seek to:

  • Include members of the National Guard and Reserve programs who were left out of the original GI Bill legislation.
  • Expand eligible education options to include non degree granting vocational training programs, apprentice, on the job and flight training.
  • Eliminate the confusion and unfair differences arising from state by state GI Bill benefits calculation for degree granting institutions.
  • Establish national averages for GI Bill benefits paid to non-degree granting institutions which are indexed to inflation.
  • Modify the living allowance rules to also help those that pursue and on-line degree.
  • Provide a book allowance for active duty military and their spouses.
  • Allow veterans with a service connected disability to continue receiving chapter 31 education benefits while also receiving any living allowance from chapter 33 for which they are eligible without having to use one or the other.
  • Modify the calculation of living allowance benefits to match the pace at which the education is pursued.
  • Ensure that one period of active duty cannot be used to determine eligibility for multiple educational programs.

As is always the case, bills are referred to committees which then hammer out the details and provide cost estimates. These bills have been referred to the respective Veterans Affairs Committees where there has been very little discernable action. Given the monumental public support of veterans and the GI Bill, it is certain that lawmakers will give these bills the attention they deserve. Overcoming the “pay as you go” obstacles will be a challenge but not one that is insurmountable. We encourage all who read this to contact their legislators and express support for efforts to improve the GI Bill and expand the opportunities our military veterans deserve.

Armed with this advice, review a list of veterans organizations that you might join to learn more about your GI Bill benefits including education benefits at VeteransOrganization.net. This site as well as the FREE Veterans Benefits Portal will provide all of the information you need to make informed decisions about your post military career.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5505095

Learn How to Get Your Fair Share of Assisted Living Veterans Benefits

Many veterans or their surviving spouse don’t know about or understand how to go about getting Assisted Living veterans benefits.

The simple truth is that most families think that they need to use a veteran’s home or nursing home run by the VA for a place for their aging veteran’ care. With this well-kept VA secret now finally beginning to get out among the general population it is important to know that every single Assisted Living facility is an option for your war-time veteran relative or friend.

This VA benefit often provides funds that help the veteran or their surviving spouse pay 50% up to even 100% of the Assisted Living facilities cost. Who knew that you could get paid a benefit from the VA to help you offset these expensive care costs.

For too long it was commonly thought that you needed to be wounded or have an immediate disability incurred during the veteran’s active duty.

It was too often understood or assumed that a veteran did not qualify for any VA benefits if their disabilities they face as they grow older did not have it’s origin from a documented active duty injury or wound.

This myth has been soundly busted.

WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans are now beginning to experience normal disabilities due to the natural aging process. Some of these difficulties are due to their active duty but many are not.

The non-service connected disability pension benefit from the VA does not require that the difficulties or disability that you are now experiencing be related to your active duty. Again, to be clear…it does not have to be service related.

What is this little-known VA benefit? It is officially called the “Improved Disability Pension Benefit”. Their are three monthly payment thresholds that are defined by:

  1. Income and Assets
  2. Housebound Status
  3. Need for assistance with activities of daily living

The third threshold entitles the recipient to an entitlement commonly called “Aid and Attendance”.A widowed surviving spouse of a qualified veteran (just 90 days of active duty with 1 day during an official stated period of war) is also eligible for this pension benefit.

For widowed surviving spouses it is officially called the “Improved Death Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance Entitlement”.

So, this “new” benefit you may be hearing about called the “Aid and Attendance Benefit” is really either the long-standing VA benefit no one every heard about called either the:

  • Non-Service Connected Disability Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance Entitlement (for veterans)

or the

  • Non-Service Connected Improved Death Pension Benefit with Aid and Attendance Entitlement (for un-remarried widowed surviving spouse of an qualified veteran)

Now, here is the best part.The award amount of this VA non-service connected benefit:

  1. A Veteran with a dependent (typically spouse) can get up to $23,388 per year, paid monthly at $1,949
  2. A Veteran with no dependents can receive up to $17,728 per year, paid monthly at $1,644
  3. An un-remarried widow surviving spouse can receive up to $12,684 per year, paid monthly at $1,057

Assisted Living Veterans Benefits QualificationsThere are five qualification criteria:

  1. When the veteran served with at least 90 days of active duty with a least 1 day during a stated time of war. (The veteran does not have to have seen action, serve overseas or be in a combat area to qualify)
  2. Must no longer be able to safely drive
  3. Must need assistance with activities of daily living
  4. Must have liquid assets less than $80 thousand. But, there is no look back if you need to do move assets out of the applicants name to meet this requirement. If you transfer excess assets today you are eligible tomorrow.
  5. The actual amount of the veterans benefit you can receive is based on a simple formula.

This last qualification criteria often confuses families looking to get the Veterans Benefits for Assisted Living.

Luckily, professional help is available to ensure a quick and proper approval from the VA for your loved one. Don’t let your fair share get improperly delayed or denied. Get the help you need. Veterans Care Advisors has developed an Aid and Attendance Handbook that walks families step-by-step through each step of the process. This Assisted Living Veterans Benefits Handbook can be found at VeteransCareAdvisors dot com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4062318

Details of a Veterans Loans

eBenefits.Va.Gov

Getting a loan could sometimes be a pain, especially if your credit is less than perfect. But if you are a veteran and need a loan, you have other options. As a veteran you have certain benefits that normal citizens don’t have, one of these is veterans’ loans. These loans are a way for the country to show the appreciation for what you’ve done, and can be very beneficial to ex-military personnel. Here are a few things you should know about these loans.eBenefits.Va.Gov

First off, your own time in the military will be considered when you apply for the VA loan. If you’ve served an adequate amount of time, usually between ninety and one hundred and eighty days of active duty, depending on the situation, you can qualify for the loan. Your form of discharge will also be considered. If you have the black mark of a dishonorable discharge, you’ll probably be declined in your loan request. The stipulations are not overly strict, but they are definitely there, so remember that when you make your request.

va-loansThe next important factor of any loan is your credit. With a traditional loan your credit score usually determines whether or not you can get the loan, and the rate of interest you’ll be paying. Veteran’s loans are a little bit different. Rather than looking at your overall score, they will look at the past twelve months of payments. If they were made in a timely fashion, chances are you’ll get a better rate and qualify more easily for the loan. Veterans’ loans are great ways to get the money you need if you’ve had financial difficulties in the past and are still suffering from the fallout.

eBenefits.Va.Gov

Another benefit of veterans’ loans is that you don’t have to give money down. So if you’re looking at a two hundred thousand dollar home and can’t make the ten percent down payment, you won’t have to. Also, you’ll save money because you won’t be paying a monthly insurance premium on the loan. Typical loans require this insurance because it enables the lending institution to get some of the money in the event of a default. As a veteran you are backed by the VA entitlement, which is simply a guarantee made by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs on part of your loan. If you decide to get a Veteran’s loan, make sure you ask about this guarantee.

Many veterans have benefited greatly from this type of loan. You may be next. Do a bit of research and compare the pros and cons of both loans, Veterans and traditional, you may just find that this will work better for your needs.

Low VA Rates http://www.lowvarates.com offers great Veterans Loans and mortgages. If you need a veterans loan, to refinance, or a home mortgage then look to us for your needs. Billings Farnsworth is a freelance writer.