Our Veterans and Their Benefits:

Is it worth the Cost?

There are many benefits out there to help veterans get on their feet, stay on their feet and prosper in this world after leaving military service. Some benefits most people are aware of while other benefits are not only hard to get for the veteran; most people are unaware of them all together. As a veteran myself, I am learning the ins and outs of the VA system as I continue to seek self-improvement.

So lets first mention the benefits most people are aware of, such as education benefits like the Post 9–11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill, health benefits from a VA Hospital or VA outpatient clinic, and VA compensation for disabilities occurred while in service . The Post 9–11 GI bill pays your tuition depending are what percentage you’re entitled to, pays a book stipend up to $1000 per year, and provides a monthly housing allowance dependent on the are in which you go to school. According to the VA website, all you have to do to get the Post 9–11 GI Bill is serve in the Armed Forces for 90 days or more after September 11, 2001. The Montgomery GI Bill is very similar to the Post 9–11 except you have to pay $1200 into the program and there is no book stipend or housing allowance. VA Compensation is basically a claim that the service member applied for because they were injured and the VA will compensate them for it using a rating scale of 0% to 100% in increments of 10%. Some of the less know benefits are the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program (VR&E), the Unemployability Program, and the Independent Living Program. These programs are designed for veterans who have a VA disability rating of 10% or more. Many veterans have the misconception about VR&E that it is an education program. While education is a route that may be taken the overall mission of the VR&E is sustainable employment for the veteran. A veteran who applies for the unemployablity program either has one disability rated at 50% or combined ratings of 70% or greater. This program is designated for a veteran who can not find or maintain suitable employment. If excepted into this program a veteran will be paid at the 100% disabled rate even though they are only calculated at 70%.

These men and women devoted their life to our country protecting the very freedom of all American citizens. However, when I see a homeless person on the street with a sign that states they are a disabled veteran I just shake my head because there are so many options for them. The biggest issue is many veterans are unaware of the benefits that are available to them. For instance, I personally use or have used many of VA benefits such as the Post 9–11 GI Bill, VA Medical care and I receive compensation each month for my knees, back, and a few other issues that cause me problems from serving in the military.

Are these benefits worth the cost? When I think about it, and I may be biased, but it is definitely worth the cost. Consider the cost of which it takes to take care of a veteran for the rest of his or her life versus the cost of your freedom. To me there is no real comparison. We could be living under laws where a person can be persecuted for having an opinion other than the opinion of the country if it was not for these men and women who protected our freedoms. Many of these men and women live in severe pain while others gave their lives so you and I can be free.