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Benefits for service members, vets and family

A list of federal benefits offered to GIs, former and current, and their dependents if injured or killed while serving their country.
/ Source: NBC, msnbc.com and news services

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a wide range of benefits for veterans, service members and their families who were injured or killed during military service. Here’s a bulleted list of what is offered:

Deceased military and their families
Service members that have lost their life during combat.

  • Service member is entitled to a military funeral paid for by the military or the military will pay $4,325 for a civilian funeral.
  • Service member’s family receives $12,000 death gratuity check within 72 hours of death.
  • Payment from service member’s military life insurance — only if the service member signed up and paid for it — up to $250,000.
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments may be available for surviving spouses who have not remarried, unmarried children under 18, helpless children, those between 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school, and low-income parents of deceased service members or veterans.
  • Spouse and dependents can stay up to 1 year on a military base until they find permanent housing.
  • Spouses and dependent children (age 18 to 26 years) of deceased service member or 100 percent disabled service member are eligible for VA educational assistance, provided the veteran's death or disability was service-connected — up to 45 months.

Injured service members — active duty
These are service members that are still in the military but have received injuries during combat.

  • Free medical care for injuries suffered in combat at any military hospital.
  • A broad range of counseling services.Retraining to another military specialty may be possible.

Injured service members — medically retired
Service members that have received injuries so severe that they have to be released from active duty.

  • Free lifetime health care for the medical problem at a VA facility. (If the disability is 50 percent or higher, total health care is covered for the service member. If 40 percent or lower, service-connected injury is taken care of. Veteran makes a co-payment for other health care needs.)
  • Disability pay for the injury for life. (Payment is based on severity of the injury.)

Injured service members — medically discharged
Service members who have achieved less than 20 years in the military that have received service-related injuries.

  • Veterans can receive $108 to $2,299 depending on percentage of disability — any veteran who receives a disability of 30 percent or higher is entitled to additional money for dependents.
  • Some severely disabled vets are eligible for a special monthly compensation of $6,576 a month. Dependents of veterans that are permanently disabled are eligible for educational benefits.
  • Health care for service-connected disability — VA can contract to outside hospitals if they cannot take care of veteran’s needs.
  • Disabled veterans may be entitled to a grant from VA for a home specially adapted to their needs or for adaptations to a house.