There are a variety of benefits available to U.S. military veterans who received an honorable discharge. These benefits can include disability compensation, health care, home loans, vocational rehabilitation and employment, insurance, and pension.
While these benefits are the most common, other unique benefits are available for veterans with distinct needs, including those who faced extraordinary challenges during service. Below are some of the special veteran benefits provided by Veterans Affairs (VA).
Counseling to victims of sexual trauma
VA offers free counseling to veterans who suffered sexual trauma during their active military service. Military sexual trauma mainly results from any sexual activities that the veteran faced against their will. These include:
- Being overpowered to engage in sex
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Domestic battering
Victims of sexual trauma may face Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The common PSTD symptoms of victims of sexual trauma include feelings of fear or anxiety, problems with intimacy, flashbacks, emotional instability, and sleep disturbances.
Apart from counseling, VA provides additional support for victims of sexual trauma. These services may include treatments that help veterans cope with the impact of sexual trauma on their daily lives and in-depth therapy to discuss the trauma further.
Veterans requiring treatment related to military sexual trauma can contact their local VA Medical Center and request to talk to the military sexual trauma coordinator.
Health benefits for asbestos illness related to military service
Asbestos fibers that enter the body through breathing can cause harmful infections. These infections may escalate to asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Veterans suffering from asbestos-related infections can file a claim for disability compensation by contacting their local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
The VA requires veterans to prove that their infection is related to asbestos exposure during their active duty.
VA automobile and special adaptive equipment grants
VA provides grants to veterans with disabilities who wish to customize their car or purchase a specially adapted car to make the car suitable for safe driving. The available grants for buying a specially adapted automobile or for customizing the available vehicle include:
- VA Automobile Grant. These funds are available for veterans who want to purchase a new or used car.
- VA Automobile Special Adaptive Equipment Grant. This grant is available for veterans who have qualified for a VA Automobile Grant and suffer from knee or hip joint immobility related to their military service. The most common adaptive gears include extra-wide doors, adjustable foot pedals, seat adjusters, dashboard-mounted ignition, and support handles to assist with entry.
Veterans can apply for the grants through the local VA regional office by completing VA Form 21-4502; Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive Equipment.
Understanding your special benefits as a veteran
Active service members who experience trauma or become disabled as a result of their service may be able to take advantage of special programs that assist with daily activities after their service has ended. VA benefits can make a big difference in the quality of life outside of a military career.