1. TWS Blog
  2. Military Medley
  3. VA Guidance Articles
  4. VA Updates: Most Popular Veteran Benefits Don’t Expire

VA Updates: Most Popular Veteran Benefits Don’t Expire

A recent article in a Veteran-focused publication had the headline, “Did you know many of your benefits have an expiration date?” It gave the misleading impression to many that the benefits they have earned from military service could evaporate or disappear. This is inaccurate.

The most popular Veteran benefits have no expiration date. As I explain below, you can apply at any point and are not time-bound.

Three Most Popular Veteran Benefits

For these benefits, there are important dates to remember. However, if you miss those dates, you will be inconvenienced, but these benefits are still available to you, providing you qualify.

Let’s start with the three most popular benefits:
•    Disability Compensation
•    Home Loan Guaranty
•    Education/GI Bill

Disability Compensation

Disability compensation is a tax-free monthly payment based on an injury or disability that occurred during service. A Veteran completes an application, referred to as a claim. Accompanying this claim is information about one’s service and medical conditions. VA evaluates the claim and grants or denies benefits.

A disability compensation claim can be filed as early as 180 days prior to completion of active duty and throughout the remainder of a Veteran’s life. In short, there is no expiration date for disability compensation. Many Veterans file multiple claims throughout their life as new conditions are identified or previously identified conditions worsen. This is called a claim for an increase; there is no limit on how often this can be done.

There are two important dates to keep in mind relative to disability compensation. The first concerns the Intent to File. In advance of actually applying for disability compensation, you can complete an Intent to File form. This tells the VA you will file in the next year and preserves the effective day (i.e., the date on which benefits will begin). For example, a Veteran completes an Intent to File form establishing February 1, 2024, as his/her effective date. After collecting all the needed information and forms, benefits are granted on December 1, 2024. The first payment would include a retroactive payment reflecting payment from February 1. 

If you fail to submit an application in one year, the effective date identified by the Intent to File is lost. You are still eligible to possibly receive benefits, but your effective date is changed to a more current date.

Another date becomes important if you decide to appeal your disability compensation decision. You may appeal that decision if you believe your claim was denied inappropriately or if too low a benefit was awarded. Importantly, you have one year from the date of that decision to appeal. If you miss that date, you will have to file another claim. Again, your eligibility for benefits doesn’t expire; the process will be longer.

Home Loan Guaranty

Home Loan Guaranty allows Veterans to purchase a home with no money down. This is a tremendous advantage over our civilian counterparts, who must save for a downpayment prior to purchasing a home. Subject to restrictions, this can be used to purchase a mobile home or farm residence.

There is no time restriction on this benefit. It can be used repeatedly by Veterans as they move and purchase new homes. 

Education/GI Bill

Education/GI Bill. Honorable military service provides a powerful education benefit often referred to as the GI Bill. Serve for three years and earn four years of free college. It can also be used for high-tech apprenticeships, advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math training, and credentials and certificates.

In 2017, a new law, often called the Forever GI Bill, was introduced. If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, this benefit will never expire – hence the name.

One area where the article had it right involves the education benefit if your service ended prior to January 1, 2013. If your service ended prior to being eligible for the Forever GI Bill, you may qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill for active duty or reservists. Each of these has an expiration date, so check those dates carefully at VA.gov.

Veterans benefits are an important part of the rewards for military service. As you can see, however, there are many benefits, and each has its own rules and processes. The best time to learn about your benefits is well before applying for them. In this way, you can understand and access them most appropriately for your pursuit of the American Dream.

About the Author Paul R. Lawrence

Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D., served as Under Secretary of Benefits at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from May 2018 to January 2021. He is the author of “Veterans Benefits for You: Get what You Deserve,” available from Amazon.

Read About Other VA Updates

If you enjoyed learning about most popular veteran benefits, we invite you to read the stories of VA Updates on our blog. In addition to our profiles of celebrities who served, we share military book reviews, veterans’ service reflections, famous military units and more on the TogetherWeServed.com blog. If you are a veteran, find your military buddies, view historic boot camp photos, build a printable military service plaque, and more on TogetherWeServed.com today.



Tags: Disability compensation, Education/GI Bill, famous military units, Home Loan Guaranty, military book reviews, Paul R. Lawrence, VA Updates, veterans’ service reflections


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *