But veterans also have access to a host of valuable benefits throughout the year.
In November the VA relaunched its Web site to make it easier for veterans to determine the benefits for which they’re eligible.
Here’s a rundown of some of the best, offered through either government programs or national nonprofits:
Long-term care. Low-income veterans or their surviving spouses who are housebound or who need in-home help with “activities of daily” living, such as feeding themselves or getting dressed, may qualify for Housebound or Aid & Attendance, an increased monthly pension amount to help pay for such services.
The benefit is extremely valuable, starting at $881 per month for a housebound widow and going up to $2,127 per month for a couple that needs aid and attendance.
To apply, you’ll need proof, such as a doctor’s note, that you need such services.
Free counseling. The Soldiers Project offers free, unlimited mental health services for veterans. The organization matches veterans and service members with local therapists, for confidential, in-person sessions, with therapists who’ve been trained on military culture.
Financial coaching. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Service Member Affairs provides free financial coaching to veterans throughout the country. In addition to veterans, this service is available to inactive national guardsmen, reservists, and their immediate family members.
Financial coaches will work with you to make progress toward your financial goals, offering support, accountability and tools to help you achieve them. Find a local coach, or one who will meet with you online at FindMyFinancialCoach.com.
Guaranteed life insurance. You have up to eight months after leaving the service to enroll in Veterans Group Life Insurance to qualify for coverage without a health exam. The insurance last for your entire life, as long as you remain current on the premiums.
Workplace mentorship. American Corporate Partners pairs veterans with mentors from Fortune 500 companies for a yearlong program. The organization hand-matches mentors with mentees and provides resources to make the pairings successful.
ACP also offers a separate women’s mentoring program, pairing female veterans with women business leaders. Participants get access to networking events and career development workshops.
Additional college funding. If you’re attending a private college or an out-of-state school, the GI Bill may not cover all of your costs. You might, however, qualify for additional funds via the Yellow Ribbon program, in which hundreds of participating colleges offer extra financial assistance to eligible veterans.
The amount that schools agree to contribute varies greatly, from a thousand dollars to an unlimited amount. You can see if your school participates, and how much they might provide here.
Small business loans. The Small Business Administration has several programs aimed at helping veteran small business owners, including SBA Veterans Advantage Loans, which offer guarantees on fee-free loans for up to $350,000 via its SBA Express Loan program.
The loans are available to veterans, reservists and national guard members, their spouses, and widows of service members who died while in service or of a service-related disability. The SBA also provides business counseling and training.