Veterans Benefits Practice Center

Many veterans of today's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental or emotional disorders. If you or your loved one is struggling to receive appropriate medical care and mental-health support through the VA, a veterans' benefit lawyer may be able to assist you.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Veterans' Benefits

Q: How do we take care of our military veterans and their families?

A: The federal United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the main responsibility for care of our veterans and their families, as well as their survivors. The VA provides a wide variety of monetary and other benefits including disability benefits and pensions, burial and cemetery services, vocational and small business services, medical and dental care, nursing home services, mental-health and substance-abuse treatment, education benefits, home-loan guaranties and other types of benefits and services. Additional state-financed benefits and services may be available through state veterans' affairs agencies.

Q: Stories have surfaced in the media about delays in obtaining VA benefits and services, as well as inadequate VA medical facilities and care.

A: Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, overwhelming issues have developed in the delivery of VA benefits and services. News accounts are common of substandard medical care in VA facilities, intolerable delays in processing benefit applications, long waits for medical appointments and treatment, inadequate mental-health care and other grim problems. Late in 2007, Congress passed and the president signed an appropriations bill providing even more VA funding than the president had requested. The newly appropriated money will increase medical, mental-health and substance-abuse treatment; decrease veterans' claim backlogs by hiring more case workers; improve VA infrastructure; and help homeless veterans, among other things.

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Veterans' Benefits - An Overview

According to its website, the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves about 26 million military veterans and their families, with most veterans having served the country in wars or other periods of hostility. The VA also provides assistance to certain surviving family members of deceased veterans. If you are a veteran or the family member or survivor of a veteran and you are having trouble obtaining VA benefits, a veterans' benefit attorney such as one at Johnston Law Offices P.C. in Edwardsville, IL, can help you find your way out of what can seem like a maze.

The Big Picture

The magnitude of providing appropriate care and services to the nation's military veterans presents many challenges, especially in an era of limited government spending. Data from the VA Web site tells the daunting story:

  • The existence of approximately 26 million veterans, combined with their family members and dependents and the survivors of deceased veterans, means one-quarter of the US population are receiving or may be eligible for some type of VA benefit.
  • Government support obligations can last decades. Incredibly, a few descendants of Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans are still receiving benefits.

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The History of U.S. Veterans' Benefits

The federal Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing benefits and services to our veterans, their families and survivors. According to its website, the mission of the VA is "to serve America's veterans and their families with dignity and compassion and to be their principal advocate in ensuring that they receive medical care, benefits, social support, and lasting memorials promoting the health, welfare, and dignity of all veterans in recognition of their service to this nation."

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What Benefits Can the Modern U.S. Veteran Expect?

Several different types of benefits are currently available to United States military veterans. The federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers a wide range of benefits and services for veterans and their families and survivors. If you are having trouble securing veterans' benefits, a veterans' benefits attorney can help answer your questions.

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Problems Encountered by Veterans Seeking Assistance

Part of the appeal of military service for today's soldier is the promise and expectation that he or she will be well taken care of by the government after military service ends. Many young people assume the quality care and services reportedly received by their grandparents and great-grandparents who served in World War II are still available from the VA in our day. Unfortunately, recent events have not borne these assumptions out.

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Appealing Denials of Veterans' Benefits

The process for obtaining veterans' benefits through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was originally meant to be non-adversarial and friendly to veterans and their families. New applications by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their family members have increased both the numbers and the complexity of claims pending before the VA, resulting in long delays and a higher likelihood of mistaken denials. If you are facing an uphill battle with the VA to get benefits that are rightfully yours as a veteran or a veteran's family member or survivor, a veterans' benefits attorney can help you sort out the legal issues.

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Veterans' Benefits Resource Links

United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The primary federal governmental entity responsible for monetary benefits, healthcare services, burial benefits and other important programs for US military veterans. Formerly called the Veterans Administration.

VA Education Programs
Details about the six VA education programs, collectively referred to as the GI Bill.

The Veterans' Appeals Process
VA pamphlet explaining the appeal and review of VA claims.

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The VA's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NCPTSD), providing detailed information about PTSD and trauma for veterans, their families and medical professionals.

Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents
Comprehensive booklet detailing programs and services of the VA.

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