By: Bruce C. Brown
When soldiers and sailors prepare to leave the service or loved ones deal with the loss of a service member, they need something to help them wade through their rights and benefits while they’re dealing with a heavy emotional impact.
In most cases, veterans (or family of a veteran) are not aware of the many benefits they are entitled to. As a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, it has become my personal crusade to educate the millions of veterans on what they are entitled to. Entitled is the key word. After serving in our armed forces, veterans have earned and are entitled to certain benefits, many of which are obscure or not well advertised. As a member of the armed forces for nearly 26 years, nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing every serviceman or servicewoman who is preparing to depart the military or any family member whose loved ones have been wounded or killed in action receive their maximum benefits. In these cases, they are entitled to special benefits based on their loved ones service to our country, yet many do not know about these entitlements.
For example, the new Post 9/11 GI Bill can pay for a four-year college degree and a housing allowance for a veteran who served at least 36 months of active duty. This incredible benefit can even be transferred to the veteran’s wife or children. I took advantage of this incredible benefit, and my son is now attending law school at the University of Texas using my VA benefit at no cost to me. He not only gets 100% tuition payments, but a monthly housing stipend and book allowances as well. The fact is that many veterans are not familiar with this and the many other programs out there to help.
Health care is currently a raging topic across the political platform, but the TRICARE program is regionally managed health care program specific for veterans, those currently in active duty and their families and survivors. The key thing to not is that you are not automatically enrolled in TRICARE; veterans must enroll themselves in this program to get these benefits.
Specifically, the War on Terrorism has left many veterans disabled or medically retired. This is a difficult adjustment to make when returning to home soil, and there are benefits established to help these veterans adjust to a new lifestyle. For example, you may qualify for up top $3,100 in monthly benefits as well as travel reimbursement for mileage or public transportation.
In the past, military members would rely on information passed at retirement briefings, through scuttlebutt or by spending hours searching the VA Web site for benefits. That is why I wanted to write Returning From the Way on Terrorism. (Don’t let the title fool you: This is much more than a book for those returning from war.) Now, everything is captured and indexed in one place so you can find exactly what you need and it is packed with factual, practical information.
I hope that my 26 years of military service and the effort I put into writing this book will help other military veterans and their families to ensure they receive the entitlements they deserve.
Click here if you’d like more information about Returning From the War on Terrorism and military benefits.
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