Eligibility for most federal and state benefits is based on discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the public health service, the Environmental Services Administration, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Current and former members of the Selected Reserve may be eligible for certain benefits, such as home loan guaranties and education, if they meet time-in-service and other criteria. Men and women veterans with similar service are entitled to the same federal and state veterans benefits.

Wartime Service
World War I: April 6, 1917 through Nov 11, 1918
  • for veterans who served in Russia

April 6, 1917 through July 1, 1921

April 6, 1917 through Nov 11, 1918
  • for veterans who had at least one
    day of service
World War II: Dec 7, 1941 through Dec 31, 1946
Korean War: June 27, 1950 through Jan 31, 1955
Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975

Feb 28, 1961 through Aug 5, 1964
  • for veterans who served "in country"
Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 through a date to be set by
law or Presidential Proclamation.

Health Benefits

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care to its customers. Our goal is to share information about these benefits and services to make it as easy as possible for you to receive the care you need.

If you are an OEF/OIF veteran and have NOT been contacted by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) about your healthcare benefits, call the VA now at 1-877-222-8387.

Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' health benefits site.

Disability Compensation and Pensions

Disability Compensation (Service Connection)
Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The service of the veteran must have been terminated through separation or discharge under conditions that were other than dishonorable. Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of dependants, and is paid monthly. The benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax. The payment of retirement pay, disability severance pay and separation incentive payments known as SSB and VSI (Special Separation Benefits and Voluntary Separation Incentives) also affects the amount of VA compensation paid.

Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' benefits site.

Non-service Connected Pension
Veterans with low incomes who are permanently and totally disabled may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. The discharge from active duty must have been under conditions other than dishonorable. The permanent and total disabilities must be for reasons other than the veteran's own willful misconduct. Payments are made to qualified veterans to bring their total income, including retirement and Social Security income, to a level set by Congress. Unreimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income. Veterans of a period of war who are age 65 or older and meet service and income requirements are also eligible to receive a pension, regardless of current physical condition.

Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' pension site.


Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
The Military Survivors and Dependents Program (MSDEP) provides education benefits to spouses and children of military service members killed, missing in action, taken prisoner, or who became at least 90 percent disabled as a result of military service in an armed conflict. Military service includes service in the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserves, the Virginia National Guard, or the Virginia National Guard Reserves. Armed conflict includes military operations against terrorism or as the result of a terrorist act, a peace-keeping mission, or any armed conflict after December 6, 1941. This program may pay for tuition and fees at any state-supported college or university. This program waives tuition and fees in Virginia. Benefits are available for up to four years.

Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible, children and spouses of qualifying military service members must meet the following requirements.

  • The child must be between ages 16 and 29; There are no age restrictions for spouses.
  • The military service member is and must have been a Virginia citizen at the time he or she entered active duty or must have been a Virginia citizen for at least five years immediately prior to the date of the application for admission.
  • In the case of a deceased military service member the veteran’s surviving spouse can meet the residency requirements if he or she lived in Virginia for at least five years prior to marrying the military service member or has been a citizen of Virginia for at least five years immediately prior to the date of application.

Required Documentation
In most cases, eligibility will be determined using documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, the veteran or surviving spouse may be asked to provide documentation verifying residency or the applicant’s age or relationship. State income tax records, birth certificates, and/or marriage certificates are usually sufficient.

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program FAQs (60KB)

Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program Application (175KB)

Virginia Public Colleges and Universities (33KB)

For More Information
To learn more about the VMSDEP program,

Keia Watkins, VMSDEP Administrator
Phone: (804) 225-2083
Fax: (804)-786-0809
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Honorary Diplomas
Veteran Honorary High School Diplomas recognize the life experiences of veterans who were unable to complete their high school education because of service in the armed forces during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Since the first honorary diplomas were issued in 2001, more than 1,000 have been awarded to veterans of these three wars.

To obtain an honorary diploma, a veteran may submit a statement to the Veterans Education Unit of the Virginia Department of Education describing his or her service, the location of the last school attended, and affirming that he or she was unable to complete high school upon return to civilian life. The guidelines also allow family members and veterans’ organizations to submit this information on behalf of the veteran.

Veterans Honorary High School Diploma Program
Virginia Department of Education
P. O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120

Find out more at the Virginia Department of Education

For more information, contact Margaret Roberts at (804) 225-2924 or at Margaret.Roberts@doe.virginia.gov


Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)
VEC provides job referral and placement resources available to assist veterans in finding jobs. Veterans Employment Representatives (LVERs) and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) staff are available in most VEC offices to assist veterans with employment services

Visit the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) site to learn more.

Department of Human Resource Management - Veteran Outreach Services
The Department of Human Resource Management places great importance on providing veterans access to information about employment services and assistance.

Visit the DHRM Veteran Outreach Services site.

See state job opportunities throughout Virginia.

Home Loan Guaranties

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) makes loan guaranties to service members, veterans, reservists and unmarried surviving spouses for the purchase of homes, condominiums, manufactured homes and for refinancing loans. VA guaranties part of a total loan, permitting the purchaser to obtain a mortgage with a competitive interest rate, even without a down payment if the lender agrees. VA requires that a down payment be made for the purchase of a manufactured home. VA also requires a down payment for a home or condo if the purchase price exceeds the reasonable value of the property, or if the loan has a graduated payment feature. With a VA guaranty, the lender is protected against loss up to the amount of the guaranty if the borrower fails to repay the loan. A VA loan guaranty can be used to:

  • buy a home
  • buy a residential condominium
  • build a home
  • repair, alter, or improve a home
  • refinance an existing home loan
  • buy a manufactured home with or without a lot
  • buy and improve a manufactured home lot
  • install a solar heating or cooling system or other weatherization improvements
  • purchase and improve a home simultaneously with energy-efficient improvements
  • refinance an existing VA loan to reduce the interest rate and make energy-efficient improvements
  • refinance a manufactured home loan to acquire a lot

Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' loan guaranty site.


Real Estate Tax Exemption
Veterans rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as having a 100%, permanent and total,
service-connected disability or who have a service-connected individually unemployable disability rating
are exempt from paying real estate taxes on their primary residence.  The exemption is based on the
veteran’s disability rating rather than the level of compensation.  The exemption includes property held
jointly by a husband and wife, and applies to the residence and up to one acre of land.  

The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran may also receive the real estate tax exemption if the veteran died
on or after January 1, 2011.  The spouse will lose the exemption if he or she remarries or does not occupy
the property as his or her primary residence.  For more information, contact the commissioner of the
revenue for your locality (http://www.vacomrev.com/who-we-are/districts-localities/).

Hunting, Fishing, and Trapping Licenses
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) offers a lifetime hunting and fresh water fishing license to resident veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability.  VDGIF also offers a life-time trapping license to resident veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability.  The cost for either license is $10. 

Virginia veterans with a 70% or greater service-connected disability may purchase an annual state resident basic hunting license at half price.  Veterans with a 70% or greater service-connected disability residing out of state may purchase an annual non-resident basic hunting license at half price.

Applications are available at any VDGIF field office or online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov (click forms).  For VDGIF locations, check your phone book or visit http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/about/offices.asp.

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