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Honoring Our Nation's Veterans

Throughout our nation's history our freedom has been preserved by members of the Armed Forces, and they continue to do so today. As a Member of Congress, I have consistently supported legislation protecting the rights of veterans and servicemen and women. They deserve no less from us.

My office can help if you are experiencing delays or difficulties in filing claims. If your questions are not answered after reading the information below, please feel free to click here to contact my office.

Information for Reservists in the U.S. Armed Forces

Education

Reservists in the U.S. Armed Forces are entitled to certain education benefits, including loans, learning credits, and tuition assistance. The spouses of military personnel may also be eligible for several education benefits. Additionally, many colleges and universities have special enrollment discounts for veterans and active members of the military.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) provides Selected Reserve servicemembers help with education and training costs. The benefits provided by the GI Bill are available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guards Reserves, and the National Guard. The MGIB SR benefit is worth over $10,000, which in the FY 2007 amounted to a monthly full-time student payment rate of $309 for up to 36 months.

To be eligible for MGIB benefits you must have agreed to serve in the Selected Reserve or Guard for at least six years, you must complete your initial active duty for training, meet the requirements to received a high school diploma, and remain in good standing while servicing in an active Selected Reserve unit.

For more information on the GI Bill, click here.

For more information on education benefits, see the following websites on reservist education and college credit.

Family and Individual Resources

The military offers a wide range of services to its members and their families. For more information on specific services and guides, click on the links below.

Health Care Benefits

Reserve members are provides with comprehensive health care while on military duty through TRICARE.

Pay and Taxes

For information on determining pay rates for members of the Reserve, click on the following links.

Retirement

Reserve officers are entitled to retirement pay once they are 60 years old if they have completed at least 20 years of federal service. Before receiving retirement pay, personnel must submit an application in accordance with service regulations. For more information see the following webpages:

Information for Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces

How do I contact the Department of Veterans Affairs?

The following toll-free numbers can be used to call the Department of Veterans Affairs:

  • VA Benefits: 1-800-827-1000
  • CHAMPVA: 1-800-733-8387
  • Education (GI Bill): 1-888-442-4551
  • Health Care Benefits call 1-877-222-8387
  • Income Verification and Means Testing: 1-800-929-8387
  • Life Insurance: 1-800-669-8477
  • Mammography Helpline: 1-888-492-7844
  • Special Issues - Gulf War/Agent Orange/Project Shad/Mustard Agents and Lewisite/Ionizing Radiation: 1-800-749-8387
  • Status of Headstones and Markers: 1-800-697-6947
  • Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD): 1-800-829-483

Do I qualify for veterans benefits? How do I apply?

If you are a veteran, you can determine if you qualify for veterans benefits and also apply online through the Department of Veterans Affairs Online Application (VONAPP)

What are disability compensation and disability pension?

Disability compensation is a monthly monetary sum paid to veterans with disability resulting from their military service.

Disability pension is a monetary sum paid to veterans who are permanently and totally disabled, and whose disability is not related to their military service or the result of their own meditated actions. Disability pension is an income-dependant benefit.

What are the types of VA Claims?

There are four types of VA claims: an original claim, a claim for increase, a new claim, and a reopened claim. The type of claim determines procedure for filing the claim, the supporting evidence required, and the processing time.

  • Original Claim: This is the very first claim filed by a veteran for disability benefits. To file an original claim, you must use the VA Form 21-526. To download a copy of the form, click here and type the form number into the search box.
  • Claim for Increase: This type of claim is to request increased compensation for a disability already determined as related to your military service.
  • New Claim: This is a claim for compensation for a disability that was not included in your original claim.
  • Reopened Claim: This claim asks for reconsideration of an issue previously considered and but eventually disallowed by the VA. At least one year must have passed for this claim to be filed.

Remember, you can always appeal the VA's decision regarding your benefits. For more information on the steps involve, click here.

What is a VA Home Loan, and how can I get one?

The main purpose of the VA home loan program is to provide assistance for veterans seeking to finance the purchase of a home. To see if you are eligible for a home loan, click here.

There are five main steps to get a VA home loan.

  1. Apply for a certificate of eligibility. If you do not have a certificate, you can get one by filling out the VA Form 26-1880 and sending it to your local VA office. To download the form, click here. To find a local VA office, click here.
  2. Find a home that you wish to buy and sign a purchase agreement.
  3. Request an appraisal of the property from the VA.
  4. Apply to a mortgage lender for the loan. This can be done while the property is still being appraised. If the VA authorizes the lender to automatically process your loan upon, the loan can be approved and closed as soon as the appraised value is determined. If your loan must be first approved by the VA, the mortgage lender will send first the loan application to the local VA office, which will then notify you of its decision.
  5. Once the above steps are complete, simply close on the loan and you are ready to move in.

How can I get Replacement Medals?

If your medals were lost or stolen, you can request replacement medals from the National Personnel Records. To download the request form and find out where you should mail the form, click here.

As always, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.