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By Maxwell PayneVA benefits are issued by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Those who have served in the military may be eligible for benefits ranging from education to medical and disability. Those interested in VA benefits can determine their eligibility and fill out applications for select benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs website. Those who have served a minimum of two years are eligible for VA benefits as long as were discharged from active duty honorably. There is no active duty minimum time requirement for those who were honorably discharged before Sept. 7, 1980. National guard and reserve soldiers are eligible only if they were discharged honorably after meeting their initial active duty time commitment. Active duty commitment can range from two to six years.
Go to the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Online Application website (included in references). Internet access is free at your local library if you do not own a computer.
Browse the website to determine which benefits you may be eligible for: VA Education Benefits, Compensation Benefits, Disability Pension Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits, Medical Benefits and Burial Benefits. Veterans may be eligible for multiple benefits but each requires a different application.
Click the "Start VONAPP" button on the lower left of any VA benefits web page when you have determined which benefits you want to sign up for. Ensure that pop-up blockers are turned off as the program will open in a new window.
Create a user name and password. You will need these to save your progress and make adjustments to your application.
Carefully review all requirements for the benefits you are applying for. For example, VA Medical Benefits require tax information, general health information, spouse information and employment status.
Fill out the VONAPP application following each prompt and selecting "Continue" at the bottom of each page when finished. Some applications may require that you print out the application to mail; others, like the VA Medical Benefits form, may be submitted online.
Submit any additional paperwork to the VA office after completing your application.
Gather all financial, personal and medical information before starting the sign-up process. The time it takes to get an application approved can vary widely, so it is important to submit the application for benefits as soon as the benefits are needed after honorable discharge. Benefits for most veterans who apply and are approved will be valid for up to 15 years.
Entering fraudulent claims or information is against federal law.