Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Porter Hills Wellness Director
Click here to watch the WZZM13 Senior Wellness segment on this topic.
This week, we honor the men and women who selflessly served our country in the military. Service to our country is essential to the protection of our rights and freedoms enjoyed by all Americans. Service in the military is a total commitment of the person and their family. Because of this sacrifice, veterans are entitled to benefits which will assist in life as a civilian for the remainder of their lives.
Most veterans are aware of the medical benefits of which they are entitled. Health care is the highest utilized program of the Veteran’s Affair’s benefits. Lesser utilized V.A. benefits include life insurance, education and memorial benefits. There are also many other benefits entitled to veterans. Some are managed and regulated by Veteran’s Affairs and others are offered by businesses to honor the sacrifice made by veterans.
VA Pension Benefit
War time veterans and their spouses may be eligible for a benefit known as Aid and Attendance Improved Pension. This benefit can be used to pay for care in the home or for assisted living or skilled nursing care. To qualify, there must be a medical need for the aid and assistance of another person and the veteran and their spouse must meet specific income qualifications. This benefit is in addition to the wartime veteran’s pension benefit.
Death memorials for veterans
The V.A. will pay a $300 allowance for burial and funeral expenses. Veterans may also be eligible for an allowance to pay for burial plots outside of government owned cemeteries.
Veterans are eligible for headstones for any unmarked grave in any cemetery. Headstone markers are also available for existing headstones. Spouses and dependent children are eligible for headstones only in national or state veteran cemeteries.
Funeral service ceremony
If you have attended a funeral service with military honors, you have probably witnessed a touching tribute to the veteran and the folding and presentation of a burial flag to the surviving family. These touching ceremonies are available to all veterans. If you would like to have this service, inquire with the funeral director to request this honor.
There are also many non-government benefits available to the men and women who have served our country.
Some are available throughout the year, while others are available on specific patriotic holidays such as Veteran’s Day, Independence Day and Memorial Day.
- Hunting and fishing licenses – In Michigan, we value the use of our natural resources, which includes the opportunity to hunt and fish. Disabled veterans are able to obtain licenses for these activities without fees. Some retailers offer discounts on purchases to veterans. Examples include home improvement stores, car part stores and some clothing retailers. Some movie theaters and hair salons offer similar discounts. Veterans should also ask their cell phone carrier if they qualify for discounts on their service plan!
- Travel discounts – When travelling, veterans should be on the lookout for special rates connected to military service. Most hotels will offer discounted rates for veterans. Restaurants, car rentals and airlines also frequently offer discounts. Once a veteran arrives to their vacation destination, they may find that they can also receive discounts at cultural attractions. Some museums, tours, theme parks and other admissions may have lower rates for veterans.
- Banking services – Some banks will offer veterans premium bank accounts without fees or preferred rates. There also may be programs which offer veterans discounted interest rates. V.A. home loans are available through financial institutions for existing structures, new builds and equity. This benefit is not limited to first time home buyers and can be used more than once. Loans must meet eligibility requirements and veterans must also meet specific qualifications.
Even if veteran discounts are not visibly advertised, a veteran should ask if there is one available. The vendor will typically need to see proof of service to provide these discounts. The State of Michigan now offers veterans to add a designation to their state id’s and/or driver licenses to help with this process. Veterans are able to apply for this designation at any Secretary of State Office.
Veterans have provided the ultimate service to our country. They are more than entitled to receive benefits that may assist, even in a small way, to create a high quality of life. This Veteran’s Day, be sure to show your appreciation to the men and women who have given of themselves to protect our freedom.