HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR VETERANS BENEFITS?
Eligibility for most benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Active military service means full-time service, other than active duty for training, as a member of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, Environmental Science Services Administration or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or it predecessor, the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Please contact Dauphin County Veterans Affairs to assist in determining your eligibility requirements for specific benefits.
WHAT IS WARTIME SERVICE?
Certain VA benefits require service during wartime. Under the law, VA recognizes these war periods:
- Mexican Border Period – May 9, 1916 through April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on
its borders or in adjacent waters.
- World War I – April 6, 1917 through November 11, 1918, for veterans who served in Russia April 6,
1917 through April 1, 1920; extended through July 1, 1921, for veterans who had at least one day of
service between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918.
- World War II – December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946.
- Korean War – June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955.
- Vietnam War – August 5, 1964 (February 28, 1961 for veterans who served “in country” before
August 5, 1964), through May 7, 1975.
- Gulf War – August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.
WHERE CAN I FIND A COPY OF MY MILITARY DISCHARGE (DD-214)?
You can check with your County Recorder of Deeds Office to determine if a copy was recorded with them.
Dauphin County Veterans Affairs can also assist in obtaining a copy or you may request a copy via the internet at www.archives.gov. NOTE: Requests via this website are not sent electronically; they must be printed, signed and faxed to the National Personnel Records Center.
WHAT DOCUMENTS WILL I NEED WHEN FILING FOR VA BENEFITS?
Veterans seeking a VA benefit for the first time must submit a copy of their military discharge (DD-214).
Other documents that may be required include marriage certificate and/or divorce decrees, death certificate (if the surviving spouse is applying for benefits) and dependent children birth certificates. As well, if you are
applying for a service-connected disability, it is helpful if you can provide medical records from private physicians (not VA doctors) relative to the disability you are claiming.
IF MY SPOUSE DIES BEFORE ME CAN HE/SHE BE BURIED IN A NATIONAL CEMETERY?
Yes, the spouse of a veteran may be buried in a National Cemetery. Burial of dependent children is limited to unmarried children under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if a full-time student at an approved educational institution. Also eligible for burial are unmarried adult children who become physically or mentally disabled and incapable of self-support before age 21, or age 23 if a full-time student. Further inquiries may be directed to Indiantown Gap National Cemetery 717-865-5254 or by visiting
HOW DO I GET A FLAG MARKER FOR A VETERAN'S GRAVE?
Please contact Dauphin County Veterans Affairs to obtain a flag marker for a veteran’s grave. You will need to provide the veteran’s name, branch of service, war era served, the name of cemetery where the veteran is buried and the name of the person requesting the flag marker.
HOW LONG AFTER DISCHARGE CAN I WAIT BEFORE USING MY EDUCATION BENEFITS?
Generally, for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits you have 15 years from separation to use your benefits. Other education programs such as the Montgomery GI Bill require benefits be used within 10 years of separation.
Veterans are encouraged to start using their education benefits as soon after discharge as possible. Further inquiries may be directed to the Division of Veterans/Military Education – PA Department of Education 717- 787-2414.
HOW DO I OBTAIN A CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR A VA HOME LOAN GUARANTY?
Complete VA Form 26-1880 (Request for a Certificate of Eligibility) and mail it to: Atlanta Regional Loan Center, ATTN: COE (262), PO Box 100034, Decatur, GA 30031. Be sure to include a copy of your DD-214 for all periods of active service.
WHY SHOULD I USE AN ACCREDITED VETERAN SERVICE OFFICER (VSO)?
First and foremost, an accredited VSOs services are free and they do not make a profit from other activities in advising veterans. Secondly, accredited VSOs are required to pass an examination from the US
Department of Veterans Affairs demonstrating knowledge of the wide array of veteran benefits. Additionally, they are required to take annual continuing education training to maintain their accreditation and pass an
examination every five years for re-accreditation. VSOs are knowledgeable of not only federal VA benefits, but also those veterans’ benefits available at the state and county level. The Dauphin County Veterans Affairs Director and Assistant are both accredited VSOs.