General Information & VA Benefits

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential resource that connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at, or send a text message to 838255 to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.

The professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances—from Veterans coping with mental health issues that were never addressed to recent Veterans struggling with relationships or the transition back to civilian life.

You may eligible for one of the following VA Benefits:

  • Disability compensation for disabilities and medical conditions that are service related.
  • Disability pension for non-service related disabilities
  • Education assistance programs
  • Work-study allowance
  • Vocational rehabilitation and counseling
  • Insurance
  • Home loan benefits
  • Burial Benefits
  • Burial in a VA National or State Cemetery
  • Employment assistance and
  • Survivors’ benefits programs

The Missouri Veterans Commission has Veterans Service Officers available to assist Veterans with issues such as:

  • Preparation of forms
  • Submission of applications
  • Answering letters from VA
  • Providing follow-up on claims for benefits from VA

There two other programs available to eligible Veterans.

  • The Missouri Veterans Commission offers skilled nursing care at seven Veteran Homes located throughout Missouri.
  • The Missouri Veterans Commission also has four State Veterans Cemeteries available for the interment of Veterans, their spouses and their dependent children

Yes, other benefits available are listed below:

  • Property tax credit for service connected Veterans (and their spouse) with disability rating of 100%.
  • Free fishing license for service connected Veterans with disability rating of 60%.
  • Free automobile license plate for Veterans rating of 100%, those needing adaptive equipment, and former POWs or surviving spouse of POW.
  • Veterans may purchase various Veterans specialty license plates.
  • Five-point preference on the State Merit System when seeking state employment.
  • Tuition-free scholarships for certain surviving family members of Veterans who died as a possible result of exposure to "Agent Orange" or similar toxic chemical during the Vietnam War.
  • Payments made from the Agent Orange Settlement Fund to Veterans or their dependents are exempt from the state tax.

Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon 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 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Current and former members of the Selected Reserves may be eligible for certain benefits, such as home loan guarantees and education, if they meet time-in-service and other criteria. Men and women Veterans with similar service are entitled to the same VA benefits.

No. Combat service is not required, however, eligibility for certain VA benefits requires at least one day of service during a wartime period as recognized by the VA.

Surviving spouses and dependent children of deceased Veterans may be eligible for VA benefits depending upon the circumstances of the Veteran's death and other criteria. These potential benefits include compensation for a service-connected death (DIC), death pension, education benefits, educational loans, CHAMPVA, and home loan guaranties. In some cases, remarried spouses regain their eligibility for DIC after marriage after the Veterans's death has been terminated. Please check with our Veterans Service Officer nearest you for more information and assistance with your claim.

The Missouri Veterans Commission has Veterans Service Officers throughout the state to assist Veterans and their families with benefits information and claims assistance. The various service organizations also may have a service officer near you.

You must enroll in the VA health care system by completing a VA Form 10-10EZ and sending it, along with a copy of your DD-214 or discharge, to the VA Hospital or VA clinic of your choice. After you are enrolled, you may make an appointment for health care. Contact a Veterans Service Officer near you for VAH eligibility information and assistance in obtaining and completing the necessary forms.

You may submit new and material evidence and ask the VA to reconsider your claim. New and material evidence is something relevant to your claim that the VA has not previously considered. You also have one year from the date the VA notified you of their decision to appeal. Sending the VA a Notice of Disagreement along with an explanation of why you disagree starts this process. You have the right to have a hearing in St. Louis or Washington, D.C. The Board of Veteran's Appeals (BVA) in Washington, D.C. will make a decision on your appeal. You may then appeal the BVA's decision to the Court of Veteran's Appeals (CVA). You may retain an attorney at any time; however, one is not required unless you appeal to the CVA. More information can be obtained by visiting the VA's website discussing the Appeal Process.

A non-service connected pension is payable to any Veteran who is permanently and totally disabled and who meets certain income and asset limits set by congress. The Veteran must have served a minimum of 90 days active duty of which at least one day is during a wartime period. Income, unreimbursed medical expenses and the number of dependents could affect eligibility and the amount of the pension.

Compensation is payment for a disability that started or was aggravated while the Veteran was on active duty. The amount payable depends on the degree of disability (10%, 20%, 30%,…) and the number of dependents. The Veteran's income and assets have no effect on the amount of compensation.

No. Therefore, the Veteran will not receive a Form 1099 at the end of each year showing the amount of benefits received for the previous year.

No. However, for deaths on or after September 11, 2001, the VA will pay a burial allowance of up to $2,000 if the Veteran's death was service-connected and up to $300 if the Veteran was receiving compensation or Veteran's pension at the time of death. Veterans who die in a VA medical facility or a state Veterans home may also be eligible for a burial allowance. The VA will also pay a plot allowance, with some exceptions, of up to $300 if the Veteran is eligible for the burial allowance and is buried in a private cemetery.

No. Compensation and pension end upon the death of the Veteran. The surviving spouse must apply and qualify on his or her own merit for either Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or a Death Pension. A Veterans Service Officer in your area will assist with any claims.

Yes. Certain requirements must be met in order to qualify, among them the child must have been conceived after the Veteran was in Vietnam, and the Spina Bifida must be documented, and not considered Spina Bifida Occulta. Once qualified, a child with Spina Bifida whose parent was a Vietnam Veteran can qualify for a VA monthly payment, Vocational Rehabilitation, Education, and Healthcare.

If you have never been seen at a VA health care facility, you must first enroll for benefits. Then you must enroll in a primary care clinic and ask for an evaluation for nursing home care. The evaluation will be done either by the primary care provider or a geriatrics care team.

Possibly. Home Loan information from the VA is on their website, and you can also contact a Veterans Service Officer in your area for help in securing your Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan purposes.

If you are unable to locate discharge and separation papers, duplicate copies may be obtained by writing to the National Personnel Records Center and providing the following information:

  • Specify that a duplicate separation document or discharge is needed.
  • The veteran's full name should be printed or typed.
  • The request must contain the signature of the veteran or the signature of the next of kin, if the veteran is deceased.
  • Include the veteran's branch of service, service number or Social Security number (whichever is appropriate), and the exact or approximate years of service. If possible, use Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, which is available from VA offices, Veterans Service Officers, and most veteran service organizations.

Address the letter to the following:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138

To obtain copies of your military records and/or "Report of Separation from Active Military Service" (DD Form 214 or equivalent), you must submit a “Request Pertaining to Military Records” (SF 180) to the records custodian of your branch of service. Addresses for each service’s records custodian are found on page 2 of the SF 180. The SF 180 requires a signature and must be submitted either by mail or fax. Contact the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138, or fax requests to (314) 801-9195. The web site is

Contact the Patient Advocate at your local VA health care facility (white pages under U.S. Government, Department of Veterans Affairs).

Women Veterans

A full continuum of comprehensive medical services including health promotion and disease prevention, primary care, women’s gender-specific health care; e.g., hormone replacement therapy, breast and gynecological care, maternity and limited infertility (excluding in-vitro fertilization), acute medical/surgical, telephone triage, emergency and substance abuse treatment, mental health, domiciliary, rehabilitation and long term care. VA researchers at many VA facilities also conduct medical research on women’s health.

Veterans can apply for VA health care enrollment by completing VA Form 10-10EZ, “Application for Health Benefits.” The 10-10EZ may be obtained by visiting, calling or writing any VA health care facility or Veterans’ benefits office. You can also call the VA Health Benefits Call Center toll-free at 1-877-222 VETS (1-877-222-8387) to determine your eligibility or access the form from the Health Administration Eligibility Reform website:

For VA benefits, refer to Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents at This booklet, which may be downloaded, discusses the variety of Federal benefits available to Veterans and their dependents, such as:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • Montgomery GI Bill (Education)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance, and
  • Home Loan Guaranty

Additional information and application forms can be obtained at VA’s website:

The Veterans Online Application (VONAPP), allows you to complete and submit application forms on-line.

You may also call the VA nationwide toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000, for specific benefit information.

The provision of health care services to Veterans is established by certain eligibility criteria and discharge status requirements. To determine your eligibility for services, contact your nearest VA health care facility.

Women Veterans involuntarily discharged may also be eligible for compensation and pension, vocational rehabilitation and employment, home loan guaranty, and burial benefits. Children born to Veterans who served in Vietnam may also be eligible for monthly monetary benefits, medical care, and vocational training if they have certain birth defects linked to their mother’s service. Contact the nearest VA Regional Office on the nationwide toll-free number, 1-800-827-1000, for benefit information and eligibility requirements, or visit VA’s homepage at

Apply for VA health care enrollment by completing VA Form 10-10EZ which may be obtained by visiting, calling, or writing any VA health care facility or Veterans’ benefits office. You can also call toll-free 1-877-222 VETS (1-877-222-8387) or access the form on the Internet at The provision of health care to non-Veteran children is limited to those instances where specific authority is given to VA by law. Contact your local VA health care facility and ask to speak with the Women Veterans Program Manager (white pages of the telephone directory under U.S. Government, Department of Veterans Affairs).

  • Women Veterans Health Care Program, Alexandria, LA, VAMC
  • Women Veterans Comprehensive Health, Durham, NC, VAMC
  • Women Veterans Health Program, Boston, MA, VAMC, VA New England Health Care System
  • Women Veterans Health Program, Bay Pines, FL, VAMC
  • Women Veterans Health Program, VA Pittsburgh, PA, Healthcare System
  • Women Veterans Health Program, South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio

If you experience an urgent or emergent medical condition, you can contact your local VA health care facility telephone care program or visit their walk-in (urgent care) clinic or emergency room. Non-acute problems will be scheduled on a next-available appointment basis.

Most VA Medical Centers have inpatient mental health programs. Contact your VA Primary Care Provider or the local Mental Health Program office for assistance. If you already have a therapist and need inpatient care, please discuss your concerns with your therapist.

If you have urgent or emergent needs, you can contact your local VA health care facility telephone care program or urgent care clinic.

You may enroll and receive counseling and treatment for any emotional or physical condition experienced as a result of sexual trauma experienced while on active duty at any VA health care facility or Vet Center in the continental United States without regard for your service-connected rating or length of military service. The Women’s Trauma Recovery Program (WTRP), located at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, is a 60-day residential posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma (MST) treatment program for women Veterans. The WTRP is part of the National Center for PTSD and serves women who are coping with the aftermath of all eras and is open to women from across the country. Additional information about this program can be found at

Women Veteran Stress Disorder Treatment Programs have been established at the following VA sites:

  • Boston, MA
  • Brecksville, OH
  • Loma Linda, CA
  • New Orleans, LA

VA Home Loan Guaranty Program provides loan guaranties to service members, Veterans, reservists, and un-remarried surviving spouses for the purchase of homes, condominiums and manufactured homes, and for refinancing loans. Some of the ways a VA loan guaranty can be used include:

  • Buy a home
  • Buy a residential condominium
  • Build a home
  • Repair, alter, or improve a home
  • Refinance an existing loan
  • Buy a manufactured home with or without a lot

You must complete VA Form 26-1880, “Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits, and submit it to one of the VA Eligibility Centers along with acceptable proof of service as described on the instruction page of the form.

The Center for Veteran Enterprise partners with the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration to provide information, assistance, and mentoring for Veterans who would like to start their own business. See for additional information.

VA does not provide assistance for automobile purchases except for certain Veterans and service members who need special adaptive equipment. To apply, contact a VA regional office (1-800-827-1000) or a VA medical center.

Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) Benefits end 10 years from the date of your last discharge or release from active duty. If your benefits expire mid-term, your benefits are extended to the end of the term or semester. (Example: Your benefits expire in November but the course ends in December. You will be paid for December.)

The delimiting date can be extended past your 10-year period if you were prevented from attending classes due to:
  • A severe disability, or
  • You were held against your will by a foreign government or power.

The delimiting date is only extended by the amount of time you were prevented from attending classes.

VA can also extend your 10-year period if you reenter active duty for 90 days or more after becoming eligible. The extension ends 10 years from the date of separation from the later period. Periods of active duty of less than 90 days can qualify you for extensions only if you were separated for:

  • A service-connected disability,
  • A medical condition existing before active duty,
  • Hardship, or
  • A reduction in force.

If your benefit eligibility is based on two years of active duty and four years in the Selected Reserve, you have 10 years from your release from active duty, or 10 years from the completion of the four-year Selected Reserve obligation to use your benefits, whichever is later. For more information, you may visit

Contact the local VA homeless coordinator (or point of contact), Social Work Services department, or Women Veterans Coordinator at your local VAMC. There are homeless women Veteran and homeless women Veterans with children pilot programs located at eleven designated VA facilities as well, and the Women Veterans Coordinator can discuss what options are available in your area.

The Privacy Act obliges the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as a Federal agency, to protect the privacy of Veterans’ personal information. Therefore, VA cannot release personal information about a Veteran in its records system without that person’s permission. VA can, however, forward a message from you to the Veteran, providing VA has a current address on record.

Write your message to your friend and place it in an unsealed, stamped envelope. Include a note to VA explaining who it is that you are trying to reach and add as much identifying information as you have. Put all of this in another envelope and address it to the nearest VA Regional Office.

If the Veteran is in VA records, your message to the Veteran will be sealed and the envelope will be sent to the address on file for the Veteran. It is then up to the Veteran to contact you. This process is designed to protect the privacy of Veterans as required by law. If you have questions, you may call VA at 1-800-827-1000.

You may also contact the Women In Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA) located at the ceremonial entrance of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, at or by telephone at 1-800-222-2294.

Veterans Service Organizations are available in most communities. Telephone book yellow pages will list local Veteran groups under "Veterans" or "Veteran Service Organizations." Examples of organizations include Disabled American Veterans (DAV), The American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW).

WIMSA can also help arrange for members to either speak at civic or educational events or to be interviewed about the Women's Memorial, a specific era, or women in the military. Contact the Public Relations Department, at 1-(800) 222-2294 or (703) 533-1155.

WIMSA also has volunteer opportunities if you are interested in speaking about the Women's Memorial, a specific era, or women in the military. Contact the Public Relations and Education Department at

Current and former members of the Selected Reserve who served on active duty may establish Veteran status and may therefore be eligible for VA benefits, depending on the length of active military service and the character of discharge or release. Members of the National Guard activated for federal service during a period of war or domestic emergency may be eligible for certain VA benefits, such as VA health care, compensation for injuries or conditions connected to that service and burial benefits. Activation for other than federal service does not qualify Guard members for all VA benefits.

Operation Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans: VA provides two years of free health care for Veterans who served in certain combat locations during active military service, beginning on the date of separation from active duty. This benefit covers all illnesses and injuries except those clearly unrelated to active military service. For more information call 1-877-222-8387. A Summary of VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Personnel is available online at:

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) was established to meet the needs of separating service members during their period of transition into civilian life by offering job-search assistance and related services. The law creating TAP established a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), to give employment and training information to armed forces members within 180 days of separation or retirement. TAP helps service members and their spouses make the initial transition from military service to the civilian workplace with less difficulty and at less overall cost to the government. TAP consists of comprehensive three-day workshops at selected military installations nationwide. Professionally-trained workshop facilitators from the State Employment Services, military family support services, Department of Labor contractors, or VETS’ staff present the workshops. For more information about U.S. Department of Labor employment and training programs for Veterans, contact the VETS office nearest you, listed in the phone book in the United States Government under the Labor Department or visit the website at:

Some job websites for Veterans include the following:

The Office of Research and Development at VA Central Office oversees research within the Veterans Health Administration through its four service areas:

  • The Medical Research Service provides knowledge of the fundamental biological processes to form an understanding of disease pathology, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • The Cooperative Studies Program applies the knowledge gained from medical research to patients by determining the effectiveness of novel or unproved therapies using multi-center clinical intervention trials.
  • The Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) contributes to improving the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, and accessibility of health care services for Veterans.
  • The Rehabilitation Research and Development Service addresses the minimization of disability and restoration of function in Veterans disabled by trauma or disease.

Some important VA research websites to know are:

Focusing on women Veterans research:

Contact the Women In Military Service For America Memorial (WIMSA) located at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, through their website,

VA provides statistics and demographic information on various Veteran populations at the following website: under Program Statistics, Table 2. Additional statistics by state can be found on the same website under Demographics, VetPop, National and State.

You may access legislative information and follow up on Congressional bills through the Thomas website

A full continuum of comprehensive medical services including health promotion and disease prevention, primary care, women’s gender-specific health care; e.g., hormone replacement therapy, breast and gynecological care, maternity and limited infertility (excluding in-vitro fertilization), acute medical/surgical, telephone triage, emergency and substance abuse treatment, mental health, domiciliary, rehabilitation and long term care. VA researchers at many VA facilities also conduct medical research on women’s health.

Contact the Women Veterans Program Manager at your local VA health care facility (white pages under U.S. Government, Department of Veterans Affairs).

Veterans Cemeteries

You must have been discharged or separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and have completed the required period of service.

Yes. Qualified spouses and/or unmarried dependent children under the age of 21 or adult children who are mentally or physically incapable of self-support may be eligible for burial in a Missouri Veterans Cemetery.

here is no cost for the burial services provided by a Missouri Veterans Cemetery.

Grave space, grave opening and closing, concrete grave liner, upright granite headstone, and perpetual care are provided at no cost.

No. Graves are assigned upon receipt of a request for burial.

No. In order to maintain uniformity, upright granite markers are provided by the cemetery.

Only if your spouse is also an eligible Veteran. Otherwise the Veteran and spouse are interred in the same burial plot or columbarium niche.

No. Graves are assigned as needed. The only time a grave is reserved is in the case of two veterans married to each other.

Yes, if desired. Requests for honors are normally made by the funeral director who will forward the request to a representative of the Missouri Military Funeral Honors Program.

No. Missouri State Veterans Cemeteries do not have a chapel. All interment services are held in the committal shelter, a stone building, which provides limited seating and protection from inclement weather.

A gravesite locator is available on the outside of the Administration Building to find the exact location of any Veteran buried in that cemetery.

No. It is the responsibility of the family to arrange for a member of the clergy to be in attendance at the interment service.

No. Viewing must be done prior to arrival at the cemetery.

Yes. If you are considering interment in a State Veterans Cemetery, you are encouraged to consider pre-registering for future interment. This will allow quick scheduling at the time of need. It will also eliminate frantic searches for eligibility documents. If you are unable to locate these documents the Veterans Cemetery staff will assist you in obtaining them.

A Pre-Certification form is available on-line and at any State Veterans Cemetery. Along with the form, you should attach a certified copy of your discharge, and dependency documentation, if necessary. Send the form and attached documents to the State Veterans Cemetery of your choice. Upon receipt by the cemetery, you will receive a letter confirming eligibility. The cemetery staff or Veterans Service Officers will be glad to assist you with completion of the form.

Arlington National Cemetery is just one of the nearly 200 national or state Veterans cemeteries across the country. Eligibility at Arlington is restrictive. For information, call 703-607-8000 and select (press) 4 or visit

Veterans Homes

A Missouri Veterans Home is a long-term skilled nursing care facility for Veterans that is operated by the state of Missouri and approved by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Revised Statutes (RSMo) Chapter 42.105 states, "citizens of the state of Missouri who meet the criteria established by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (Chapter 38 CFR, Part 17), or its successor organization, for Veteran status and who require institutional health care services shall be entitled to admission into a Missouri Veterans Home."

The Veteran must meet the criteria established by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for Veteran status; require nursing home care; have been a resident of Missouri for at least 180 days. Documentation is required for these criteria.

All admission decisions are made by a healthcare team comprised of the Administrator, Physician, Director of Nursing, Social Worker and other professionals as needed. Accurate and timely medical information is very important in determining admission eligibility.

Applications are available on this website (Forms). They are also available from any of the Homes and the Missouri Veterans Commission Central Office (573) 751-3779. By calling, visiting or emailing these locations you can also have any questions answered about the application process.

Yes, there is a strong demand for residency in our Homes. Each Home has an Admissions Coordinator who actively works to fill beds from the waiting list. Veterans may apply to multiple Homes to assure admission to the first available location.

Currently the maximum resident charge is $2050 per month. The maximum monthly rate is fixed each year by the Commission. On a case-by-case basis the rate can be adjusted if financial hardship is documented.

No, there is no requirement to relinquish any of a Veteran’s personal assets in order to qualify for admission. If you choose not to disclose your assets, you simply pay the full resident rate.

Missouri Veterans Homes operate in compliance with 157 Federal Department of Veterans Affairs regulations. The Homes are surveyed by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs annually. The survey findings are a public record and available for review in each Home.

In addition to excellent food and modern, well-equipped living quarters, Veterans Homes also provide medical and skilled nursing care; recreational and rehabilitative therapy; social services and pastoral services. Each Home has a secured special care unit with specialized programming for dementia care.

Arrangements are made for transfer to an appropriate facility, a VA hospital or local hospital emergency room.

Yes, in instances outlined by federal regulation. For more information on this topic ask one of your Missouri Veterans Homes Administrators.

No. Applicants must obtain their own transportation when being admitted to the Home.

Naturally, some rules are necessary in facilities such as Missouri Veterans Homes. Much effort is expended, however, to assure that all rules are necessary and basic. The Administrators work closely with the Resident Councils to assure sufficient input from residents. Residents’ rights are clearly delineated, and each resident is given a copy upon admission. Some activities, which are a clear threat to all residents, such as smoking, possession of firearms or dangerous chemical agents, must be strictly regulated for the good of all. Generally, however, residents are afforded every possible freedom their medical condition will allow. A handbook containing all rules is provided to each applicant upon admission.

You may email your resident family member or friends by sending the email to the Director of Social Services at each Home. The Director will deliver the email to the resident.

Applications are available on-line or by contacting the Home. For State Merit jobs you need to be on the merit register. Other jobs are available for Hourly and Intermittent (H&I) employees.

Applications are available on-line or by contacting the Home. In FY09 volunteers gave a total of 139,367 hours of service to our 7 Homes. The Homes have recognition activities to ensure that these very special members of each Home’s civic community are recognized for their selfless donations of time and material resources to our Veterans.

Yes, you are welcome to visit any of the Homes. A telephone call prior to your visit would assure you of seeing the appropriate people to answer your specific questions, but you may drop in any time during working hours if you wish. Administrative offices are open Monday through Friday.

Come see us! Further information may be obtained by writing to any of the Homes, or by contacting the Missouri Veterans Commission.