To be eligible for VA benefits you have to be a Veteran.

What is a Veteran?

General Veterans fall into one of two categories; wartime Veterans and peacetime Veterans. If you served on regular active duty either under normal enlistment or have been called up to active duty by the president, you have Veteran status. The job that you did in the military has no bearing on your status of being a Veteran or not. The time period you served on active duty determines whether you are a wartime Veteran or a peacetime time Veteran.

Wartime Veterans & Peacetime Veterans

If you served on active duty during the time frames listed below you have wartime Veteran status:

  • WWII: Dec 7, 1941 through Dec 31, 1946
  • Korean War: Jun 27, 1950, through Jan 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964 (Feb 28, 1961 for Veterans who served “in country” before Aug 5, 1964), through M ay 7, 1975
  • Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.

If your active duty was anytime in between the above dates then you are considered a peacetime Veteran.

There is an important distinction between wartime Veteran and peacetime Veteran status. If you served during a war time period, whether you went off to war or not, you may be eligible to apply for pension benefits. Upon your death your spouse may be entitled to death pension as well.

Both wartime Veterans and peacetime Veterans are eligible for a number of other VA benefits to include but not limited to: compensation, education, home loan, burial benefits, nursing home care and cemetery benefits

The best thing to do is check with your Veteran Service Officer or a Veteran Service Officer near you to see if you are eligible for ANY Veteran’s benefits.