15 Essentially Free Benefits Most Veterans Still Pay Full Price For

Veterans have sacrificed greatly for their country, often enduring physical, emotional, and psychological challenges during and after their service. In recognition of their sacrifices, various benefits and services are available to veterans, many of which are designed to ease their transition back into civilian life. However, despite the availability of these benefits, many veterans still end up paying full price for services and products they could access at little to no cost. Here, we’ll explore some of these benefits and why veterans might miss out on them.

Healthcare Services

Image Credit: Fit Ztudio, Shutterstock

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides comprehensive healthcare services to veterans, including hospital care, outpatient services, dental care, and mental health services. Despite this, many veterans continue to pay out-of-pocket for medical treatments. Some reasons include a lack of awareness about their eligibility, the perceived complexity of navigating the VA healthcare system, and long wait times for appointments, which drive them to seek immediate care from private providers.

Educational Benefits

Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

The GI Bill offers substantial educational benefits, covering tuition and providing a housing allowance and a stipend for books and supplies. However, many veterans do not take full advantage of this benefit. Some are unaware of the full extent of what they’re entitled to, while others find the application process daunting. Additionally, those who join the workforce immediately after service might not consider returning to school, thereby missing out on opportunities for further education and career advancement at little to no cost.

Home Loan Guarantees

Image Credit: AnnaStills/Shutterstock

The VA offers home loan guarantees that allow veterans to purchase homes with no down payment and favorable interest rates. Despite these advantageous terms, some veterans still opt for conventional loans, paying higher interest rates and incurring additional costs. This often stems from a lack of understanding of the VA loan benefits, misinformation about eligibility criteria, or a preference for perceived simplicity in traditional mortgage processes.

Discounts on Products and Services

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

Many businesses offer discounts to veterans, ranging from travel and entertainment to everyday shopping needs. Despite the availability of these discounts, veterans often pay full price due to unawareness of these offers or discomfort in asking for the discounts. Sometimes, businesses do not advertise these benefits, making it harder for veterans to know they exist.

Tax Benefits

Image Credit: fizkes, Shutterstock

Several states offer tax benefits to veterans, including property tax exemptions, income tax reductions, and sales tax exemptions. These benefits can significantly reduce a veteran’s financial burden. However, the complexity of tax laws and the varying regulations from state to state can make it challenging for veterans to know what benefits they qualify for, leading many to miss out on substantial savings.

Life Insurance

Image Credit: fizkes, Shutterstock

The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) programs provide affordable life insurance options for veterans. Despite the affordability and benefits, many veterans either overpay for commercial life insurance policies or go without coverage altogether. This could be due to a lack of understanding of the VA life insurance programs or the mistaken belief that VA insurance does not meet their needs.

Employment and Job Training Programs

Image Credit: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

Veterans have access to numerous employment and job training programs designed to help them transition to civilian careers. These include the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E), and various apprenticeship programs. However, many veterans do not utilize these programs, either due to unawareness, perceived stigma, or a belief that they can find employment without additional assistance.

Legal Assistance

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Veterans can often receive free or low-cost legal assistance for issues ranging from VA benefit claims to civilian legal matters. Many organizations and law firms offer pro bono services specifically for veterans. Despite this, numerous veterans pay full price for legal services because they are unaware of these resources or believe the assistance available does not cover their specific needs.

Recreational Benefits

Image Credit: stockpexel, Shutterstock

Federal and state parks offer free or discounted entry to veterans, along with other recreational benefits such as reduced fees for hunting and fishing licenses. Many veterans, however, continue to pay full price for these activities due to a lack of awareness of these benefits or uncertainty about how to claim them.

Counseling and Mental Health Services

Image Credit: Okrasiuk, Shutterstock

In addition to the healthcare services provided by the VA, many nonprofit organizations offer free counseling and mental health services to veterans. Despite the availability of these services, some veterans seek private counseling at a significant cost. This can be due to long wait times at the VA, a preference for private care, or simply not knowing that free alternatives exist.

Transportation and Travel Benefits

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Various transportation benefits are available to veterans, including discounts on public transit, free airport parking, and reduced fares for air travel. However, many veterans do not take advantage of these benefits, either because they are unaware of them or because the process of obtaining these discounts seems cumbersome.

Fitness and Wellness Programs

Image Credit: Ruslan Huzau, Shutterstock

Many gyms, fitness centers, and wellness programs offer free or discounted memberships to veterans. These benefits can be especially valuable for maintaining physical and mental health. However, a significant number of veterans still pay full price for these services, possibly due to a lack of awareness or hesitation in seeking out these benefits.

Child Care Assistance

Image Credit: Ruslan Huzau, Shutterstock

There are programs available to help veterans with the cost of childcare, but many veterans are not aware of these options. As a result, they end up paying full price for childcare services that could otherwise be subsidized.

Financial Counseling and Credit Assistance

Image Credit: Stock 4you, Shutterstock

Veterans can access free financial counseling and credit assistance services through various nonprofit organizations and the VA. However, many still pay for these services due to unawareness or skepticism about the quality of free assistance.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Image Credit: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A, Shutterstock

The VA offers vocational rehabilitation services to help veterans with service-connected disabilities prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs. Despite the availability of these services, some veterans do not utilize them due to a lack of awareness or misconceptions about their eligibility and the benefits of these programs.

Scroll to Top