Veterans Benefits in Louisiana
For the more than 320,000 veterans living in Louisiana, as well as their families, their service and sacrifices has entitled them to numerous support services and benefits. Knowing how and where to access these resources, however, can be a bit daunting. A great place to start is the Louisiana Veterans Affairs Department (LVDA), an office whose goal is to help veterans understand potential state and national benefits, apply for compensation, pursue denied claims, and receive due honors. The LDVA headquarters are located in Baton Rouge, but there are more than 50 parish offices as well, offering accredited Veterans Assistance Counselors to help you access your state and national benefits, and assist with your claims. The LDVA website also serves as a hub for the state’s numerous veteran service organizations, and is a great way to connect with other veterans in the state.
Finding quality health care is always a primary concern for veterans and their families, and the VA provides health care facilities across the state. Four main medical centers can be accessed in Baton Rouge, Pineville, and Shreveport. These locations provide a wide range of care and treatment options for primary and specialty care, surgeries, therapies, and testing. Additionally, there are convenient VA outpatient clinics available in 14 communities around the state, along with four Vet Centers in the larger cities.
For active duty and certain veterans and their families experiencing financial emergencies, the Military Family Assistance Fund (MFA) can be of assistance. The MFA pays to $10,000 for one claim per 12-month period, and is funded by private and corporate donations. The servicemember must have been placed on active-duty status for more than 30 consecutive days since September 11, 2001. Immediate family members of eligible military personnel may apply on behalf of their loved one. Completed applications must be accompanied by supporting documents and must be filed no later than six months after returning from active-duty. For more information, you can call 1-877-432-8982 or apply online.
If you or your loved one is a senior veteran seeking long-term care and housing options, the state of Louisiana offers state-of-art veterans homes in five locations across the state, in Jackson, Bossier City, Monroe, Reserve, and Jennings. Each facility offers a variety of services, including long-term and short-term care, rehabilitative therapies, Alzherimer’s and intermediate care, skilled nursing, mental health services, and pharmacy services. Veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents are eligible for admission into the Veterans Homes if they are deemed to meet basic qualifying criteria.
Certain Louisiana veterans and their families may also be eligible for additional VA funds in the form of an “improved pension” to help pay for daily assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), whether in the home or in a care facility. This Aid & Attendance benefit can be a very helpful source of additional income to offset the costs of long-term care of a veteran or his or her spouse.
Louisiana offers a wide range of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy boating, hunting, fishing, or wildlife observation. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries offers several discounts for active duty and veterans. Disabled veterans classified with a service-connected permanent disability rated 50% or higher, and who are Louisiana residents, can get hunting and fishing licenses free of charge. Active duty military will also be granted resident status when purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. Eligible veterans are exempt from paying the day-use entrance fee to any Louisiana state park. Contact your local LDVA Parish Office for details.
The state of Louisiana is home to four national veterans cemeteries, one each in Baton Rouge and Pineville, and two in Zachary – the Louisiana National Cemetery and the Port Hudson National Cemetery. These locations offer burial services with honors, a location for family members and citizens to visit and show respect for military members, and special events on important holidays like Memorial Day. Burial in a national cemetery is open to all eligible members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial, even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Louisiana Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Louisiana senior veterans and their spouses to help pay for senior care like assisted living, home care, or nursing home care. Here is more information on how the Aid and Attendance benefit helps Louisiana veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons