Veteran Benefits in South Carolina
If you are one of the more than 418,000 veterans living in South Carolina, your honorable service has earned you and your family a long list of state, federal, and local benefits. Whether you are just beginning to access your benefits, or need help submitting or following up on a claim, a great place to start is your local veterans’ affairs county office. Each of the 46 counties in South Carolina maintains such an office, and the staff is trained in state, local, and federal veteran benefits, a well as current veteran-related legislation, benefits processes, and local veteran resources. The South Carolina Division of Veterans’ Affairs also offers numerous resources online, including a comprehensive list of all state benefits as well as a Transition Guide for servicemembers returning to civilian life.
Accessing quality health care is always a top concern for veterans and their families, and South Carolina is home to two major U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) medical centers. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston is a 149-bed tertiary care teaching hospital with 20 nursing home care beds, and is dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care to veterans along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts. The full range of inpatient and outpatient services includes medical and surgical intensive care, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, women's health, dentistry, and numerous specialties. Additionally, the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia has 204 skilled nursing beds and offers comprehensive primary care, tertiary care, and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, cardiology, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics, and extended care. Veterans looking for care closer to home can visit 12 community-based outpatient clinics located throughout the state, as well as the Trident Outpatient Clinic in North Charleston. These smaller locations work closely with the main medical centers when referrals are needed for additional care.
Veterans looking to enjoy South Carolina’s natural resources and state parks may be eligible for discounts and reduced fees. For example, some disabled veterans may be eligible for reduced entrance fees for state parks, and for a reduced-rate Palmetto Passport, which can be purchased at any South Carolina state park, at the Park Service central office in Columbia, or at the State House Gift Shop located in the South Carolina State House by citizens who show proof of eligibility Additionally, disabled veterans may be eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and veterans can also apply for special free deer hunts in memory of Spc. Thomas Caughman who was KIA in 2004. The DNR also offers special mobility-impaired hunts throughout hunting season.
For senior South Carolina veterans needing long-term housing and nursing care options, the state maintains three veterans’ nursing homes, open to eligible S.C.-resident veterans with general or honorable discharges. The C.M Tucker Center in Columbia is operated by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and maintains a special veterans wing in its Stone Pavilion, with on-site services including medical care, nursing care, rehabilitative therapy, pharmacy services, recreational and therapeutic activities, social services, pastoral care, dietary services, transportation services, beauty and barber services, and laundry services. Open in 1991, the Richard M. Campbell Veterans Home in Anderson maintains 220 beds offering a broad range of health and personal care, with particular emphasis in gerontological and rehabilitative treatment. Additionally, the newest facility, the Veterans’ Victory House in in Walterboro, is a 220-bed state-of-the-art facility on a 20-acre site, with three nursing units with 56 beds each, as well as a 52-bed secured dementia unit.
A veteran’s honorable service to his or her country earns full honors at the time of death at no cost to his or her family, including burial, perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. For residents of South Carolina, the M.J. “Dolly” Cooper Veterans Cemetery offers a beautiful 57-acre memorial in Anderson, providing a peaceful final resting place or a reflective location to pay final respects and remember one’s fallen comrades. More than 2,700 veterans, spouses, and dependents have been laid to rest in the cemetery, and the staff’s goal is to assist every veteran and family in any way to help verifying service records, determine eligibility, obtain service records, and provide contact information for other veteran agencies who can assist during the difficult time (including health and death benefits.). The cemetery office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and can be reached at (864) 332-8022
South Carolina Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to South Carolina 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 South Carolina veterans.