Veteran Benefits in Oregon
More than 326,000 veterans live in the state of Oregon and if you are among them, your service to your country has earned you numerous benefits, privileges, and services that can be helpful and beneficial to your whole family. Knowing where and how to access them can seem a bit daunting at times, but utilizing your local Oregon resources can be a great starting point.
For example, if you are just beginning to learn about and access your federal and state veteran benefits – or need help resubmitting or following up on a claim – a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) can be an excellent and free resource for you. VSOs are VA-accredited and certified professionals who are experts in veteran law, procedures, benefits, and state and national veteran resources. There are VSOs in every county across Oregon, in many national service organizations, and at the Salem and Portland offices of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA). You can locate your nearest VSO online, fill out an online VSO outreach form, or call 800-692-9666 (toll-free in Oregon) or 503-373-2085 for more information.
Accessing quality health care is always a top concern for veterans and their families, and those living in Oregon have several options in addressing medical concerns. The VA Portland Health Care System serves more than 95,000 veterans in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The main tertiary care medical center is located in Portland, along with a Vancouver campus, and 10 community-based outpatient clinics across Central and Northwest Oregon. The health care system provides a wide range of inpatient, outpatient, long-term, and emergent care and is includes 12 national-level Centers of Excellence as a result of its research efforts in Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, auditory research, and more. Through the system’s online patient portal, you can check your eligibility, schedule and change appointments, and check on billing procedures.
Oregon veterans looking to enjoy the state’s many natural resources may be eligible for discounted licenses and tags. For example, veteran with a VA service-related disability rating of 25% or more may be eligible for a free lifetime Oregon hunting and angling license. Disabled veterans are also eligible for an Oregon Elk tag at a reduced cost. Additionally, service-connected disabled veterans can get free parking at the 26 state parks that charge a day-use parking fee, as well as free camping costs in RV sites, tent campsites, and standard horse camp sites for up to 10 nights.
Veterans in Oregon facing a financial emergency may be eligible for the Oregon Veterans’ Emergency Assistance Program. This program assists veterans and their immediate family (spouse, un-remarried surviving spouse, child, or stepchild) with a one-time grant to help with expenses like emergency or temporary housing, housing expenses (utilities, insurance, house repairs, rent assistance), emergency medical or dental expenses, emergency transportation, and more. The average amount of the grant (paid directly to creditors) varies, and to be eligible, the veteran’s application must include a workable plan for future sustainability. Veterans can contact their local VSO or the ODVA at 503-373-2085 to talk to someone about their needs.
For Oregon senior veterans seeking long-term housing options, there are two excellent locations as part of the Oregon Veterans’ Home system. The first location in The Dalles is situated on 15 acres in the historic Columbia Gorge, offering beautiful panoramic view of the city, the Columbia River, The Dalles Dam, and Mount Hood. The Dalles campus can care for as many as 151 residents are offers skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s and dementia-related care, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care to veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents. The second location is the Lebanon campus, offering an innovative “neighborhood approach,” with four neighborhoods with three houses each, each house accommodating up to 14 seniors. The houses are accessible and adaptive, designed for ease of movement, and feature open kitchens, dining areas where family-style meals are served, a living room with a fireplace, and private bedrooms and baths. The Lebanon campus provides space for 154 individuals who require long-term skilled nursing care as well as rehabilitation services in a true home-like setting with routine activities and social interaction that decreases social isolation.
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, as well as perpetual care, a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some veterans may also be eligible for Burial Allowances. Oregon is home to National Veteran Cemeteries in Eagle Point, Willamette, and Roseburg. Burial in a national cemetery is open to all 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. For more information, you can contact the funeral director at the cemetery, or call 1-800-535-1117. All locations also offer an opportunity for veterans and their loved ones to pay their respects to their fellow veterans and mark memorial occasions with special events and gatherings.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
Oregon Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Oregon 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 Oregon veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons