Veteran Benefits and Resources in New York
For the more than 863,000 veterans living in New York State and their families, their service in the U.S. military has earned them a long list of benefits and services, from financial to educational and recreational, and offering helpful benefits into their senior years. It can be daunting knowing how to initially access these benefits, or follow up on claims you’ve already submitted.
A great place to start is the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). The department’s website features helpful tools like a downloadable NYS Veterans App with helpful links, contact information, and benefits help. The site also includes quick search tools to connect you with a benefits counselor near you, event information, and special sections based on your conflict served. The DVA trains experienced and dedicated advisors — each a veteran — to work in a network of field offices across the state and offer veterans and their families with professional help to resolve social, medical, and economic matters. You can call the toll-free information and referral hotline — 1-888-VETS-NYS (1-888-838-7697) — to locate the nearest Veterans Benefits Advisor Office.
Accessing quality health care is often a top concern for veterans and their families, and the state of New York is home to three healthcare systems – one in West New York (Buffalo and Batavia), in the Hudson Valley Area (Montrose and Wappingers Falls), and the Harbor area (Brooklyn, NYC, and Jamaica). The VA also offers numerous additional support locations, such as six more medical centers, a behavioral health clinic in Syracuse, 46 community-based outpatient clinics across the state, and one community living center in Jamaica. You can typically use each location’s website to review all the services provided, check your eligibility, make and change appointments, and learn more about special services for caregivers, female veterans, veterans battling substance abuse, and those facing homelessness.
The State of New York offers a unique program in its Veterans Temporary Hiring Program, a special job database for honorably discharged post-9/11 veterans where they can search and apply for temporary positions open in the state government agencies. The hiring managers use this database to hire temporary workers before turning to a staffing agency. This program was established to combat high unemployment rates for veterans returning to New York, and to assist them in re-entering the workforce. Veterans can upload their resume and DD-214 online, and call (518) 485-6199 for more information.
New York State is home to countless historic and tourist attractions, as well as parks and outdoor activities. Certain veterans may be eligible for the Lifetime Liberty Pass, which includes free vehicle entry to state parks and DEC-operated day-use areas, as well as numerous state boat launch sites, historic sites, arboretums and park preserves; free golf at 28 State Park golf courses; free swimming pool entrance at 36 State Park pools, and discounted camping and cabin rentals at all 119 State Park and DEC campgrounds. To qualify for the pass, the Veteran must be a resident of New York State and provide State Parks with written certification from the VA or the New York State DVA that the applicant is a wartime Veteran with a 40% or greater service-connected disability as certified by the VA, or who has been awarded or is eligible for an allowance towards the purchase of an automobile. For more information, you can call 518-474-2324 during normal business hours.
Additionally, veterans with a 40% or greater disability rating are eligible for low-cost hunting and fishing licenses. Also helpful is the America the Beautiful National Park Pass, available free of charge to U.S. military members and dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and also, Reserve, and National Guard members. An America the Beautiful National Park Pass covers admission fees to 2,000 federal recreation sites, as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person).
For senior veterans or those needing housing options with health care and daily assistance, the State of New York is home to five veterans’ homes that focus on providing dignified and compassionate care to its veterans. The home in Oxford offers 242 beds, while the home in Jamaica (St. Alban’s) offers 250beds. The home in Batavia features 126 beds, and the location in Montrose offers 252 beds. Additionally, the Long Island State Veterans’ Home is a separate part of the State University of New York, but works closely with the State Veterans’ Homes; it offers 350 beds. These locations offer eligible veterans and their dependents quality care, socialization and rehabilitation, and a chance to live in community with other veterans.
To find out what veterans benefits exist in other states in the U.S. please visit our complete Veterans Benefits by State guide here.
New York Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to New York 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 New York veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons