Veterans Benefits and Resources in Vermont
More than 44,000 veterans live in the state of Vermont, and their honorable service to their country has earned them a long list of federal and state benefits that can help make life healthier, more affordable, and more comfortable.
If you are just beginning to access your benefits, a great place to start is a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), trained and employed by the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs. The office has two VSOs assigned to serve specific counties, and one who focuses specifically on VA claim appeals. Additionally, the office employs staff members who supervises the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery and who are experts in which educational programs in the state accept the GI Bill. You can contact the office at (802) 828-3379; they are located at 118 State St. in Montpelier.
Accessing quality health care is always a top priority for veterans and their families, and Vermont is home to a major U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in White River Junction, responsible for the delivery of health care services to eligible veterans in Vermont and the four contiguous counties of New Hampshire. The White River Junction (WRJ) VA Medical Center is located on a 64-acre campus that includes a 74-bed, acute care facility that provides a full range of primary, secondary, and specialty care. Clinical services focus on a comprehensive, compassionate continuum of care. It supports more than 150 individuals in 17 specialties. Additionally, Vermont veterans can access health care closer to home through five community-based outpatient clinics spread throughout the state that work closely with the medical center when referrals are needed.
For veterans looking to enjoy the outdoor recreation resources of the state, there are several discounts and benefits that are available. For example, a Vermont resident who is a veteran and who has been honorably discharged may be eligible for a $2 lifetime day entry pass into the parks called the Green Mountain Passport. The Green Mountain Pass provides free admission to Vermont State Parks (overnight camping and other park fees are excluded), Vermont State Historic Sites, and events that are fully State-sponsored. Disabled veterans with a VA disability rating of 60% or greater can also receive a Green Mountain Pass for free. Additionally, veterans with a disability rating 60% or greater can receive a free lifetime hunting and fishing license. To see if you qualify for the license, call the Veterans Benefits Section at 1-800-827-1000.
Senior Vermont veterans considering long-term housing and care options may be interested in the 177-bed Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington. Veterans, their spouses, and gold star parents are eligible to stay at the home that provides a full range of care, including skilled nursing home care. The home accepts Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. To be eligible to live at the Vermont Veterans' Home, the individual must be an honorably discharged veteran who has served 90 consecutive days on active duty (unless discharged earlier due to a disability incurred in the line of duty) and in medical need of a skilled nursing facility. The home is a licensed healthcare facility that provides a wide range of medical and social services, including short-term and long-term care, post-operative care, dispensing and monitoring intravenous medications, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and a certified 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. The state of Vermont maintains a 110-acre Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center that provides a final resting place for veterans, their spouses, and some dependents. Veterans who are interred at the cemetery receive perpetual care of their lot, a marker, and funeral honors free of charge; interred spouses receive perpetual care of their lot and a marker for a nominal charge. The cemetery also has a non-denominational chapel and a memorial garden, so veterans whose remains are buried at sea or scattered can still have a memorial stone. Veterans are encouraged to pre-register with the cemetery through the Vermont Office of veterans Affairs at (802) 828-3379, so that they can make decisions about the type of marker they will receive and which section they would like to be laid to rest in. This also ensures that all the paperwork is complete before the time of need. Additionally, Vermont is home to two historic national veterans cemeteries with the Green Mount Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot and the Prospect Hill Cemetery Soldiers’ Lot, both of which are closed to new interments, but open to the public for visitation.
Vermont Veterans Benefit for Assisted Living
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit is available to Vermont 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 Vermont veterans.
Written by Megan Hammons