We often hear about Veterans Day and the importance of thanking those who have served in our armed forces, but who is a Veteran? Veterans come from every background and walk of life. They are our friends, family, and neighbors. They have served their country proudly and selflessly, often making the ultimate sacrifice.
In this blog post, we’ll look at what it means to be a Veteran and explore some of the different groups included in that term. We’ll also learn about some of the unique challenges Veterans face and how we can support them.
So, Who Is Considered A Veteran?
Oftentimes, people think of Veterans as only those who served in the military, but there is a much broader definition. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines a Veteran as “any person who honorably served active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.” This encompasses individuals who were part of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine corps, and Coast Guard. It also includes National Guard members and Reserve members.
There are over 16.5 million Veterans in the United States. This is approximately 6.4% of the nation’s adult population.
Type Of Service
Full-Time Vs. Part-Time
The initial distinction to make is between full-time and part-time personnel. Usually, those who are active duty service members are considered full-timers, while National Guard and Reserve members typically fall into the part-time category.
It is essential that a person’s veteran status be checked and rechecked to ensure they are receiving all the benefits they are eligible for.
Although members of the National Guard and Reserves complete the same basic military training and receive job-specific training, they may not yet have completed all requirements for veteran status:
- They were not deployed under federal orders, which are needed to place a person on active-duty status. In particular, the deployment must meet the outlined minimum requirements for active-duty service members.
- They may not have been separated from service because of a disability that would impede their ability to complete any mandatory training. The VA must have also reported a disabled status.
Once you have served for 20 years or more in the National Guard or Reserve, you receive an honorary veteran status.
Duration Of Service
When it comes to benefits, there is a service requirement for all eligible veterans. In order to receive benefits, you must have served the following:
- For 30 consecutive days, if you were discharged due to a disability connected to your service
- For 90 days on or after September 10th, 2001, before being honorably discharged
- For 2 years before being honorably discharged
The 90-day window is for those using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the 2-year window is for people using the Montgomery GI Bill.
If you have a disability that was caused by training, and you were honorably discharged because of it, then you are still recognized as a veteran. This is only the case if you reported your injury to the VA and received a service-connected disability rating.
Any active military personnel must serve for at least 180 days before being considered a veteran, with the exception of members who were honorably discharged due to sustaining a service-related injury.
According to the government, a veteran is defined as any military personnel who was on active duty for at least 90 days. The exceptions are if the member sustained a service-related disability or received the Purple Heart and was discharged honorably. Any military personnel who dies during peacetime or wartime service is considered a veteran.
Various Types Of Veterans
This term encompasses any active-duty or reserve military personnel who has been in a war zone or near conflict waters to support fighting against an adversary.
This definition applies to any current or reserve military personnel who has fought in combat for any length of time. This includes active-duty soldiers as well as those on reserve who have experienced an offensive, defensive, or friendly-fire action against an enemy in a foreign country.
This describes any military personnel who have completed at least twenty years of active duty or reserve duty. Among this veteran group, some medically retired members are unable to continue their duties due to injuries. They are still considered veterans even if they didn’t serve the full length of their careers.
This refers to any military personnel who has been injured during combat or peacetime incidents while serving and is permanently disabled from then on.
What Benefits Do Veterans Enjoy?
There are a number of programs and benefits available to veterans, from home loans to tuition assistance.
Veteran VA Home Loan
The Veteran VA Home Loan is a great benefit for eligible veterans looking to buy a home. The loan is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, making it easier to qualify and with more favorable terms than a traditional mortgage.
Veteran Education Benefit
The GI Bill is one of the most popular benefits for veterans, as it offers educational assistance. If you meet certain requirements and enroll in an accredited program, school, or training facility, the VA will help pay for your tuition fees, housing expenses, and books.
VA Medical Care
Veterans are eligible for VA medical care, which is a comprehensive healthcare system that offers a wide range of services. These services include preventive care, primary care, specialty care, mental health services, and more.
If you have a service-related disability, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the VA. These benefits can help with things like medical expenses, income support, and job training.
Federal Jobs For Veterans
Veterans have preferential treatment when applying for federal jobs. This means that you will be able to get a job with the government even if you don’t have the same qualifications as other applicants.
Veteran Funeral And Burial Benefits
The VA offers a number of benefits to help with the costs of funeral and burial expenses. These benefits can cover things like transportation, cemetery plots, and headstones.
Unique Challenges Veterans Face And How We Can Support Them
Veterans may face a number of unique challenges when they return from combat or another military service. These challenges can include things like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a condition that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. There are a number of treatment options available for PTSD, including therapy and medication.
Depression is a common mental health condition that can cause feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and fatigue. Treatment for depression can include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Anxiety is a condition that can cause feelings of worry, stress, and fear. Treatment for anxiety can include therapy, medication, and relaxation techniques.
Veterans may face homelessness due to a number of factors, including poverty, mental health conditions, and substance abuse. There are a number of programs and organizations that offer assistance to homeless veterans. These programs can provide things like housing, food, and clothing.
Veterans may turn to substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with the challenges they face. This can lead to substance abuse and addiction. There are a number of treatment options available for substance abuse, including detox, therapy, and medication.
How We Can Support Veterans
There are a number of ways we can support veterans. These include things like volunteering, donating to veteran organizations, and spreading awareness about the challenges veterans face.
One way to support veterans is to volunteer with organizations that help them. These organizations can provide things like housing, food, clothing, and counseling.
Another way to support veterans is to donate to organizations that help them. These organizations can use donations to provide things like housing, food, clothing, and counseling.
We can also support veterans by spreading awareness about the unique challenges they face. This can help to break down the stigma around mental health conditions and substance abuse. It can also help people understand the importance of programs and organizations that help veterans.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I’m Discharged During Basic Training, Am I Still a Veteran?
As stated in Title 38, a Veteran is:
A person who was in active military service and honorably discharged.
If you were discharged while still in training (at any level), you are considered a veteran if your discharge happened because of an injury caused by the training. This is only if you reported the injury to the VA and received a training or service-connected disability.
What Is A Veteran ID Card (VIC)
The Veteran ID card (VIC) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a card that:
Serves as proof of your status as a veteran and entitles you to discounts from businesses on goods and services. Allows you to access VA benefits and services, such as health care, counseling, and burial benefits.
You must have your DD-214 or other discharge documentation and proof of identity to get a VIC. You can apply for a VIC online, by mail, or in person at a VA regional office.
Are officers Of The PHS Or NOAA Veterans?
Now that you know the answer to “When are you considered a veteran of the military?” you don’t have to wonder about your status any longer! On the other hand, if you’re just beginning your military commitment, you have a clearer understanding of how to become a veteran.
We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any other insight, please share them with us in the comments section below. And don’t forget to spread the word by sharing this article with others!