In honor of Veterans Day, we here at FindLaw would like to take a moment to thank the men and women who work hard and make extraordinary sacrifices to protect our country every day.
It's not easy to be a soldier, and the law is supposed to ensure that our veterans are taken care of once they return home. But unfortunately that's not the case for everyone who returns to civilian life, unless they're armed with information about what their rights really are.
There are many legal rights specific to veterans, and there are ways to make sure they're enforced. Here are three of the most important veteran's rights you should know about:
- Disability Benefits. If you have a service-connected disability that prevents you from working, you are entitled to disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But to claim those benefits, you have to apply and prove that your disability is service-connected. In some cases that's pretty easy, but for others it may require a few doctor visits and putting together some paperwork. If you're struggling to get your benefits, don't give up. There are attorneys who specialize in helping people get their benefits, and they can help you too.
- Employment Rights. The job market isn't at its best right now. For veterans who have been serving our country at the expense of a few years of job experience, it can be even more difficult. But as a veteran, you may be entitled to job training; if you held a job before your deployment, you may have a right to reemployment. Plus, employers are not permitted to discriminate against you because of your service record. That's of course in addition to regular hiring protections. Not sure what those are? Check out FindLaw's free mini guide on your rights during the hiring process.
- Medical care. It's true that service members and their families are entitled to free medical care while on active duty, but veterans are not automatically given free health care. For veterans with a service-connected disability and for those who qualify as low-income, however, free medical care is guaranteed. For other veterans, low-cost medical care is available through the military's benefits plan, though members must sign up soon after they leave service. While any veteran can receive medical care at a VA hospital, it's subject to available resources and not guaranteed.
If you're a veteran looking for further assistance or information, the National Veterans Foundation has resources to help. If needed, you can also connect with a local attorney through our free online directory.
- A guide to veterans' employment rights (Daily Journal of Commerce)
- Military Service & Immigration (FindLaw)
- For Veteran's Day: Tax Breaks for Hiring Vets (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Courts for Veterans Forming Across the Nation: A New Form of Justice (FindLaw's Common Law)