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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What Veterans’ Benefits are Available to Me in California?

Few Americans do more to earn the benefits of their citizenship than active duty military veterans.  Most people are aware that Congress has approved a special set of benefits for veterans in return for the service they have provided, but fewer are aware that the State of California has also created its own set of special benefits for the 1.8 million veterans who live here.  If you have questions about your eligibility for veteran’s benefits or are having trouble accessing those benefits, it may be helpful to talk with a public benefits lawyer. In the meantime, take a look at some of the benefits available to veterans in California.

Housing Benefits

With nearly 2 million veterans living in California, CalVet (the California Department of Veterans Affairs) works with veterans in every conceivable housing situation, from veterans looking to purchase a single family home to veterans who have been living on the street for years.  CalVet has three primary programs to address this wide spectrum.

  • Home Loans

For veterans who are in the market to purchase a home, CalVet offers home loans at interest rates below the market rate that require little or no down payment, and even offers assistance navigating the home buyers’ market.

  • Homes

CalVet also has a set of 8 veterans’ homes located across the state that are designed to provide aging and disabled veterans with supportive and medical services to enable them to live in a home-like environment.  These facilities feature a variety of levels of care, from outpatient medical clinics to independent living to nursing home-style care.

  • Homeless services

Finally, CalVet is aware that approximately 19,000 veterans living in California are homeless, so they offer several programs designed to help veterans combat homelessness.  In addition to supportive services to address challenges created by homelessness, many California counties also feature homeless veterans’ courts and/or “Stand Downs” to help veterans resolve outstanding misdemeanor warrants.  

Employment Benefits

California also provides several benefits to veterans that are designed to help them secure and maintain appropriate employment.  For instance, veterans can receive preferential treatment when applying for many positions within the state government, and CalVet also offers assistance connecting job seekers with private employers looking to hire veterans.  Veterans who are in sales are also eligible to receive waivers of taxes and fees associated with obtaining the necessary licenses or permits to lawfully engage in a sales business.  Finally, the Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (or DVBE) program helps veterans make their businesses more competitive when bidding on state contracts.

Education Benefits

California supports veterans’ education by supplementing the federal GI Bill with a tuition and fee waiver for veterans at California Community Colleges, California State University campuses, and University of California campuses.  Additionally, CalVet’s Troops to College program focuses on helping veterans and their families increase their successes by overcoming the challenges of returning to civilian life (such as combat stress or PTSD).

Although veterans who have had bad experiences with the VA might be gun shy about getting involved with another government veterans agency, CalVet offers a collection of benefits to veterans beyond those offered by the federal VA that can be extremely helpful when transitioning to civilian life.  Navigating the various agencies in order to secure these benefits can sometimes be complicated, which is why our attorneys specialize in working with veterans to help them obtain the benefits they have earned.  If you are a California veteran and would like to speak with an attorney about the benefits available to you, contact the Law Offices of Berge & Berge today.

 


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