In California, a range of special benefits is available to Service members, Veterans, and their families, including exemptions from property taxes for disabled Veterans, participation in the California National Guard Tuition Scholarship Program, educational support, and tuition assistance. Additionally, specialized vehicle tags and extended privileges for hunting and fishing licenses are provided. Eligibility for these benefits may vary based on factors like residency, military affiliation, and the disability status of the Veteran. The following are benefits for the state of California.
California Veteran Financial Benefits
California Taxes on Military Pay: Military pay earned by California resident Service members stationed outside of California is not subject to state income tax. However, military pay received by a resident Service member stationed within California is subject to state income tax.
California Taxes on Retired Military Pay: Military retirement pay received by residents of California is subject to taxation by the state of California. Regarding the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), it does not automatically withhold state or local income taxes, but it is reported annually on IRS Form 1099-R. All TSP distributions are liable to state taxes, and early withdrawals may result in increased tax obligation.
California Taxes on Military Disability Retirement Pay: Income from military disability retirement pay, provided as a pension, annuity, or a similar allowance due to personal injury or illness resulting from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces, is typically not considered taxable income. This includes a range of payments classified as disability benefits, such as:
- Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid to Veterans or their families
- Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living
- Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lost their sight or the use of limbs, or
- Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.
California State Taxes on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC): DIC (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation) is a financial benefit that is exempt from taxation and is provided to qualified survivors of military Service members who lost their lives in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose passing was the result of a service-connected injury or illness.
Military Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/ Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)/ Retired Serviceman’s Family Protection Plan (RSFPP) California State Tax Benefits: SBP, RCSBP and RSFPP annuities are taxed in California.
California Income Tax Exemption for Nonresident Military Spouses: A nonresident Service member’s spouse may be exempt from paying California taxes on income earned while stationed in California.
- Service member must be a resident of another state or territory
- Service member is in California in compliance with military orders
- Spouse is in California only to be with the Service member
- Spouse is a resident of the same state or territory as the Service member
California Income Tax Exclusion for Combat Pay and Extension to File: Military pay received by a resident Service member serving on active duty in a combat zone or a Qualified Hazardous Duty Area (QHDA), which is already excluded from their federal adjusted gross income, is also exempt from California income tax.
Service members have a grace period of 180 days from their return from a combat zone, in addition to the number of days spent in a combat zone or QHDA during the filing period, to submit their state tax return.
California Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption: The California Veterans’ Exemption offers a property tax exemption for eligible Service members, Veterans, and their eligible family members, with a maximum exemption of up to $4,000. To be eligible for this exemption, the applicant must not possess property (whether real or personal) valued at more than $5,000 if single or $10,000 if married. Additionally, those seeking this exemption must have been California residents on January 1 of the year in which they apply.
California Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemptions: The Disabled Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption reduces the property tax on the principal residence of eligible disabled Veterans and their Surviving Spouses.
There are two levels of the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption:
- Basic Exemption – $161,083, available to all eligible (only required to apply once)
- Low-Income Exemption – $241,627, available to those who have a combined household income of $72,335 or less for the previous year (must apply each year)
California Business License, Tax and Fee Waiver for Veterans: Honorably discharged Veterans who hawk, peddle, or vend any goods, wares, or merchandise (not services) are exempt from municipal, county, and state business license fees, taxes, or other fees. This exemption does not apply to alcoholic beverages.
Veterans must provide proof they received an honorable discharge to the local county/city licensing authority. Eligibility criteria may differ based upon local jurisdictions.
California Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) offers Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing and Hunting Licenses and Recovering Service Member Fishing and Hunting Licenses to eligible Service members and Veterans.
California Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing and Hunting Licenses: Veterans who have been honorably discharged and carry a service-connected disability rating from the VA of 50% or higher are eligible to acquire a discounted fee for a Disabled Veteran Sport Fishing or Hunting license, priced at $9.46 each. To qualify for this benefit, Veterans must furnish a VA-certified letter confirming their honorable discharge and a disability rating of 50% or higher.
California Recovering Service Member Sport Fishing and Hunting Licenses: Service members in either an active or reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces who are in outpatient status, receiving medical treatment or therapy during their recovery from a service-connected serious injury or illness, are eligible to obtain a Recovering Service Member Sport Fishing or Hunting license at a reduced cost of $9.46 each. Eligible Service members must provide a letter from their commanding officer or a military medical doctor confirming their eligibility.
Both Veterans and Service members must complete a prequalification process for the Disabled Veteran and Recovering Service member licenses prior to applying. To prequalify, applicants are required to provide the following information:
- Driver’s license
- GO (Get Outdoors) ID number (new customers must register for an account to purchase licenses
- Required official documentation of eligibility
- Telephone number
- Email address (optional, may process quicker)
- Proof of hunter education (for hunting licenses only)
California State Parks, Free Lifetime Distinguished Veteran Pass: The California State Park Distinguished Veteran Pass is a complimentary lifetime pass offered to eligible Veterans. This pass grants access to all fundamental amenities, encompassing day use, camping, and boating, within California State Parks, without any fees. It is essential to renew the Distinguished Veteran Pass every five years.
California College Tuition Fee Waivers for Veterans’ Dependents: The California College Fee Waivers for Veterans’ Dependents waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. This program does not cover books, parking, or room and board.
Plan A: For a Veteran’s dependents to be eligible the Veteran must have served at least one day on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during a wartime period or during any time the Veteran was awarded a campaign or expeditionary medal. This benefit cannot be used with VA educational benefits.
- Child of a Veteran who has a total service-connected disability rating or who died from a service-connected cause
- The child must be between 15 and 26 years old. If the child is a Veteran the age limit is extended to age 30; the Veteran’s qualifying event (date of disability award or date of death) must have occurred before the child turns 21
- Spouse of a Veteran who has a total service-connected disability rating or the unremarried surviving spouse of a Veteran who died from a service-connected cause (no age limit)
- Spouse or child of a Veteran who has been declared missing in action, captured in the line of duty by hostile forces, or forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by a foreign government or power
Plan B: Children are the only dependents eligible under this plan. The following requirements must be met for a Veteran’s child to be eligible:
- Child of a Veteran who has a service-connected disability or had a service-connected disability at the time of death or died from a service-connected cause
- A child’s annual income, which includes their adjusted gross income and support provided by a parent, must be below the federal poverty level
- Wartime service is not required and there is no age requirement
- May be used with VA educational benefits
Plan C: The spouse or child of a Service member serving in the California National Guard is eligible in the following circumstances:
- Service member was serving on state active duty who while in the line of duty:
- Was killed
- Died from a disability from an event that occurred while on state active duty (surviving spouses must remain unremarried to be eligible)
- Permanently disabled from an event that occurred while on state active duty
Plan D: Medal of Honor recipients and Children of Medal of Honor recipients (under age 27) who are below the federal poverty level are eligible. Plan D benefits are limited to undergraduate studies only and may be used with VA educational benefits.
California Nonresident College Fee Waiver: The Nonresident College Fee Waiver waives nonresident fees at all California College System Campuses for eligible Veterans, Service members and Dependents.
Students who meet the following requirements are eligible for resident fees:
- Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and was stationed in California for more than one year immediately prior to discharge; valid for the length of time the Veteran lives in California, up to the minimum time needed to become a resident
- Undergraduate student who is a Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in California, does not apply to Service members assigned to a state-supported institution of higher education
- Undergraduate student dependent of a Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in California
- Graduate student who is an active duty Service member stationed in California; does not apply to Service members assigned to a state-supported institution of higher education; there is a two-year limit for graduate-level studies
- Graduate student dependent of a Service member serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in California, there is a one-year limit for graduate level studies
California Military Department GI Bill Award Program (CMD GI BILL): The CMD GI BILL offers educational financial assistance to eligible Service members serving in the California National Guard. The CMD GI BILL will provide up to 100% of the tuition and fees at a California College System Campus and participating private, grant-eligible, educational institutions.
Who is eligible for the CMD GI BILL? Service members must meet the following requirements to be eligible:
- An active member of the California National Guard while receiving CMD GI BILL funds
- Must enroll in at least three academic units per term
- Maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, annually
- California resident for tuition purposes
- May be used for a certificate, degree, or diploma that is currently not held
- Participants who enter the program during or after the 2020-2021 academic year must:
- Serve two years in the California National Guard after completion of the last academic term they used CMD GI Bill funds
- Complete course of study within 10 years of initial acceptance into the program
- May be used to complete only one degree at the bachelor, graduate, or doctoral level
California Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children (MIC3): The purpose of this compact is to remove barriers to educational success imposed on children of military families because of frequent moves and deployment of their parents by:
- Facilitating the prompt enrollment of children of military families and ensuring that they are not placed at a disadvantage due to difficulty in the transfer of educational records from the previous school district or variations in entrance or age requirements
- Facilitating the student placement process through which children of military families are not disadvantaged by variations in attendance requirements, scheduling, sequencing, grading, course content, or assessment. Facilitating the qualification and eligibility for enrollment, educational programs, and participation in extracurricular academic, athletic, and social activities
- Facilitating the on-time graduation of children of military families
- Providing for the enforcement of administrative rules implementing the provisions of this compact
- Providing for the uniform collection and sharing of information between and among member states, schools, and military families under this compact
- Promoting coordination between this compact and other compacts affecting military children
- Promoting flexibility and cooperation between the educational system, parents, and the student in order to achieve educational success for the student
California Purple Star School Designation Program for Military-Friendly Schools: The California Purple Star School Designation Program recognizes schools that show a major commitment to students and families connected to the U.S. Armed Forces.
For a school to qualify for the Purple Star Award they must appoint a school liaison that is specially trained to handle the unique challenges experienced by military families. This liaison will ensure that other teachers at their school are aware of special considerations that students from military families can benefit from. Each school will also have a dedicated page on their school website featuring resources for military families
HOUSING: THE FOLLOWING ARE THE SITES FOR VETERANS HOMES
ELIGIBILITY FOR ADMISSION:
- Veterans must have an honorable discharge
- Veterans must be 55 years or older (age requirement is waived for disabled or homeless veterans needing long-term care)
EMPLOYMENT AND JOB TRAINING: VETERAN’S PREFERENCE
California State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference: By Federal law, Veterans who are disabled or who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-Veterans in hiring into the Federal civil service and in retention during reduction in force. Veterans may be entitled to 5 or 10 points included in any scoring process for examination or interviews. California provides Veterans’ Preference to eligible Veterans, as well as their Spouse or Surviving Spouse, during the state employment hiring process. This preference can be applied to open and non-promotional applications submitted by eligible applicants.
Applicants who achieve a passing score on a civil service examination are positioned at the forefront of the ensuing eligibility list. It’s important to note that Veterans’ Preference is not extended once an individual attains permanent civil service status.
5-point Hiring Preference: Five points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served:
- During a war, or
- During the period April 28, 1952, through July 1, 1955, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976, or
- During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992, or
- For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred during the period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on August 31, 2010, the last day of Operation Iraqi Freedom, or
- In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Southwest Asia, Somalia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference
10-point Compensable Disability (CP) Preference: Ten points are added to the examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30%.
10-Point 30% Compensable Disability Preference (CPS):Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of a Veteran who served at any time and who has a compensable service-connected disability rating of 30% or more.
10-Point Disability Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of:
- A Veteran who served at any time and has a present service-connected disability or is receiving compensation, disability retirement benefits, or pension from the military or the VA but does not qualify as a CP or CPS, or
- A Veteran who received a Purple Heart
10-Point Derived Preference (XP): Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of Spouses, Surviving Spouses, or mothers of Veterans. Both a mother and a Spouse (including Surviving Spouse) may be entitled to preference based on the same Veteran’s service if they both meet the requirements. However, neither may receive preference if the Veteran is living and is qualified for Federal employment.
Ten points are added to the passing examination score or rating of the Spouse of a disabled Veteran who is disqualified for a federal position along the general lines of their usual occupation because of a service-connected disability. Such a disqualification may be presumed when the Veteran is unemployed and:
- Is rated by appropriate military or VA authorities to be 100% disabled and/or unemployable, or
- Has retired, been separated, or resigned from a civil service position because of a disability that is service-connected in origin, or
- Has attempted to obtain a civil service position or other position along the lines of their usual occupation and has failed to qualify because of a service-connected disability
Preference may be allowed in other circumstances but anything less than the above warrants a more careful analysis.
A campaign medal holder or Gulf War Veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980, (or began active duty on or after October 14, 1982, and has not previously completed 24 months of continuous active duty) must have served continuously for 24 months or the full period called or ordered to active duty. The 24-month service requirement does not apply to 10-point preference eligible Veterans separated for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or to Veterans separated for hardship or other reasons under Title 10 U.S.C. 1171 or 1173.
Who is eligible for California State Employment Veterans’ Hiring Preference? The following applicants are eligible for Veterans’ preference:
- Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for 30 days or more during a time of war, or in peace time when a campaign or expeditionary medal was authorized and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
- Veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 181 consecutive days and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable
- Surviving Spouse of an eligible Veteran
- Spouse of a 100% disabled Veteran
Veterans’ Preference in Promotional Exams: Veterans who retired from the U.S. Armed Forces or were honorably discharged from active duty and are eligible to compete in promotional examinations may have their names placed on the promotion eligibility list.
Veterans must meet the minimum qualifications for the promotion and receive a passing score on the examination to be eligible.
California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program: The DVBE Program aims to assist certified disabled Veteran-owned businesses in competing for state contracts. California has established a goal of allocating 3% of all state contracts to certified DVBE businesses. Through the DVBE option, state agencies are able to enter direct contracts with certified DVBEs for goods, services, and information technology goods and services with values ranging from $5,000.01 to $249,999.99 (or up to $388,000 for public works contracts). Certification within this program typically lasts for two years.
The DVBE Program provides the following assistance:
- Assist certified DVBE businesses throughout the contracting process
- Assist contract officers looking for DVBE businesses to participate in contracts and purchasing
- Provide information to businesses or agencies regarding DVBE
- Serve as an advocate for the disabled Veteran businesses
- Reporting violations of the California Military and Veterans Code
California Business License Tax and Fee Waiver:
Veterans who have been honorably discharged and engage in the sale of goods, wares, or merchandise (excluding services) are eligible for an exemption from municipal, county, and state business license fees, taxes, or related fees. It’s important to note that this exemption does not cover alcoholic beverages.
To qualify for this exemption, Veterans are required to furnish evidence of their honorable discharge to the relevant county or city licensing authority. It’s essential to be aware that eligibility criteria may vary depending on local jurisdictions.
California State Employee Military Leave: California offers several different types of military leave for state employees who are serving in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces. A short description of these types of leave are listed below.
Short-Term Military Leave: California state permanent, probationary, limited-term, or temporary employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for short-term military leave for six months or less.
Short term military leave can be granted for:
- Annual training such as active duty military training, encampment and special exercises
- Inactive duty (unpaid) such as scheduled drill periods
Service members are authorized one additional day for travel unless their orders authorize more travel time.
Long-Term Military Leave: California state permanent and probationary employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and are ordered to active duty for six months or more are eligible for long-term military leave for up to five years. U.S. Code, Title 38, Section 4312 [c] does offer some exceptions to the five year time limit in certain circumstances.
Service members must begin their active duty within 90 calendar days after the last day worked, or the last day of vacation or time off used before reporting for active duty. Service members are authorized to receive their state salary for the first 30 days of the long-term military leave. The Service member has six months from the date of discharge from active duty to return to work.
Emergency Military Leave: California state employees who are members of the California National Guard and are ordered to state active duty are eligible for emergency military leave.
The length of emergency military leave is the period of active duty plus one day for travel going to and returning from the Service members duty location unless their orders authorize additional travel time.
Service members must begin their active duty within 10 calendar days after the last day worked, or the last day of vacation or time off used before reporting for duty. Service members are authorized to receive their state salary for the first 30 days of the emergency military leave.
Permanent or probationary state employees must return to work within 14 calendar days after the end of their military leave. Limited-term or temporary state employee must return work within 10 calendar days after the end of their military leave.
War or National Emergency Leave: California state employees who are members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces and are ordered to federal active duty are eligible for war or national emergency leave.
The length of emergency military leave is the period of federal active duty plus one day for travel going to and returning from the Service members duty location, unless their orders authorize additional travel time.
Service members must begin their active duty within 10 calendar days after the last day worked, or the last day of vacation or time off used before reporting for duty. Service members are authorized to receive their state salary for the first 30 days of the emergency military leave.
California State Employment Differential Pay for Reserve Component Service Members Ordered to Federal Active Duty: Reserve component Service members are eligible for the difference between their military pay and their state salary when ordered to federal active duty due to the War on Terror or due to a presidential determination of national emergency following the September 11, 2001, attack.
War on Terror: State employees who are reserve component Service members ordered to federal active duty after September 11, 2001, in support of the War on Terror, are authorized to receive the difference between their military pay and their state salary (not including hazardous duty pay, hostile fire pay, or imminent danger pay).
Service members can receive this differential pay for a total of 760 days. Service members will continue to be eligible for salary changes based on:
- General salary adjustments
- Labor marked adjustments
- Merit salary adjustments
- Special in-grade salary adjustments
Service members can continue to receive health, dental, and vision care benefits for up to 730 calendar days. Vacation and sick leave will continue to accrue during war or national emergency leave for up to 24 months.
Presidential Determination: State employees who are reserve component Service members ordered to federal active duty by a presidential determination after September 11, 2001, are authorized to receive the difference between their military pay and their state salary for 180 days. The Service member will continue to be eligible for merit salary adjustments and continue to be eligible for all benefits they are entitled to, had they not been called to active duty.
California Employment Development Department, Employment Assistance for Veterans: The California Employment Development Department (EDD) plays a vital role in aiding Veterans, Service members transitioning out of the U.S. Armed Forces, and eligible Spouses by providing comprehensive employment training and placement services. EDD personnel conduct an initial assessment to determine the most suitable services, which may include self-service, group sessions, or one-on-one assistance. Furthermore, Veterans gain exclusive 24-hour access to job listings before they are made available to the general public.
Within EDD, there are specialized teams such as Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialists, Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives (LVER), and Consolidated Veteran Representatives, who assume combined responsibilities. They focus on delivering tailored services to Veterans, Service members, and Spouses to facilitate their reentry into the workforce. These highly trained professionals offer a wide range of support, including employment services, job training, vocational education, supportive services, and participation in community college programs.
LVERs concentrate on individualized job development services for Veterans who are deemed job-ready. Their duties encompass outreach to employers, assistance with job development contacts, coordination of job search workshops, and the establishment of job search groups to enhance employment prospects for Veterans.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: USERRA safeguards the employment rights and benefits of both Veterans and members of reserve components in their civilian jobs. This act also reinforces the rights and benefits of Service members by providing clarity to the law, enhancing enforcement mechanisms, and expanding its coverage to include Federal Government employees who are now eligible to receive Department of Labor assistance in processing claims.
Absence from Work for Military Duty:USERRA sets the maximum duration for an individual’s military duty-related absence while preserving reemployment rights at five years. There are exceptions to this five-year limit, which encompass cases like initial enlistments lasting beyond five years, periodic National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces Reserve training obligations, and involuntary active duty extensions and recalls, particularly during national emergencies. USERRA emphasizes that reemployment protection is not contingent on factors like the timing, frequency, duration, or nature of a person’s military service, as long as they meet the fundamental eligibility criteria.
Disability Accommodation: USERRA offers safeguards for disabled Veterans, mandating that employers make reasonable accommodations for their disabilities. Service members in recovery from injuries sustained during service or training are granted a window of up to two years from the date of service completion to either return to their previous jobs or seek reemployment.
Return to Work without Loss of Seniority: USERRA dictates that returning Service members are to be reinstated in the job they would have reached had they not been absent for military service. This includes reinstating them with the same seniority, status, pay, and the rights and benefits determined by seniority. Furthermore, USERRA mandates that reasonable efforts, such as training or retraining, should be undertaken to assist returning Service members in refreshing or upgrading their skills to qualify for reemployment.
Additionally, USERRA acknowledges that while an individual is engaged in military service, they are considered to be on a furlough or leave of absence, entitling them to the non-seniority rights granted to other individuals on non-military leaves of absence.
Extension of Health and Pension Plans: USERRA safeguards the health and pension plan coverage for Service members. Those engaged in military duty for over 30 days have the option to maintain their employer-sponsored health care for a duration of up to 24 months. However, they may be obligated to cover up to 102% of the full premium.
In cases of military service lasting less than 31 days, health care coverage is provided as if the Service member had continued their employment. USERRA provides clarity regarding pension plan coverage, explicitly ensuring the protection of all pension plans.
BURIALS AND MEMORIALS
The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) pays tribute to eligible Veterans and their family members by providing a final resting place and a lasting memorial to commemorate the Veteran’s dedicated service to the nation.
The burial benefits encompass a gravesite in any of our open cemeteries with available space, the opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a government-furnished headstone or marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, all at no cost to the family. Some Veterans may also meet the criteria for a burial allowance. Cremated remains are interred or inurned in national cemeteries with the same honors and respect as casketed remains.
Burial benefits extend to eligible spouses and dependents, including burial alongside the Veteran and perpetual care of the interment site. The name and relevant dates of birth and death of the spouse or dependent are inscribed on the Veteran’s headstone at no expense to the family. Importantly, spouses and qualified dependents are eligible for burial even if they pass away before the Veteran and are not required to be interred in the same national cemetery as the Veteran.
National Cemeteries include:
Los Angeles: Los Angeles National Cemetery
Riverside: Riverside National Cemetery
San Bruno: Golden Gate National Cemetery
San Diego: Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
San Diego: Miramar National Cemetery
San Francisco: San Francisco National Cemetery
Santa Nella: San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery
CALIFORNIA VA BENEFIT RESOURCES
California provides Veterans with a District Benefits Office and several Regional Benefit Offices, along with VA Medical Centers.
CALIFORNIA VA DISTRICT BENEFITS OFFICE
- Oakland: Pacific District
CALIFORNIA VA REGIONAL BENEFITS OFFICE
- Los Angeles: Los Angeles Regional Office
- San Diego: San Diego Regional Office
- Oakland: Oakland Regional Office
CALIFORNIA VA MEDICAL CENTERS
- Fresno: Central California VA Health Care System
- Livermore: Livermore
- Loma Linda: VA Loma Linda Healthcare System
- Long Beach: VA Long Beach Healthcare System
- Los Angeles: VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLA)
- Mather: VA Northern California Health Care System
- Menlo Park: Menlo Park
- Palo Alto: VA Palo Alto Health Care System
- San Diego: VA San Diego Healthcare System
Important information for California Veteran Benefits:
For Veterans applying for VA benefits for the first time, it’s crucial to submit a copy of your DD 214 (discharge paperwork). This document provides vital information about your discharge status, including your full name, social security number, branch of service, and the dates of your service. Honorable and general discharges typically qualify a Veteran for most VA benefits.
It is highly advisable to securely retain your paperwork, along with your medical records, in a place that is easily accessible to you and your family. It’s imperative to store these documents in a location where they are safeguarded against damage or tampering, such as a secure safe.
Eligibility for most VA benefits is contingent upon a discharge from active military service under conditions other than dishonorable. Active service pertains to full-time service as a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or as a commissioned officer of the Public Health Service, the Environmental Services Administration, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Notably, Veterans who received a “Dishonorable” discharge due to bad conduct discharges issued by general courts-martial may be ineligible for VA benefits. However, some Veterans in prison and those on parole may still qualify for specific VA benefits. VA regional offices are equipped to clarify the eligibility criteria for prisoners, parolees, and individuals with multiple discharges issued under varying conditions.
*This information is accurate as of October 2023
CALIFORNIA VETERAN BENEFITS
If you are a disabled Veteran in California and are VA rated 90% or less, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Contact Veterans Guardian for a free consultation with no obligation. Let us review your claim to determine whether you qualify for additional benefits.