VA Benefits Agencies

VA Benefits Agencies

There are several avenues available to you for appealing a denial of your veteran’s benefits claim. While the process of dealing with the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) or DOD (Department of Defense) has become less cumbersome in recent years, it can still be time-consuming. In fact, since 2008, the VA has grappled with a backlog of over 500,000 pending claims and another 90,000 appeals, which may explain why processing your claim might take longer.

On average, new claims for disability compensation and pensions through the VA take approximately six months to process, while appeals can stretch on for years.

The Two Main Benefits Agencies

While other agencies do exist, the two main agencies responsible for handling most veteran’s benefits issues are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

Additional agencies include the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which oversees the veterans’ preference program for government jobs, and the Small Business Administration, which manages the veterans’ small business loan program.

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Since its inception in 1930, the VA has expanded with an annual budget of approximately $86 billion and employees 230,000 people, operating 1,357 facilities such as regional offices, vet centers, medical centers, and outpatient clinics across the country.

Some benefit claims administered by the VA include:

  • VA healthcare (detailed in Chapter 4)
  • Disability compensation (detailed in Chapter 6)
  • GI Bill education program (detailed in Chapter 10)
  • VA Pensions (detailed in Chapter 6)
  • Veteran survivor benefits (detailed in Chapter 8)

The VA healthcare program serves around 5.3 million registered veterans, while over 3.7 million veterans receive disability compensation and pensions. Each year, the VA handles an average of 805,000 new claims for disability compensation or pensions.

Counselors are available at VA veteran’s centers to assist those with questions or in need of help. Service members must contact the VA regional offices closest to their residence for most matters, except for medical care, which requires applying through a VA medical center.

The Department of Defense and military services

Individuals with 20 years or more of military service can retire from the military and apply for benefits with the Department of Defense (DOD) or their respective military service branch. The DOD encompasses five military branches:

  • Army
  • Air Force
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Coast Guard

Each of these branches has both an active-duty section (full-time service) and a reserve section (part-time service). Additionally, the National Guard operates in conjunction with the Army and Air Force and falls under individual state jurisdiction.

What the DOD covers

For detailed information on military retiree benefits, please refer to Chapter 15, which requires a military retiree identification card. Those eligible, including family members, can obtain this card at the Pass & ID section of any military base, even if it’s not their parent service base, simplifying the process.

The DOD covers benefits such as:

  • Military retirement pay
  • Shopping and travel benefits
  • Military healthcare, or Tricare
  • Combat-related special compensation

For assistance with retiree payment concerns, veterans should contact the relevant branch of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) rather than visiting a military base. You can reach the DFAS at 800-321-1080 or visit their website at The DFAS website offers myPay, a program that provides access to retiree pay accounts, allowing you to make necessary changes if needed.

  • donna rachal
    Posted at 00:47h, 03 March

    my husband, ronnie rachal, (XXX-XX-7676) was receiving VA checks every month then they stopped the check starting this month….they claim that we owe roughly $84,000 to them; claimed that i, donna rachal, his wife, worked at home health center which i don’t never have and i am using power chair and am unable to work at all…..we have tried and tried to communicate with them; filled out forms after forms and i was working another one; financial status form til the check didn’t come in…..i don’t know what to do now but being upset because of this……$84,000?? where does that come from??? my husband’s phone number is 318-678-9946…only i can communicate is email, text, and chats……my husband does have problem by being confused because of questions they answer is no where we could understand where its coming from……..we need help here… there someone can help us??? our budget are super tight…..

  • Eugenia Smith
    Posted at 07:15h, 24 February

    I have 0% are my children allowed to go to college for free?

  • Doyle Jones
    Posted at 17:10h, 17 February

    I am 100% P&T.

  • Doyle Jones
    Posted at 17:09h, 17 February

    How do I locate and submit VA Form 22-5490 on dependents college money?


  • Richard Kelly
    Posted at 23:41h, 02 January

    This is Richard Kelly, file #310KC00005.
    I tried to call you but you keep hanging up on me.
    I am not a veteran and I never been in the military service. I don’t understand how and why I owe you $3,017.60 and I don’t see $3,017.60 deposited in my account last year. If you did, why did you deposit in my account without my approval and I never sign for the money. I never apply for the money. I’m sure you got the wrong Richard Kelly who never serve in the military.
    Please, correct this problem. If I can’t get any reply from you by phone or this e-mail, I assume this is a scam who is trying to rip me off.

    I will try to call again and please answer, don’t hang up on me.

  • James Gallagher
    Posted at 21:22h, 10 November

    I call to VA and tried w make an appointment for my husband to Social workers. About my husband diagnosis PTSD. And we waiting for transfer about 5 minutes and no one there. So, would you please someone call give us a call. 480-234-0465 Because we live in Globe AZ. Thank you very much.

    Mei Han Gallagher 11-10-2015

    • Veteran Assistance
      Posted at 21:13h, 16 November

      Unfortunately, we are not able to control the response time of phone calls. You may find more information on how to directly contact a local office. Most government offices close at 4 p.m. Check this out for more help:

  • Donald A Bacha
    Posted at 23:28h, 08 November

    I like to enroll for the VA, I served from 1974 to 1978 in the Navy. How do I go about this

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