Learning about retiree veterans’ benefits

Ask NJMoneyHelp

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Q. I am retired with over 20 years in the U.S. Army, including three years in Vietnam. What entitlements do I have?
— Soldier

A. Thank you for your service.

First note that your benefits will be based on your service, so it’s essential that you get in touch with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs about the benefits that are specific to your situation.

There are some VA retirement benefits that may overlap with common veteran’s benefits, said Altair Gobo, a certified financial planner with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

He said retirees receive a few extra benefits that are only available to those with 20 years of service.

“Hopefully, you have applied for your veterans retirement ID card,” he said. “This DD Form 2 ID card provides many services: legal, education, commissaries as well as discounts at restaurants and stores.”

He said you should be sure to contact Veterans Affairs to determine what military retirement benefits you are entitled to receive.

“These benefits include Retirement Pay, Disability, Veterans Group Life Insurance, Long Term Care, VA Home Loan, VA Health Care and VA Dental Care,” Gobo said. “You may even be eligible for free income tax preparation through the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance offices on military bases.”

Many companies offer discounts to veterans, Gobo said.

These may be available for car rentals, from insurance companies, entertainment, fitness, travel/hotel, restaurants, computers/electronics and more, Gobo said. Plus, many of the major auto and computer companies offer some type of discounts. He said you can look online and find discounts available from companies like Ford, Apple, Home Depot, Costco, Kohls, AT&T, Verizon and many more.

Also, Gobo recommends, visit local veteran’s websites to get information on state and local benefits offered in your area.

And don’t forget about the new tax benefit coming for veterans in New Jersey for the 2017 tax year.

Email your questions to moc.p1513546028leHye1513546028noMJN1513546028@ksA1513546028.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.