A broad range of state and federal benefits are available to many of the veterans who live in the state of Utah. The services and benefits were developed on both the state and federal level to assist former military service members in the transition to civilian life and to address issues that are often specific to veterans and their families. Among these benefits are housing, educational needs, health care and civilian employment. The Veterans Affairs (VA) office along with other governmental departments in Utah, work in tandem to maintain and develop the programs. Veterans who believe they may be eligible for the services listed below should start by speaking to their military liaison officer or by going/calling the local VA administrative offices. Not all of the services and benefits listed below will be available to all veterans. Some restrictions and requirements for the services do apply. The following list is an overview of the kinds of services and benefits that are available for veterans in Utah.
Veterans Education Benefits in Utah
There are a number of educational benefits that Utah veterans may access. Some of the education benefits are federally issued, such as the GI Bill, while others are state based. For most educational benefits to be realized, a veteran will need to receive a certificate of eligibility, or COE. This certificate is presented to the university when meeting with the financial aid department.
Utah GI Bill
The GI Bill in Utah has several different programs, each paying for different lengths of time, and varying in amounts. Service members may qualify for at least 36 academic months of benefits, and may receive up to 48 months when combined. The Post-9/11 GI Bill may offer a different amount than the Montgomery GI Bill. Each of these GI bills require a certain amount of time of military service, some require that the service member have contributed at least $100 for the first year in active duty (or qualify with VEAP conversion), while others who served in the National Guard will receive reduced monetary sums. Not all colleges participate or accept the GI Bill, so students should speak with the financial aid department in the prospective school.
Federal Student Aid for Utah Military Personnel
Many nonprofit groups, as well as the federal government, offer educational funding to veterans. Students who have been involved in reserve officer’s training corps (ROTC) can qualify for a scholarship based on merit and not financial need.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Dependents of a service member who died in the line of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan (post 911), can qualify for this grant. The student must be 23 years old, or younger, and be enrolled at least part time.
Federal Pell Grants
Pell Grants are offered to nonmilitary students, but the veteran will receive additional consideration when the application is evaluated. The expected family contribution (EFC) is reduced automatically to zero and maximizes the eligibility for award amounts.
Utah Veterans Employment Services
All veterans are offered a preferred status when applying for government jobs. In Utah, the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) lists all of the current openings. Veterans are given preferential treatment when applying. In Utah, the governor along with the DWS created a veteran-friendly program to acknowledge the efforts of employers who hire veterans. The program is called the Utah Patriot Partnership Program. The Veterans Employment Center maintains 1.5 million listings in Utah and within the U.S. These jobs are those submitted by employers and organizations who wish to hire servicemen and women.
Health Care for Utah Veterans
The Veteran’s Administration is one of the largest, and long standing, health care systems in the U.S. The VA also offers a VISN network, which is the Veterans Integrated Service Network. These networks provide health care services through regional offices. In Utah, the VA regional office is called the VISN 19, Rocky Mountain Network. Within this network there is a medical center, three Vet Centers and six outpatient clinics where Utah veterans can go for assistance. The state of Utah maintains four veterans’ homes, located in Ivins, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Payson. A veteran, and in most instances, his or her spouse, qualify for nursing home care can get coverage depending on type of service, length of service, if the veteran is considered a combat veteran and whether or not the veteran has service related disabilities.
Utah Veterans Housing Assistance Programs
Utah is very committed to making sure that its veterans have adequate housing. There are a number of programs, state and federally based, that veterans can access.
HUD-VASH in Utah
The VA in combination with the Housing and Urban Development Department issues housing choice vouchers to low-income veterans and their families. These rental assistance vouchers allow the veteran and his or her family to find privately owned housing that will accept the vouchers. Case managers will work with veterans to connect them with additional support services when needed.
VA loans are mortgage loans that are guaranteed by the U.S. Veteran’s Administration. This offers long-term financing to service members so that they can purchase a new home or repair an existing one. One of the major advantages of the VA loan is there is no down payment.