Qualification for VA Benefits
These are the most basic requirements to qualify to submit a benefits claim with the US Department of Veteran's Affairs
The applicant has served in a branch of the military or qualified federal administrative agencyThe VA recognizes "a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released there from under conditions other than dishonorable" as eligible for benefits. Service in one of the "Big Five" qualify: US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard. However, there are other services that may qualify you as well, such as full time service as a commissioned officer in NOAA, ESSA or Public Health Service.
The applicant must have "active" serviceIn its simplest form, active service is any full-time status in one of the "Big Five" (see Section 1) or one of the other government organizations that mat qualify. This gets tricky with National Guard and Reserve because veterans and surviving dependents are only eligible if the action or incident that led to the claim occurred while on full time active duty. Individuals may also be considered as having been active from attendance at a US Military Academy (ie. West Point) or in another military academy (ie. The Citadel - if they had an active duty obligation after). In many situations, travel to and from any of these obligations may also qualify.
The applicant must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.The military has five different types of Discharges:
1) Honorable discharge
2) Discharge under honorable conditions or a general discharge
3) Discharge under other than honorable conditions
4) Bad conduct discharge
5) Dishonorable discharge
To qualify, your discharge must be above dishonorable. It is important to note that It is possible to be discharge above dishonorable, but denied benefits for something that occurred during dishonorable service.