VA benefits: use it or lose it

Jonathan Kaupanger
February 23, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA


Did you know that your VA benefits have a time limit on them?  Well, most of them do and the majority expire at random times too.

First, the ones that never run out:

  • Disability compensation
  • Disability pension
  •  VA home loan
  • Veteran Healthcare 

Healthcare also includes military sexual trauma and conditions that could be related to exposure to many hazards. For disability compensation, of course, you have to have been hurt while on active duty, but you can apply for this within one year of separation. 

The benefits that expire the fastest:

  • Dental 
  • Most of VA’s life insurance programs. 

For life insurance, there are many different options, call someone at a medical center and ask about life insurance even before you get out of the military, just to be safe.  Basically, you have about 120 days to work with for most options though.

Dental is a little confusing, you can get a one-time dental treatment, only if you didn’t get an exam or treatment within 90 days of separation. The catch is you have 180 days after separation to use this. 

Benefits that expire a bit slower:

  • Education

For indivividuals whose last discharge or release from active duty was before January 1 ,2013,  you have 15 years to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill.  Montgomery and VEAP both must be used within 10 years and VocRehab is about 12 years from separation or within 12 years of being awarded the VA disability compensation. For more information on the timeline and details of  your Post9/11 GI Bill use click here.