The federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides various benefits to U.S. military veterans, including: disability compensation, pensions, education benefits, vocational and employment services, healthcare benefits, insurance benefits, and survivors’ and dependents’ benefits.[1751] Here you will learn about how your criminal record and incarceration may affect your access to these benefits. For more detailed and comprehensive information, you should read:

    The California Veterans Resource Book,[1752] an overview of veterans’ resources across the state; and
    The Guidebook for California Incarcerated Veterans,[1753] a practical resource for pre- and post-release planning. You can also call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 (TDD 1-800-829-4833) with questions and to obtain copies of all these resources.[1754] If you have Internet access, visit for further details and downloadable forms; and visit to view your status, access your documents, and apply for VA benefits.
  1. 1751

    See U.S.C. Title 38; Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors (2014), U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,; Your Right to Representation (2011), Prison Law Office,,Aug2011.pdf; Summary of VA Benefits, U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,

  2. 1752

    California Veterans Resource Book (2014), California Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,

  3. 1753

    Guidebook for California Incarcerated Veterans, 4th ed. (2013), U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,

  4. 1754

    Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents & Survivors (2014), U.S. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs,

  1. Am I eligible for veterans’ (VA) benefits?

  2. Can my criminal history limit my ability to get VA benefits?

  3. How do I apply for VA benefits?

  4. Can I apply for VA benefits while incarcerated?

  5. I was receiving VA benefits before I got arrested. What happens to them while I’m incarcerated?

  6. My VA benefits were reduced or stopped while I was incarcerated. How do I restore or restart my VA benefits?

  7. I’m disqualified from VA benefits because of my negative discharge status. How can I have my discharge status reviewed for an upgrade?