My father was in the Reserves. He spent months away from home but never went overseas. How do we know if he is eligible for VA benefits or able to use the VA hospital? He will need to go to an assisted living facility soon.

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Check his separation papers (DD-214 or equivalent). It will be indicated if he was ever considered "active". If never considered active, he will not be eligible for non-service connected pension (e.g., "Aid and Attendance") which is the benefit you are seeking.

You may also find the information in the Veterans Benefits Guide that created to help families here is the link:
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He needs to have 90 days active duty in one of the wars listed. I got the information below from U.S. Senior Vets

The Qualifying Military Service

Veterans must have been honorably discharged, and have served at least 90 days of active duty military service, with at least one day during one of the following periods:

The periods of conflict that Congress recognizes for benefits are:
• World War II: 12/7/1941 to 12/31/1946
• Korea: 6/27/1950 to 1/31/1955
• Vietnam (if served in Vietnam): 2/28/1961 to 5/7/1975
• Vietnam (if served outside Vietnam): 8/5/1964 to 5/7/1975
• Gulf War: 8/2/1990 to present (total active duty must be 24 mo.)

Other service qualifying criteria:

The veteran must be 65 years of age or older OR permanently and totally disabled.
Women who served in the World War II military, including nurses, qualify as veterans
Reserves and National Guard are not qualified unless they served 90 days active Federal duty with 1 day during a period of conflict.
The 90 days rule is excepted for those who served less than 90 days but were awarded the Purple Heart, suffered a service connected disability, or were killed in the line of duty.

The veteran must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• Must be 65 years of age or older with limited or no income; OR
• Must be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance; OR
• Must be a patient in a nursing home; OR
• Must be permanently and totally disabled; OR
• Must be receiving Supplemental Social Security Income.

Since the Basic Pension is needs-based, the VA takes into account the veteran’s annual countable income, family composition and medical expenses when calculating financial eligibility and their monthly pension amount.
Congress sets a Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) each year, which also functions as the maximum income cap for eligible veterans. For 2015, a veteran’s countable household income must be less than $12,868 annually in order to be financially eligible.
“Countable” means that the veteran may deduct a number of different sources of income and expenses from their household total. The following table lists some of the common sources of income that do and do not count towards calculating VA Pension eligibility as well as expenses that are deductible.
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My husband was honorably discharged (hardship) after 6 months at the beginning of the Viet Nam conflict. He never ask for nor received any kind of benefits except for medical and hospice care during his final illness. Was he eligible for any other benefits that might now be transferable to me?
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I was 10% connected for many years and there were benefits I had that most are unaware of. Now that I am 100% connected I get a book that outlines my benefits, and I'm all connected to the VA online. I could have been connected online before, but I didn't know how to do it.

p.s. I have heard that wait lists can be long, but to anyone else reading this, never let it stop you from applying, as soon as you can. Sometimes I think they keep lists shorter by putting out this "oh it's soooo long a wait" information.
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If dad spent 90 days in active service, I believe he is eligible. I applied for my mom, a surviving spouse of a WWII Vet and have read everything I could find about the subject. I distinctly remember reading about this eligibility fact. Go to your county web site and check out the office of veterans affairs. Counselors are always available to help.
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My husband was a service-connected 10% disabled vet. When he died, his small pension stopped and I was not entitled to receive it. The VA sent a headstone for the plot I had purchased but refused to pay any funeral expenses because he was cremated. I was told, had I not had him cremated they would have paid a small amount on his funeral expense.. I also had to pay to have the FREE headstone put down on his burial plot where I placed some of his ashes. When he was so ill, I was told he could be taken care of in a veteran's care center. However, the waiting list was very long.
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My husband was in the Navy and was on the USS Quillback submarine and was honorably discharged on 7/24/1964. He was stationed in Key West and was deployed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Are there any benefits he qualifies for?
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