red, white, and blue star with initials B V A

What is a Veteran?

Veterans stand for honor, sacrifice and commitment to the American way of life. Though there is much dispute about who qualifies as a veteran, Federal Law determines a veteran to be any person who has honorably served their country on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Your general and honorable discharge qualifies you to be regarded as a veteran for life, a status that is regarded with the highest respect and allows you to enjoy the benefits associated with the status.

Medically discharged service members also qualify as veterans, regardless of the time they served. The Blinded Veterans Association supports blind veterans and their families, providing the ability to live independently despite their disabilities. One question we are often asked is, “how do I become a veteran?”

How to Become a Veteran

The road to becoming a veteran is not an easy one. The branch of the armed forces that you choose, be it army, navy, air force, marines or coast guard, requires a challenging recruitment process that includes application, psychological and physical testing, as well as rigorous training for your position.

While serving for any amount of time before honorable discharge confers onto you the status of veteran, the length of time of service will determine what benefits you are entitled to. The minimum length of service is 24 consecutive months in order to receive the full range of benefits, but there is no minimum service requirement for veterans discharged on medical grounds.

Types of Veterans

While any person who has been honorably discharged is considered a veteran, there are several categories you may fall into. War veterans are those who have served in active duty in an area of conflict, while a combat veteran are those who have experienced combat involving an enemy. Retired veterans are considered career veterans, having served a minimum of twenty years of active or reserved duty. A disabled veteran is one who has been injured in the line of active duty.

Are You Considering a Military Career?

Serving in the armed forces is a decision that does not come lightly but can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. Your life as a veteran will not be an easy one, but with the support of the variety of services available to you, you can live your life with the pride that you have given back to the country that you love.