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Be sure to investigate alternative veterans' benefits programs

On Memorial Day each year, we are reminded of the brave men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. Memorial Day is especially important for Pennsylvania veterans who made the same sacrifice but were fortunate enough to survive their years in the armed services. Still, many of the veterans who survived are wounded, living with amputations, disabilities and post traumatic stress, and they are not receiving the veterans' benefits they are qualified to receive.

It is important to remember that these veterans are still with us, and as much as we celebrate and revere the ones who have died, there are so many living heroes who need to be honored. Perhaps the best way to honor these injured veterans is to support reform and improvements to the veterans' benefits system and to help them get the benefits they deserve. In fact, many veterans are entitled to benefits that they do not know about, and all it takes is a little bit of education to help them apply to receive these benefits.

Take the Post-9/11 GI Bill, for example. This is is an excellent benefit for which military veterans can apply. It pays full fees and tuition for veterans at universities and colleges, in addition to an allowance for housing and a $1,000-per-year stipend for supplies and books. The bill does not pay all education costs for all veterans, though, and many veterans may not realize that there are various other programs they might qualify for, that pick up where the Post-9/11 GI Bill stops.

The Leave No Veteran Behind program is one of these alternative routes to getting special kinds of veterans' benefits. It offers retroactive scholarships to veterans in Pennsylvania and other areas of the country, who cannot get GI Bill coverage. There is also the Tillman Military Scholars program, which supplements the Post-9/11 GI Bill. These are just a few of the programs that military veterans may want to investigate. There are many more that might apply to a veteran, depending on his or her situation.