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Returning Veteran Checklist 

Welcome home, veterans. The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) appreciates the sacrifices made by all veterans and wants to see that everyone leaving the military receives every benefit they earned with their service to America.  
Veterans have a lot to consider when leaving their military service. The DMVA, which employs many veterans, thoroughly understands the challenges and stresses that come with re-entering civilian life. That is why we created a checklist for veterans to follow as they prepare for their post-military life.
Here is what you should consider doing soon after leaving military service:

☐ Have your DD 214 recorded in the County Recorder's Office for FREE.  

☐ Safeguard all your records. You will need them again.  

☐ Visit your County Director of Veterans Affairs (normally located in the County Courthouse) or Accredited Service Organization Representative for FREE.  

☐ Take a copy of all your records with you for your appointment.  

☐ Service Medical Records  

☐ Personnel File  

☐ Dental Record 

Have your County Director of Veterans Affairs or accredited veterans service officer review your records and advise you on the benefits you qualify for.  

☐ File for disabilities through an accredited veterans service officer. 

☐ Fill out VA form 10-10 EZ for VA Healthcare benefits.   

☐ Go to your local veterans affairs medical center to turn in Form 10-10 EZ and schedule an appointment.  You may qualify for five years of FREE healthcare through the VA from your separation date. 

☐ Visit your local CareerLink Office (Pennsylvania Job Service). Ask to speak with the Veterans Employment Representative   

☐ File for unemployment  

☐ Get help finding a job  

☐ Attend classes to help in your search for employment  

☐ Identify Military skills that can be used in civilian life

☐ Visit colleges you are interested in / use the GI Bill. 

☐ Ask to speak with the Veterans Representative on campus . Always identify yourself as a Veteran and inquire about Yellow Ribbon funding in addition to GI Bill payments for college.  Many non-traditional programs are included in the Post 9-11 GI Bill  

☐ When you are ready to buy a home inform your lender you are a Veteran and that you are interested in using the VA Home Loan Guaranty . This is as easy as informing your lender you are a veteran and wish to use your benefit (you will need to provide a copy of your DD 214) . Disabled Veterans (USDVA Rating) have the funding fee waived.  You can include the down payment in the loan.  

If you are a severely disabled veteran and need any special accommodations, please identify that to your veterans service officer.)  

Applying for Benefits:

Veterans and their dependents should never pay for help to apply for veteran’s benefits because an abundance of free, professional help is available. If someone tries to charge a veteran for this service, the veteran should decline the assistance. There are about 200 veteran service officers in Pennsylvania who work with organizations such as the DMVA, county veterans affairs offices, and several veterans service organizations. They are experienced, trained professionals who provide veterans with the best advice and assistance at no cost. 

County Director of Veterans Affairs (Click for a county-by-county listing of the County Directors of Veterans Affairs) 
  • Adjutant General's Office of Pennsylvania 
  • Fort Indiantown Gap (Headquarters): 800-547-2838  
    Pittsburgh: 866-754-8636  
    Philadelphia: 866-754-8637  
  • American Legion  State Headquarters: 717-730-9100   
    Pittsburgh: 412-395-6230   
    Philadelphia: 215-381-2032   
  • American Veterans (AMVETS)  State Headquarters: 717-865-9982   
    Pittsburgh: 412-395-6248   
    Philadelphia: 215-381-3294   
  • Disabled American Veterans State Headquarters: 717-761-4060   
    Pittsburgh: 412-395-6241   
    Philadelphia: 215-381-3065   
  • Jewish War Veterans Philadelphia: 215-842-3140   
  • Marine Corps League  State Headquarters: 800-779-7301   
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart State Headquarters : 724-437-1220   
    Pittsburgh : 412-395-6255   
    Philadelphia : 215-381-3064   
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America State Headquarters: 412-781-2474   
    Pittsburgh : 412-395-6260   
    Philadelphia : 215-381-3057   
  • United Spinal Association Philadelphia: 215-381-3037   
  • VFW State Headquarters: 717-234-7927  
    Pittsburgh: 412-395-6260  
    Philadelphia: 215-381-3123  
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Altoona: 814-943-8164 X7085