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Veterans' Benefits & Services


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The State of Wisconsin has a long history of providing generous benefits, programs and services to state residents who entered “active duty” from Wisconsin and continue to reside in the state.

Following the First World War, the State of Wisconsin provided a limited cash bonus to returning Wisconsin WWI veterans. However, lessons learned from the limited individual benefit and high aggregate cost of these small cash bonuses led the State of Wisconsin to later take a highly progressive approach to rewarding later state veterans in more lasting ways, while simultaneously encouraging them to return to and remain in the state.

In 1943, the State of Wisconsin collected a special income surtax in order to create the foundations of what would eventually become the Wisconsin Veterans Trust Fund. Today, the Veterans Trust Fund provides a comprehensive array of state veterans’ benefits, programs and services that are the envy of most other States in the Union.

These benefits, programs and services are provided by the State of Wisconsin in order to supplement and complement those provided to veterans by the federal government. These include benefits, programs, and services to assist Wisconsin veterans in enhancing their education and employment, traveling to federal VA medical appointments, obtaining needed health care services not provided by federal VA health care, overcoming barriers to employment, and obtaining needed subsistence assistance in emergency situations, assistance in discharge upgrades, obtaining medals that were not issued or lost, among many others.

Wisconsin operates several state programs that were traditionally in the domain of the federal government, including veterans homes, which provide skilled nursing and assisted living, and veterans cemeteries. Other state programs include a homeless transitional assistance program and a comprehensive, statewide military funeral honors program that includes training, coordination, and services.

A primary focus of state government activities is in assisting Wisconsin’s veterans in obtaining all federal benefits that they may have earned. Through the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) “I Owe You” outreach campaign, which includes “Supermarkets of Veterans Benefits” held throughout the state, Wisconsin works actively to inform and assist its veterans in learning about and accessing federal and state benefits, programs and services. Complementing this outreach campaign, WDVA’s claims assistance staff provide many thousands of veterans a year with direct assistance and representation in the federal VA claims process. In the first four years of the program, over $250 million in additional federal veterans’ funding have come into the state, most notably for additional compensation for disabled veterans. In addition there has been a 30% increase in the number of Wisconsin Veterans who now access the federal VA Health Care System. These veterans who were mostly uninsured, now have access to medical care and prescription drug options can meet their long term medical needs.

Visit our eligibility section to learn about eligibility criteria.

For more information, contact your local County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO).