Over 600,000 North Carolinians who served their country in the armed forces receive veterans’ benefits, but the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs estimates that over 400,000 additional men and women in the state are eligible but don’t get them.

Wilkes Veterans Service Officer Ralph Broyhill said this information was shared at a recent N.C. Division of Veterans event he attended.

Broyhill said veterans service officers at the event were asked to help spread the word urging veterans to seek the benefits they’re eligible for.

U.S. Veterans Administration phone numbers and websites are listed online, but Broyhill recommended that veterans speak to him at the Wilkes County Office Building in Wilkesboro for assistance securing benefits to help avoid misunderstandings.

Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The phone number is 336-651-7327.

Any person in the military who left under any condition other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. This includes reserves or National Guard personnel called to active duty by federal order who completed the period for which they were called. It doesn’t include reserves or National Guard personnel who trained only.

Most who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to be eligible.

Depending on eligibility requirements, veterans may be able to get funds for hearing tests, examinations and hearing aids.

VA vision benefits range from primary eye care to intermediate and advanced clinical vision care. Also offered are inpatient rehab centers for blind veterans.

The first $45,000 of the appraised value of the permanent residence of an honorably discharged veteran with a total and permanent, service-connected disability isn’t taxed.

This is available to the unmarried surviving spouse of honorably discharged disabled vets. Contact the county tax office for applications.

Veterans and survivors eligible for VA pensions, who require the aid and attendance of another person or are housebound may be eligible for payments in addition to pensions.

North Carolina runs veterans’ homes in Black Mountain, Fayetteville, Kinston and Salisbury.

Honorably discharged N.C. resident veterans are eligible for admission, but must be referred by a doctor or be otherwise disabled. There is a fee.

The N.C. Department of Commerce  provides job seeking services for veterans, transitioning service members and eligible spouses. If they meet requirements, veterans and their spouses can get preference points when testing for state jobs.

Children of wartime veterans are eligible for scholarships for eight semesters at North Carolina universities. Applicants must be under age 25 and be the child of a deceased, disabled, combat or POW/MIA veteran.

They also must reside in the state at the time of the application to be eligible.

All 50 percent or more disabled veterans in the state can get a lifetime hunting-fishing license for $10 to $110 depending on the type of license.

Active duty military personnel and veterans can get reduced admission to the Battleship North Carolina, N.C. Museum of Art, N.C. Museum of History, State Fair, Tryon Palace and the N.C. Zoo.

Veterans should also look into their eligibility for life insurance.

Military headstones for veterans are free.

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