Veterans' Assistance Fund
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
Under Washington law, each county must establish a fund for veterans in need, their families, and the families of deceased veterans. The law is at Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 73.08.010. Some people call it the “Veterans Assistance Fund” or “Veterans Relief.” Publication #7700EN
- What is the Veterans' Assistance Fund?
- What type of help can I get?
- Am I eligible for Veterans' Assistance?
- How do I apply for Veterans’ Assistance Fund?
Under Washington law, each county must establish a fund for veterans in need, their families, and the families of deceased veterans. The law is at Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 73.08.010. Some people call it the "Veterans Assistance Fund" or "Veterans Relief."
It depends on which county you live in. Some provide direct cash assistance to pay for emergency needs such as shelter, utilities, medical needs, or food. Others provide vouchers for specific needs. There are set limits on how many times a year you can get assistance and how much cash help you can get. The limits also vary by county.
You must be a veteran, or the widow/widower, spouse or domestic partner, or dependent child of an eligible veteran. The criteria for eligibility are:
You are indigent (in financial need) AND
The veteran received an honorable discharge OR a medical or general discharge under honorable conditions AND
- The veteran served in at least one of these capacities:
As a member in any branch of the armed forces of the U.S., including the National Guard and armed forces reserves, and has fulfilled his/her initial military service obligation.
As a member of the women’s air forces service pilots.
As a member of the armed forces reserves, National Guard, or Coast Guard, and has been called into federal service by a presidential select reserve call up for at least 180 days.
As a civil services crewmember with service aboard a U.S. army transport service or U.S. Naval transportation service vessel in oceangoing service from December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946.
As a member of the Philippine armed forces/scouts during the period from December 7, 1941 - August 15, 1945.
As a U.S. documented merchant mariner with service aboard an oceangoing vessel operated by the Department of Defense, or its agents, from both June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953, in Korean territorial waters and from August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975, in Vietnam territorial waters, and received a military commendation.
*State law no longer requires you to live in Washington for one year before you can get veterans’ assistance. Your county may have its own residency requirements.
Dependent family members of a current member of the National Guard or armed forces reserves deployed to serve in an armed conflict may qualify for assistance if you meet the eligibility criteria.
In most counties, one or more veterans' service organizations (VSO) such as VFW, American Legion, or D.A.V administers the fund. Each county has its own plan.
To find out how to apply in your county, call the county government main office. Ask for the person who has the Veterans Assistance Fund or Veterans Relief plan.
*The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs website, http://www.dva.wa.gov/benefits/county-map, has veterans contact info for each county. You can also call WDVA at 1-800-562-2308.
Often the service officers of veterans’ organizations can refer you to other sources of help in your community.