New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

For many veterans and their family members, keeping up with the constant changes in the rules, regulations and eligibility criteria for veterans entitlements is not paramount in their lives. Many believe that the information they received when leaving the service has not changed, so any changes, whether good or bad, that affect those entitlements and their eligibility may be overlooked. Entitlements added or lost may go unnoticed, until it is too late. State entitlements may be unknown. The information a World War II veteran received when leaving the service, in many cases, is different today -- in some cases, much different.

For those leaving the military now, the transition to civilian life can be just as difficult as the transition made when entering the military, frequently more so.

For disabled veterans, the adjustment can be even more complex and frustrating since the costs for required special services and medical attention are constantly rising, and jobs may be scarce.

If there are times when you feel frustrated, discouraged or abandoned, or have questions that need to be answered, there is a place to turn for help -- the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Has your disability case been denied by the VA? Are you having a problem with your military pension? Do you need information on educational entitlements or home loans? Have you lost your discharge papers and need them replaced? Those are just a few of the many questions the department's veterans service officers deal with daily; the kind of problems the department is prepared to help you with. Our veterans service officers can provide assistance in obtaining state and federal entitlements, and give advice and support to the veteran re-entering civilian life.

The state of New Jersey provides many entitlements and services for those who served in the Armed Forces. Although most veterans entitlements are federally funded and administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), state entitlements are in addition to those and are very significant.

To qualify for most services a veteran must have completed at least 90 days of active duty in the Armed Forces (except for training purposes) and have a discharge other than dishonorable. Veterans who were discharged before 90 days due to service connected disabilities are also eligible. Additionally, spouses, widows, widowers and parents of members of the military killed during a time of war and certain merchant seamen who served in active, ocean-going service from Dec. 7, 1941, to Aug. 15, 1945, may be eligible for certain federal entitlements. Receiving federal entitlements does not disqualify a veteran from receiving those offered by the state.

The Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans Affairs supervises two divisions, the Division of Veterans Healthcare Services and the Division of Veterans Services. The Division of Veterans Healthcare Services oversees the operation of the state’s three long-term care veterans nursing homes, located in Vineland, Menlo Park and Paramus. The Division of Veterans Services oversees the veterans service offices, maintains the toll-free information line, veteran's preference determinations, veteran's status determinations and the blind and catastrophic veteran pension entitlements. In addition, the Division of Veterans Services oversees the state's Veterans Cemetery, the operation of the states' Homeless Veterans Transitional Housing Program, the stateowned monuments and memorials and the State Approving Agency which is responsible for certifying the VA funded educational and training program.

Through its network of regional Veterans Service Offices, the Division of Veterans Services provides the state's veterans and dependents with information and guidance in filing claims for benefits. Trained Veterans Service Officers (VSO) at those offices also assist veterans with issues pertaining to employment, education, burial, counseling, housing, social and medical services, and other areas of concern to veterans and their families. Office locations and phone numbers are listed in Appendix A.

Additionally, the department, along with other state and municipal agencies, administers many other programs important to veterans and their families, such as pensions for certain disabled veterans, PTSD counseling, transportation to veteran service facilities, tuition assistance for war orphans, real estate tax abatements and civil service preferences.

Some entitlements (e.g. state property tax abatements) require the veteran to have served during a specified war/conflict period. New Jersey "war period" dates are listed in the box below.

New Jersey War/Conflict Dates
World War I April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918
World War II September 16, 1940 - December 31, 1946
Korea June 23, 1950 - January 31, 1955
Vietnam December 31, 1960 - May 7, 1975
Lebanon Crisis July 1, 1958 - November 1, 1958*
Lebanon September 26, 192 - December 1, 1987*
Grenada October 23, 1983 - November 21, 1983*
Panama December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990*
Persian Gulf August 2, 1990 - February 28, 1991*
Somalia December 5, 1992 - March 31, 1994*
Bosnia and Herzegovina November 20, 1995 - June 20, 1998*
Operations Joint Endeavor / Joint Guard)
Haiti September 19, 1994 - March 31, 1995*
Operation Enduring Freedom On or after September 11, 2001*
Operation Iraqi Freedom March 19, 2003 - Present*

*Must have served at least 14 days (one day if deployment results in injury) in a combat zone. Combat zone qualification is most frequently indicated by an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.