The word "veteran" refers to persons who have served with the Armed Forces of the nation or of the states. Veterans are not public officers, servants, agents, or contractors. There are federal and state statutes, that make provide benefits, privileges and preferences for the welfare of veterans and their dependents. Persons guilty of mutiny, treason, sabotage, or rendering assistance to the enemy or allies of the enemy forfeit all rights for future benefits administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. A dishonorable discharge will disqualify a veteran from receiving a pension, compensation for service-connected death or disability, or dependency and indemnity compensation.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs is the agency responsible for administering most of the federal laws which provide benefits to veterans and their dependents. The Department is charged with administering the pension laws, furnishing medical care and hospitalization, providing domiciliary care for veterans who are unable to support themselves, financing loans to aid veterans in the purchase of homes or farms or the establishment of businesses, providing educational benefits, reimbursing dependents for burial expenses, and providing other statutory benefits.
Claims for veteran's benefits may be made on forms prescribed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Any communication or action indicating an intent to apply for one or more identified types of veterans' benefits, from a claimant, his or her duly authorized representative, a member of Congress, or some person acting as next friend of a claimant, may be considered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs as an informal claim. If the communication is by an attorney, agent, or service organization, a power of attorney must be in force for the communication to be considered as an informal claim. When the Department of Veterans' Affairs receives an informal claim and no formal claim has been filed, an application form will be forwarded to the claimant. If the Department of Veterans' Affairs receives the application form within one year from the date it was sent to the claimant, it will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of the informal claim.