The Veterans Administration, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is a federal agency that provides comprehensive healthcare services, benefits programs, and national cemetery services to veterans and their dependents. Established in 1930 and elevated to a Cabinet-level executive department in 1989, it is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors.
The VA operates one of the largest healthcare systems in the world, with more than 1,200 healthcare facilities, including hospitals, community clinics, long-term care facilities, and readjustment counseling centers. It offers a wide range of health services to eligible veterans, including preventative care, surgeries, mental health services, home healthcare, and palliative care. The goal is to ensure that veterans receive comprehensive healthcare tailored to their unique needs, particularly those related to their military service.
In addition to healthcare, the VA also administers a variety of benefits programs. These include disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities, educational assistance through the GI Bill, home loan guarantees, vocational rehabilitation, life insurance, and burial benefits.
The VA also maintains national cemeteries for veterans and their eligible family members. It is responsible for the maintenance of gravesites, the provision of headstones, markers, and medallions, and the administration of presidential memorial certificates.
The VA’s mission, as stated in President Lincoln’s second inaugural address, is “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” This enduring mission statement underscores the VA’s commitment to serving the men and women who have served their country, providing them with the care and support they need in recognition of their service and sacrifice.