The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established on March 15, 1989, succeeding the Veterans Administration. It is responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their families. Headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second largest of the 15 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs for health care, financial assistance and burial benefits.
Of the 24.3 million veterans currently alive, nearly three-quarters served during a war or an official period of conflict. About a quarter of the nation's population, approximately 63 million people, are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans.
The responsibility to care for veterans, spouses, survivors and dependents can last a long time. Five children of Civil War veterans still draw VA benefits. About 440 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans still receive VA compensation or pensions.
VA's fiscal year 2005 spending was $71.2 billion , $31.5 billion for health care, $37.1 billion for benefits, and $148 million for the national cemetery system. President Bush sought $73 billion in the fiscal year 2006 budget for VA, a $1.8 billion increase in budget authority, primarily for health care and disability compensation. – less – More from ZoomInfo »