The U.S. 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 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs for health care, financial assistance and burial benefits.
Of the 22.2 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 is 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. Two children of Civil War veterans still draw VA benefits. About 184 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans still receive VA compensation or pensions.
VA's fiscal year 2013 spending is projected to be approximately $140 billion, including almost $64 billion in discretionary resources and nearly $76.4 billion in mandatory funding. The discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.7 billion, or nearly 4.5 percent, over the 2012 enacted level.
Learn more at www.va.gov