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Free app lists veterans benefits, discounts

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Free app lists veterans benefits, discounts

A new, free mobile app can help direct you and your loved ones to veterans benefits you may have never realized you’re eligible for, from the Department of Veterans Affairs to state and local agencies.

It can also be helpful as another source for active-duty members who may want to see whether they’re eligible for some benefits and discounts now, or who would like to get up to speed as they transition out of the military.

“The fact is, everyone transitions. This is a great resource to find out what may be available,” said Brendan Reilly, CEO of Defense Mobile, which has developed the app called miliSOURCE.

“The main difficulty veterans have is managing benefits,” Reilly said. “As we started to dig, we found that only 40 percent of veterans are collecting the benefits they have earned.”

Many of those vets often said they didn’t realize they were eligible. “This gives them a tool to identify those benefits,” he said.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 1.53.27 PMAlthough the name is similar to DoD’s Military OneSource, miliSOURCE is not a government website.

The 900-plus benefits gathered by miliSOURCE encompass a broad range, including education and other benefits on the federal level, and discounts and exceptions for veterans, like hunting and fishing licenses, that some states offer. Some localities also exempt 100 percent disabled veterans from having to pay property taxes, for example.

Out of the 900 benefits on the app, less than one-third are linked to the VA, Reilly said. The remainder come from states, localities and veterans service organizations. The app works similar to some tax software, asking you questions and producing a report of what’s available. It provides a summary of each benefit, and links you to a form to download or email to yourself. For most of the benefits, Reilly said, there are videos that explain it so that you don’t even have to read it.

It asks questions like when you served, whether you have a disability rating, whether you have dependents, whether you’ve thought about going to college, whether you’ve thought about buying a house.

The app can pinpoint the location of the closest VA hospitals and clinics, as well as VFW and American Legion posts.

I asked a friend who is a veteran to check out the app. He said he was already familiar with most of the VA information that miliSOURCE highlighted because of the Navy’s transition assistance program.

But he did see some information on miliSOURCE about a state scholarship for veterans that he said he might apply for, and noted there was information about other benefits and discounts which with he was not too familiar.

Reilly said he has heard some heartwarming stories about the helpfulness of the app. One older couple said the husband had retired, but the wife had to continue working in order to meet their financial obligations. Using the app, they found they were eligible for an extra $6,800 in benefits — and she was able to retire.

Reilly encourages family members to tell others about the app, adding that he believes there are many veterans who are missing out on benefits.

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