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United States Department of Veterans Affairs

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United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Seal of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.svg
Seal of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Flag of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.svg
Flag of the Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C. Headquarters
Agency overview
Formed 21 July 1930; 91 years ago (1930-07-21)
(Cabinet rank 15 March 1989 (1989-03-15))
Preceding agency Veterans Administration
Jurisdiction United States federal government
Headquarters Veteran Affairs Building
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Employees 377,805 (2016)
Annual budget $180 billion (FY2017)
Agency executives Denis McDonough, Secretary
TBD, Deputy Secretary
Child agency Several

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits and burial benefits.[1][2]

It is administered by the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


The beginning of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs dates back to 1636 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony voted that the Colony would support soldiers disabled by its war with the Native American tribe called the Pequot. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress of 1776 enacted pensions for disabled soldiers. Then, in the 19th century, support was extended to widows and dependents of veterans. Veterans' benefits expanded further during World War I, with the first consolidation of World War I veterans' programs occurring in 1921 when Congress created the Veterans Bureau. With increased benefits and agencies disbursing the benefits, the Veterans Administration was established in 1930, bringing all the agencies together. Frank T. Hines was the first administrator of veterans affairs, leading the organisation until 1945. The GI Bill was passed in 1944 as the first educational assistance to military personnel.[3]

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs was officially established as a Cabinet-level department on March 15, 1989, by President George H.W. Bush.[4]