Pre-Modern Era of Veterans Benefits

Although the General Pension Laws passed after the Civil War would have provided benefits coverage for veterans of the twentieth century (as it had for veterans of the Spanish-American war, Boxer Rebellion and other engagements) members of Congress envisioned a post-World War period of readjustment unlike ever before that would require additional services to help injured veterans reintegrate back into their communities. Reintegration programs like vocational rehabilitation to help wounded troops adapt and find work paved the way for later growth, including the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, known simply as “The GI Bill of Rights.” This groundbreaking law, written for the benefit of WWII Veterans, established the framework for subsequent legislation to benefit veterans of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, respectively.

1917 War Risk Insurance Act (Amendments)
1921 Veterans Bureau created
1924 World War Veterans (Adjusted Compensation) Act
1930 Veterans Administration created
1932 “Bonus Army” march on Washington
1933 National Economy Act
1936 Adjusted Compensation Payment Act
1944 GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen’s Readjustment Act)
1944 Mustering Out Payment Act
1946 Compensation & Pension defined
1952 Korean War GI Bill (Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act)
1958 Veterans Benefits codified as Title 38
1966 Vietnam War GI Bill (Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act)

Use the links on this page to access original documents from online public records.

1920—January 27 (41 Stat. 399)
An Act To amend an Act entitled “An Act to provide aid to State or Territorial homes for the support of disabled soldiers and sailors of the United States,” approved August 27, 1888, as amended March 2, 1889.


1920—May 1 (41 Stat. 585)
An Act To revise and equalize rates of pension to certain soldiers, sailors, and marines of the Civil War and the War with Mexico, to certain widows, including widows of the War of 1812, former widows, dependent parents, and children of such soldiers, sailors, and marines, and to certain Army nurses, and granting pensions and increase of pensions in certain cases.


1920—June 5 (41 Stat. 982)
An Act To pension soldiers and sailors of the War with Spain, the Philippine insurrection, and the China relief expedition.


1921—March 4 (41 Stat. 1364)
An Act Providing additional hospital facilities for patients of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance and of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, Division of Rehabilitation, and for other purposes.


1921—August 9 (42 Stat. 147)
**An Act To establish a Veterans’ Bureau and to improve the facilities and service of such bureau, and further to amend and modify the War Risk Insurance Act.


1922—September 1 (42 Stat. 834)
An Act Granting relief to soldiers and sailors of the War with Spain, Philippine insurrection, and Chinese Boxer rebellion campaign; to widows, former widows, and dependent parents of such soldiers and sailors; and to certain Army nurses; and to amend section 2 of an Act entitled “An Act to pension the survivors of certain Indian wars from January 1, 1859, to January, 1891, inclusive, and for other purposes,” approved March 4, 1917.


1924—May 19 (43 Stat. 121)
**(World War Veterans Act) An Act To provide adjusted compensation for veterans of the World War, and for other purposes.


1924—June 7 (43 Stat. 604)
An Act To consolidate, codify, revise, and reenact the laws affecting the establishment of the United States Veterans’ Bureau and the administration of the War Risk Insurance Act, as amended, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, as amended.


1925—March 3 (43 Stat. 1213)
An Act To authorize an appropriation to provide additional hospital and out-patient dispensary facilities for persons entitled to hospitalization under the World War Veterans’ Act, 1924.


1925—March 4 (43 Stat. 1302)
An Act To amend the World War Veterans’ Act, 1924.


1926—July 2 (44 Stat. 790)
An Act To amend the World War Veterans’ Act, 1924.


1926—July 3 (44 Stat. 806)
An Act Granting pensions and increase of pensions to certain soldiers, sailors, and marines of the Civil and Mexican Wars, and to certain widows of said soldiers, sailors, and marines, and to widows of the War of 1812, and Army nurses, and for other purposes.


1927—March 3 (44 Stat. 1361)
An Act Granting pensions to certain soldiers who served in the Indian wars from 1817 to 1898, and for other purposes.


1928—May 20 (45 Stat. 964)


1928—May 29 (45 Stat. 947) An Act To amend the World War Adjusted Compensation Act, as amended.

1930—June 2 (46 Stat. 492)
An Act Granting pensions and increase of pensions to certain soldiers, sailors, and nurses of the war with Spain, the Philippine insurrection, or the China relief expedition, and for other purposes.


1930—June 9 (46 Stat. 529)
An Act To revise and equalize the rate of pension to certain soldiers, sailors, and marines of the Civil War, to certain widows, former widows of such soldiers, sailors, and marines, and granting pensions and increase of pensions in certain cases.


1930—July 3 (46 Stat. 852)
An Act To establish a branch home of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in one of the Northwest Pacific States.


1930—July 3 (46 Stat.1016)
**An Act To authorize the President to consolidate and coordinate governmental activities affecting war veterans.


1931—February 27 (46 Stat. 1429)
An Act To increase the loan basis of adjusted service certificates.


1931—March 4 (46 Stat. 1550)
An Act To authorize an appropriation to provide additional hospital, domiciliary, and out-patient dispensary facilities for persons entitled to hospitalization under the World War Veterans’ Act, 1924, as amended, and for other purposes.


1932—June 24 (47 Stat. 334)
(1924 World War Veterans Act amendment) An Act To provide for the renewal of five-year level premium term Government insurance policies for an additional five-year period without medical examination.


1932—July 21 (Ch. 521) (47 Stat. 724)
An Act Relating to loans to veterans on their adjusted-service certificates.


1933—March 20 (48 Stat. 8)
**(National Economy Act) An Act To maintain the credit of the United States Government.


1934—March 28 (Ch. 102; title II) (48 Stat. 524)
(Restoration of Veterans Benefits slashed in 1933) An Act Making appropriations for the Executive Office and sundry independent executive bureaus…


1934—June 28 (Ch. 867) (48 Stat. 1281)
An Act To compensate widows and children of persons who died while receiving monetary benefits for disabilities directly incurred in or aggravated by active military or naval service in the World War.


1935—August 13 (Ch. 521) (49 Stat. 614)
An act granting pensions to veterans of the Spanish-American War, including the Boxer Rebellion and the Philippine Insurrection, their widows and dependents, and for other purposes.


1936—January 27 (Ch. 32) (49 Stat. 1099)
**(Adjusted Compensation Payment) An act to provide for the immediate payment of World War adjusted service certificates, for the cancelation of unpaid interest accrued on loans secured by such certificates, and for other purposes.


1937—June 1 (50 Stat. 241)
(1924 World War Veterans Act amendment) An Act To amend existing law to provide privilege of renewing expiring five-year level premium term policies for another five-year period.


1937—August 16 (Ch. 659) (50 Stat. 660)
An Act To liberalize the provisions of existing laws governing service-connected benefits for World War veterans and their dependents, and for other purposes.


1938—May 24 (Ch. 268) (52 Stat. 440)
An Act Granting pensions and increases of pensions to certain soldiers, sailors, and nurses of the War with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, or the China Relief Expedition, and for other purposes.


1939—July 19 (Ch. 329) (53 Stat. 1067)
An Act To restore certain benefits to World War veterans suffering with paralysis, paresis, or blindness, and who are helpless or bedridden, and for other purposes.


1939—July 19 (Ch. 331) (53 Stat. 1068)
An Act To provide certain benefits for World War veterans and their dependents, and for other purposes.

1941—December 19 (Ch. 598) (55 Stat. 844)
An Act To provide pensions at wartime rates for officers and enlisted men of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard disabled in line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict, while engaged in extra hazardous service or while the United States is engaged in war, and for the dependents of those who die from such cause, and for other purposes.


1942—June 10 (Ch. 402) (56 Stat. 350)
An Act To increase the rate of pension to World War veterans from $30 to $40 per month and for other purposes.


1942—July 30 (Ch. 539) (56 Stat. 731)
An Act To provide increases of pension payable to dependents of veterans of the Regular Establishment, and for other purposes.


1943—March 17 (Ch. 16) (57 Stat. 21)
An Act To amend Veterans Regulation Numbered 10, as amended, to grant hospitalization, domiciliary care, and burial benefits in certain World War II cases.


1943—March 24 (57 Stat. 43)
An Act To amend title I of Public Law Numbered 2, Seventy-third Congress, March 20, 1933, and the Veterans Regulations to provide for rehabilitation of disabled veterans, and for other purposes.


1943—December 17 (Ch. 347) (57 Stat. 603)
An Act To increase the amount of Federal aid to State or Territorial homes for the support of disabled soldiers and sailors of the United States.


1944—February 3 (Ch. 9) (58 Stat. 8)
**An Act To provide for mustering-out payments to members of the armed forces, and for other purposes.


1944—May 27 (Ch. 207) (58 Stat. 229)
An Act To increase the service-connected disability rates of compensation or pension payable to veterans of World War I and World War II and veterans entitled to wartime rates based on service on or after September 16, 1940, for service-connected disabilities, and to increase the rates for widows and children under Public Law 484, Seventy-third Congress, as amended, and to include widows and children of World War II veterans for benefits under the latter act.


1944—May 27 (Ch. 209)
An Act To provide for payment of pensions and compensation to certain persons who are receiving retired pay. (Concurrent Pay outlawed)


1944—June 22 (58 Stat. 284)
**Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill of Rights; VA declared an essential War Agency)


1944—June 27 (58 Stat. 387) An Act To give honorably discharged veterans, their widows, and the wives of disabled veterans, who themselves are not qualified, preference in employment where Federal funds are disbursed.


1944—October 3 (Ch. 287) (58 Stat. 765)
An Act To give honorably discharged veterans, their widows, and the wives of disabled veterans, who themselves are not qualified, preference in employment where Federal funds are disbursed.


1944—December 14 (Ch. 581) (58 Stat. 803)
An Act To provide Government protection to widows and children of deceased World War I veterans, and for other purposes.


1945—September 20 (Ch. 369) (59 Stat. 533)
An Act To amend the Veterans Regulations to provide additional rates of compensation or pension and remedy inequalities as to specific service-incurred disabilities in excess of total disability.


1945—December 28 (Ch. 588) (59 Stat. 623)
An Act To amend the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, and for other purposes.


1945—December 31 (Ch. 657) (59 Stat. 674)
Joint Resolution To amend section 502 of the Act entitled “An Act to expedite the provision of housing in connection with national defense, and for other purposes,” approved October 14, 1940, as amended, to authorize an additional appropriation for the purpose of providing housing for distressed families of servicemen and for veterans and their families, and for other purposes.


1946—July 9 (Ch. 545) (60 Stat. 524)
An Act To clarify the terms “compensation” and “pension” under laws administered by the Veterans’ Administration.


1946—July 31 (Ch. 714) (60 Stat. 749)
An Act To provide benefits for certain employees of the United States who are veterans of World War II and lost opportunity for probational civil-service appointments by reason of their service in the armed forces of the United States.


1946—March 28 (Ch. 118) (60 Stat. 85)
An Act To amend section 502 of the Act entitled “An Act to expedite the provision of housing in connection with national defense, and for other purposes”, approved October 14, 1940, as amended, so as to authorize the appropriation of funds necessary to provide additional temporary housing units for distressed families of servicemen and for veterans and their families.

1950—July 13 (Pub. L. 81-610) (64 Stat. 336)
Veterans’ Education and Training Amendments of 1950.


1950—September 19 (Pub. L. 81-791) (64 Stat. 867)
An act to provide greater security for veterans of the Spanish-American War, including the Boxer Rebellion and Philippine Insurrection in the granting of out-patient treatment by the Veterans’ Administration


1950—September 23 (Pub. L. 81-823) (64 Stat. 981)
An act to increase the amount of Federal aid to State or Territorial homes for the support of disabled soldiers and sailors of the United States.


1951—April 25 (Pub. L. 82-23) (65 Stat. 33)
An Act to authorize the payment by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs of a gratuitous indemnity to survivors of members of the Armed Forces who die in active service, and for other purposes.


1951—August 4 (Pub. L. 82-108) (65 Stat. 174)
An Act to liberalize the service pensions laws relating to veterans of the war with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, or the Boxer Rebellion, and their dependents.


1951—October 11 (Pub. L. 82-170) (65 Stat. 404)
An Act to provide vocational rehabilitation training for veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities who served on or after June 27, 1950.


1952—May 23 (Pub. L. 82-356) (66 Stat. 90)
An Act to provide certain increases in the monthly rates of compensation and pension payable to veterans and their dependents, and for other purposes.


1952—June 30 (Pub. L. 82-427) (66 Stat. 295)
An Act to increase certain rates of veterans’ compensation provided for specific service-incurred disabilities, and for other purposes.


1952—July 16 (Pub. L. 82-550) (66 Stat. 663)
An Act to provide vocational readjustment and to restore lost educational opportunities to certain persons who served in the Armed Forces on or after June 27, 1950, and prior to such date as shall be fixed by the President or the Congress.


1953—July 16 (Pub. L. 83-121) (67 Stat. 173)
An Act to facilitate civil service appointment of persons who lost opportunity therefore because of service in the Armed Forces after June 30, 1950, and to provide certain benefits upon appointment.


1953—July 27 (Pub. L. 83-149) (67 Stat. 187)
An Act making appropriations for additional independent executive bureaus, boards, commissions, corporations, agencies, and offices, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1954, and for other purposes


1954—June 1 (Public Law 83-380) (68 Stat. 168)
An Act to honor veterans on the 11th day of November of each year, a day dedicated to world peace.


1954—August 21 (Pub. L. 83-613) (68 Stat. 757)
An Act to increase the amount of Federal aid to State or Territorial homes for the support of disabled soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the United States.


1954—August 28 (Pub. L. 83-695) (68 Stat. 915)
An Act to provide increases in the monthly rates of compensation payable to certain veterans and their dependents.


1956—June 29 (Pub. L. 84-634) (70 Stat. 411)
(War Orphans Educational Assistance Act of 1956) An Act to establish an educational assistance program for children of servicemen who died as a result of a disability incurred in line of duty during World War II or the Korean service period in combat or from the instrumentality of war. -(Current: Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)


**1958—September 2 (Pub. L. 85-857) (72 Stat. 1105) An Act to consolidate into one act all of the laws administered by the Veterans Administration, and for other purposes


1958—September 2 (Pub. L. 85-871) (72 Stat. 1695)
An Act to amend the War Orphans Educational Assistance Act of 1956 to permit the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs to make payments with respect to special restorative training, or specialized courses of vocational training, for younger persons than those with respect to whom the Administrator may now make such payments, and for other purposes.

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