No, the ADVA is not part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. We are a State of Alabama department that assists former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents in numerous capacities. We provide services that complement those of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes the preparing of claims for and securing compensation, hospitalization, education, vocational training, and other benefits or privileges which veterans may be qualified for under Federal or State Law, or regulation, by reason of their military service. Among our many facilities, we operate state veterans homes, a state veterans cemetery, and numerous Veterans Service Offices (VSO) around the state.
The separate U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established as an independent agency by Executive Order 5398 on July 21, 1930, and was elevated to Cabinet level on March 15, 1989. VA is the second largest federal department and has over 312,000 employees. As advocates for veterans and their families, the VA community is committed to providing the very best services with an attitude of caring and courtesy. VA comprises a Central Office (VACO), which is located in Washington, DC, and field facilities throughout the nation administered by its three major line organizations: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA).
The federal agency’s mission is to serve America’s veterans and their families with dignity and compassion, and to be their principal advocate in ensuring that they receive medical care, benefits, social support, and lasting memorials promoting the health, welfare, and dignity of all veterans in recognition of their service to this nation. Services and benefits are provided through a nationwide network of 151 medical centers, 820 community-based outpatient clinics, 300 Vet Centers, 56 regional offices, and 131 national cemeteries.
Most federal, state and local veterans’ benefits require proof of military service through an official discharge document, often called a DD-214 or one of its predecessors. You may request a free copy of your military service record through the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/
To get copies of National Guard records, contact the Adjutant General’s office at 334-213-7574.
The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 was enacted on July 20, 2015. A Veteran ID Card (VIC) is a form of photo ID you can use to get discounts offered to veterans at many restaurants, hotels, stores, and other businesses. It does not replace your veteran health identification card or your Department of Defense ID card. Veterans interested in receiving a VIC may apply online at ( https://www.va.gov/records/get-veteran-id-cards/vic /) or speak to a representative at a VA medical center or community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC).
You will need to complete a Standard Form 180 (SF 180), sign and mail it to the Military Records section of the National Personnel Records Center, 1 Archives Dr., St. Louis, MO 63138. For assistance, you may contact any Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs veterans service office, call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 800-827-1000 or visit http://www.archives.gov.
The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics estimates 377,310 veterans living in Alabama. For more in-depth figures, including county-by-county breakdowns, visit the NCVAS website: va.gov/vetdata.
Alabama offers several benefits to its veterans, above and beyond those offered by the federal government. For more information, please go to the tab Benefits & Services on the homepage.
To obtain a veterans distinctive license plate from the Alabama Department of Revenue, visit their website at (https://revenue.alabama.gov/motor-vehicle/license-plate-information/military-license-plates/) for requirements. In many cases, a veteran must first obtain an affidavit from an Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Service Office (VSO). The affidavit will state the veteran’s eligibility for the license plate. Veterans should hand carry a copy of their DD Form 214, deployment orders, or signed letter from unit commander verifying service along with a valid drivers license for verification to the VSO. Veterans will present the affidavit to their county license office for the distinctive license plate. Veterans can call their local VSO for more information about the Alabama Distinctive Military/Veterans License Plate Program. To find your nearest VSO, visit the veterans service office Locator page for contact options.
Registration fees are $15–to $890 depending on the type of vehicle registered. Additional fees may be required.
The eligibility criteria to be admitted into the State Veterans Home Program include the following:
Must be honorably discharged from military service with a minimum of 90 days of active service with at least one day during a wartime period. (Does not include training period)
Must meet the qualifications as set forth by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA) criteria for skilled nursing care
Must have been a resident of Alabama for the immediate past 12 months
Applicants may not have medical or nursing care needs that the home is not equipped to provide. This may include diagnosis/behavioral traits that may prove dangerous to the well-being of self or others
Peacetime veterans may be admitted on a space available basis, but will not be placed before a wartime veteran.
Veterans listed on the Sex Offender Registry or in a felony fugitive status shall not be admitted to a State Veterans Home.
To download an application, go to https://va.alabama.gov/vets-home-program/ and click on one of the homes. The application is on the right side of the page.
Pre-registration is available and allows a veteran and their spouse to establish their eligibility for burial at the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort. There is no cost for pre-registration and it does not obligate the veteran to be interred at the cemetery. Pre-registration is intended to simplify and assist the veteran’s next-of-kin at the time of death. The key items needed for pre-registration are a copy of the veteran’s discharge certificate (DD Form 214) and, for married veterans, a copy of the marriage certificate.
We cannot release personal information about a veteran, and we lack the resources and current information to forward letters or correspondence to veterans. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military branches may be able forward some messages to veterans or active service personnel (using the personnel locator service). Some veterans service organizations such as the VFW and American Legion and other groups also maintain reunion listings, member directories and locator services.