VA Benefits: Wartime Periods

At this time, the following are recognized as wartime periods for purposes of becoming eligible for VA benefits:

  • Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
  • World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)
  • World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)
  • Vietnam War era (February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

Note that Congressionally defined periods of war don’t always line up with what’s in the history books. For example, World War II combat ended in 1945, but service through December 31, 1946 is deemed to be during that wartime period.

A common misperception is that the veteran had to serve in combat. That is not the case since service in a non-combat role made it possible for other to serve in combat. With the exception of February 28, 1961 through August 5, 1964, service anywhere in the world qualifies as service during a wartime period. For updated information, consult 38 CFR § 3.2.

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