Imagine being halfway through college without cracking a textbook. Need a mentor? About 250,000 are standing by to help in your job search. Buying a home? How does no down payment sound? These are examples of the billions of dollars in military benefits available to service members and veterans. However, these extraordinary benefits often go unused or overlooked.
A new book called "The Military Advantage: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Military & Veterans Benefits" (Simon & Schuster, $20) could help the 30 million men and women who served unlock those benefits and make the most of their military experience.
The guide is full of insider tips, little-known benefits and shortcuts. It addresses the ins and outs of the system, identifying what can be claimed-or lost if left unclaimed. It offers tips like these:
GI Bill and Scholarships
• You may have up to $50,000 in educational funding just waiting to be used.
• Military experience can count toward college credits-you may be only a few credits shy of an associate's degree.
• There are $300 million in scholarships for military members, spouses and children; in some cases these cover full tuition.
VA Home Loans
A VA home loan offers advantages not associated with other types of loans. They include:
• Upper limit of $417,000 with no down payment required in most cases.
• No monthly mortgage insurance premium.
• Veterans with disabilities may have their loan fees waived.
• Veterans with permanent and total service-connected disabilities may be eligible for a grant up to $50,000 to adapt a house to meet their disability needs.
The book explains career services available to veterans, including:
• A nationwide, free mentoring service to quickly network with 250,000 other service members, veterans and spouses.
• Where to find online tools to translate your military skills to civilian terms to find jobs related to your military specialty.
• Tips on hot careers. Keep your security clearance active-civilian workers with clearance earn 24 percent more than their counterparts and there's never been a greater demand in classified programs.
• How to flag your resume for military-friendly employers.