Updated June 24, 2014.
Prepared by Lori Fossum (2011); updated by Sherry Leysen (2012) for LAW A506: LARW B Public Interest Law.
This guide provides a basic introduction to select resources and starting points for researching federal veterans' benefits.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is an executive department established by the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (see VA History for more information). Three separate units in the VA administer veterans' programs: the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA).
Note: LexisNexis and Westlaw access is limited to individuals with their own IDs and passwords. Access to HeinOnline is UW Restricted.
Title 38 the United States Code (USC) covers Veterans’ Affairs. See the Gallagher guide on U.S. Federal Laws for links to free and commerical online and print sources of the U.S. Code and its commercial counterparts.
Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) covers Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief. See the Gallagher guide on U.S. Administrative Law Research for descriptions of and links to free and commercial online and print sources of the CFR and related adminstrative materials.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Regulation Policy and Management provides links to regulations and information on its rulemaking process
- West's Veterans Appeals Reporter, KF7745 .A518 at the Compact Stacks
- LexisNexis CVA and Westlaw FMIL-VA
Title 73 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) deals with Veterans and Veterans' Affairs and Chapter 43.60 covers the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. See the Gallagher guide on Finding Washington State Laws for links to free and commercial online and print sources of the RCW and related sources.
Title 484 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC). See the Gallagher guide on Washington State Administrative Law for links to free and commercial online and print sources of the WAC and related sources.
Secondary sources provide an excellent starting point for a legal researcher. Secondary sources typically introduce a topic, provide an overview of the law, and offer analysis and commentary helpful to a legal researcher's understanding of an area of law. Secondary sources also provide references to the relevant primary authority a legal researcher needs, including federal and state statutes, cases (court opinions), and administrative decisions, rules, and regulations.
Examples of secondary sources include books, articles, legal encyclopedias, treatises, and attorney practice materials.
Use Gallagher Law Library's online catalog to find reference materials, books, and journals.
Useful subject headings include:
- Veterans -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States
- Veterans -- Services for -- United States
- Veterans' families -- Services for -- United States
- United States -- Armed Forces -- Pay, allowances, etc. -- Law and legislation
- United States. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Examples of books you'll find include:
See also the Gallagher guide on Drafting Contracts: Formbooks & Drafting Resources for links to print and commercial online sources.
The following books are not available in the Gallagher Law Library. Click on the linked titles to find other libraries that have them.
The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans (Special ed. 2015).
Chapter six discusses benefits, taxes, and legal issues.
In addition to searching the legal databases HeinOnline, Lexis, and Westlaw for law review articles, consult the UW Libraries research guide on Military Science for even more tools for searching for articles on veterans' benefits.
- Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
- Web Automated Reference Material System (WARMS): WARMS includes links to online VA Manuals, Directives, Handbooks, and to other publications that provide information about VA benefits policy. The WARMS Site Map is a useful finding tool. Examples of publications available on WARMS include:
- Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors (2011 ed.) (Benefits Booklet)
- Pamphlets and Guides
- Compensation and Pension M21-1 - Adjudication Procedures
- Compensation and Pension M21-1MR - Adjudication Procedures Manual Rewrite
- Compensation and Pension M21-4 - Manpower Control and Utilization in Adjudication Divisions
Other useful links
- The FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Reading Room includes an index to frequently requested VA documents
- VA Forms web site, with frequently requested forms available with the VA Forms Link