Veterans Affairs, United States Department of, federal executive department established to operate programs to benefit veterans and their families. The department was established in 1989; its predecessor was an independent agency, the Veterans Administration, which had been created in 1930. The department, which is divided into the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the National Cemetery System, manages veterans hospitals and clinics and oversees the eligibility and disbursement of disability pensions, veterans' educational assistance programs, vocational rehabilitation for disabled vets, and the mortgage loan guaranty program. In addition the department administers the National Cemetery System, including national cemeteries, headstones, and grants to states for developing cemeteries. After World War II, the VA provided educational benefits to more than seven million vets. Veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars received similar, but less extensive, benefits.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.