Office of Rural Health
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS STRUCTURE
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is an agency of the federal government that provides benefits, health care and cemetery services to military Veterans. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a cabinet-level official, is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. VA is the federal government’s second largest department after the Department of Defense.
VA employs nearly 400,000 people at hundreds of VA medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices and is responsible for administering benefits programs for Veterans, their families and survivors.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is responsible for initial Veteran registration, eligibility determination and administration of VA's five key lines of non-medical benefits. Major benefits to Servicemembers, Veterans and their families include:
- Home Loan Guarantee
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
- Compensation and Pension
VBA is undergoing a major transformation that is a people-centric, results-oriented and forward-looking integration of solutions that will ensure total lifelong engagement with Servicemembers, Veterans, and their families.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is home to one of the United States’ largest integrated health care systems, consisting of 171 medical centers, more than 1,400 community-based outpatient clinics, community living centers, Vet Centers and Domiciliaries. Together these health care facilities and the more than 53,000 independent licensed health care practitioners who work within them provide comprehensive care to more than 9.1 million Veterans each year.
VA medical centers provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy. In addition, most of its medical centers offer additional medical and surgical specialty services including audiology and speech pathology, dermatology, dental, geriatrics, neurology, oncology, podiatry, prosthetics, urology and vision care. Some medical centers also offer advanced services such as organ transplants and plastic surgery.
In addition, VHA is responsible for biomedical research (under the Office of Research and Development), Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and Regional Medical Centers.
The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) honors Veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines and with lasting tributes that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our Nation.
- NCA maintains 4.11 million graves with 689,646 additional developed gravesites available: 339,796 available gravesites for casketed remains, 164,466 in ground gravesites for cremated remains and 185,384 columbarium niches for cremated remains.
- NCA administers 155 national cemeteries of which 87 are open for all interments and 22 are open for interments of cremated remains only. In addition to VA national cemeteries, two national cemeteries—Arlington and the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery—are administered by the Army. Fourteen national cemeteries are maintained by the Department of the Interior. The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 26 American cemeteries and monuments outside of the United States.
- Nearly 23,000 acres from Hawaii to Maine, and from Alaska to Puerto Rico are devoted to memorializing those who served this nation.
- Nearly 5.3 million people—including 4 million Veterans from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan—are honored with a burial in a VA national cemetery.