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Veterans' Benefits and Issues: Secondary Sources

The Veterans' Benefits and Issues Libguide provides an overview of Veterans' Benefits research, Veterans' issues, and information on Veterans' outreach.

Louis L. Biro Law Library

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Veterans Law Subject Headings

If you are browsing or just looking to expand your research, try a subject heading search. Here are some subject headings that are commonly used to classify veterans law and issues:


The library’s collection of veterans law and veterans' issues resources consists of books, journals, and online databases. Some of the databases are restricted to law faculty, students, and staff.  Books are often written for a specific target audience: some are written for advocates and attorneys, while others were created for veterans and their dependents.  The secondary sources provided will generally identify the intended audience (e.g., veterans advocate, medical field, veteran). Sources on veterans law and veterans' issues may be written for advocates (e.g., veterans advocates and attorneys), VA employees, the medical field, veterans, and veterans family members.  It is important to consider your research needs and any prior legal and/or medical training in choosing which sources best fit your research needs. 

A note on organization: each included source has a link to the catalog version or an online copy, and the intended audience.  The relevant medical sources used in support of VA benefits will be discussed in the Medical Sources subtab located within Secondary Sources.

Selecting the Right Resource

VA Books

The VA publishes material covering veterans' benefits and programs.  The books range from basic overviews of veterans' benefits to technical manuals used in granting veterans' benefits claims.  These books are generally broad, mention applicable laws, but do not go into considerable details about legal issues. 

  • Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependants & Survivors (public access/target audience: veterans): This book is a great introductory source on federal veterans' benefits.  This book is often a veteran's first resource for understanding veterans' benefits. This book is published yearly. 

Legal Journals and Bulletins

Veterans Law Review (internet resource/ audience: veterans advocates and veterans).  The Veterans Law Review is published annually and includes articles and notes that examine veterans' law issues.  Additionally, there are book reviews on veteran biographies, stories, and on social science works examining veterans issues (e.g., PTSD).

Note: While the Veterans Law Review is dedicated to veterans' law and veterans' issues, other sources have published articles and notes on the subject.  For a thorough search, try expanding your search for articles and notes published in law reviews, journals and legal magazines.  

Practice Books

Military Service & the Law (Joseph Butler & Brian Clauss eds., IICLE 2018) (Catalog Record) (availability: library patrons / target audience: attorneys and veterans advocates).  This practice book is an excellent ready reference for various military servicemembers', veterans', and eligible family members' rights and benefits.  The Military Service & the Law discusses common military and veterans' law issues, gives an overview of the military, and identifies organizations/departments/institutions that serve the military and veteran communities.  For advocates with little exposure to the military and veterans, this resource will help them gain a better understanding of the military, veterans, and common military and veterans' law issues.  

Servicemember and Veterans Rights (Brian Clauss & Joseph Butler eds., 2011) (availability; library patrons / audience: attorneys and veterans/servicemember advocates).  

Subject Books

The American Veterans and Service Members Survival Guide, by Veterans for America (2009)(internet resource/ audience: veterans).  This survival guide was written to provide veterans a comprehensive explanation of veterans' benefits, eligibility requirements, and other legal issues veterans and servicemembers face.  This subject book covers the legal and social issues involved in veterans' claims and is a good resource for veterans and advocates to gain a better understanding of VA benefits and the claims process.  Reading the chapters on service-connected disability compensation (chapter 3) and educational assistance and vocational rehabilitation (chapter 5), will help you better understand these benefits.

  • Note: This guide was published in 2009, so it is dated.  Laws and regulations constantly change, so a researcher should verify whether the laws are still in effect or have changed since the book's publication.

The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans, by Don Philpott and Janelle Hill (2009) (Catalog Record) (library patron resource/ target audience: veterans and dependents).  This book covers healthcare, psychological issues, legal issues, the military medical evacuation process, employment issues, bereavement, and resource for veterans and their families.  The authors discuss issues that arise from the moment a warrior is injured or ill to post service issues like veterans benefits, employment issues, and caregiver compensation.   While written for veterans and their families, this resource is also good for advocates because it discusses common issues wounded warriors face and provides several short bios of wounded warriors.

The legal guide for military families : everything you need to know about family law, estate planning, and the Service-Members Civil Relief Act / the American Bar Association.(Catalog Record) This guide is a good resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. This guide will help servicemembers clarify their legal issues, understand the options, and locate assistance. Topics are presented in an easy-to-read format and every chapter includes a resources section with phone numbers, websites, and contacts to help servicemembers find answers.


US Department of Veterans Affairs School Certifying Handbook (public access/ audience: School VA certifying officials or individuals involved in VA education certification): This official handbook provides guidance to school certifying officials and other VA education certification workers on VA education programs, school duties, student responsibilities, certification processes, and the overpayment procedures.   The VA provides charts with clear breakdowns of program eligibility, benefits, and time limits for using benefits.  The manual also provides contact information for the VA education regional offices and the states each office administers.  For veterans' advocates, this handbook is a great resource because it explains the overall process for VA education benefits and the duties of the school, veteran/service member, and the VA.

VA Reference Materials-WARMS (public access/ audience: VA employees, veterans' advocates, and veterans): the VA's Web automated Reference Material Site (WARMS) serves as a collection of VA Manuals, VA forms, links to Code of Federal Regulations sections on veterans law, and links to pamphlets designed to advertise veterans benefits.  The manuals are written for VA claims officers, attorneys, and adjudicators.  Still, these manuals are useful to veterans and advocates who want to learn more about the VA administrative process.  Key manuals include:

  • M21-1R - Adjudication Procedures (public access/ audience: VA employees): The M21-1 manual rewrite provides procedures for VA employees "for compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, accrued benefits and burial allowance."  
  • M22-4 - Education Procedures (public access/ audience: VA employees): this manual provides instructions on administering the majority of education benefits run by the Veterans Benefits Administration (i.e., Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty); Post-Vietnam Era Veteran's Educational Assistance, Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance; Montgomery GI Bill (Selected Reserve); Reserve Educational Assitance Test Program; Educational Assitance Test Program, Educational Assistance Pilot Program, Educational Assistance for Members Held as Captives and Their Dependents, and National Call to Service.  
    •   Note: this manual does not cover the Post 9/11 GI bill
  • VA Forms (public access/ audience: VA employees, veterans' advocates, and veterans).  The VA Forms website has PDF downloadable VA forms.  

Veterans Benefits Manual (Catalog Record) (library patrons/ audience: veterans' advocates) The National Veterans Legal Services Program's Veterans Benefits Manual provides advocates with a comprehensive review of veterans' benefits, administrative procedures, and advocacy tips.  This manual focuses on compensation and disability benefits, but also reviews other veterans and dependent benefits.  This book is an excellent veterans' law resource and a must read for veterans advocates.