The Department of Veteran Affairs

The Department of
Veteran Affairs Explained

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) exists to help veterans as they transition back to civilian life after service. They provide and manage benefit programs to enhance the quality of life of veterans. For instance, currently, a big focus of the VA is the preventing homelessness among the veteran population. Here’s how the VA is structured and organized to best meet the needs of its clients.


The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the head of the VA, and is appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. Currently, the secretary is Robert A. McDonald. There are 9 additional titles that the president can appoint and the Senate must approve. The Chief of Staff to the Secretary is one of the top executives, but does not need confirmation from the Senate.

Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

There are three subdivisions within the VA, and the VHA is the one dealing with health care for veterans. It is the largest subdivision, with more staff than the other subdivisions combined. It handles every aspect of health care, from front-line care to research, Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and medical centers. It wasn’t the case in the past, but now the VHA is providing care at a level at least equal to, if not higher, than private sector health care.

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)

The VBA subdivision is concerned with providing help and benefits in the form of programs and assistance for veterans and their families. These include home loan guarantee programs, special insurance incentives, and pension programs. They also provide education programs to assist veterans with re-entering the workforce after service.