Purple Heart Day is celebrated on August 7 and honors the brave men and women who were severely wounded, or gave their life, while serving our great country. First observed in 2014, the day gives us a chance to reflect and honor the bravery of those who fought and risked their lives for the United States.

History of the Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed in action and is the oldest military award still given to members of the U.S. military. George Washington presented the first medal, then called the Badge of Military Merit, in 1782 to recognize bravery in combat. During World War II, the Purple Heart was used to honor service members who suffered combat injuries or who died in battle.

Today, Purple Heart eligibility also includes injuries or deaths resulting from terrorist attacks or service as part of a peacekeeping force. While requirements to receive the medal have changed over time, the Purple Heart is one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Benefits to Veterans

Purple Heart recipients are eligible for VA benefits to include the following:

Health care

Purple Heart recipients have a higher priority group for health-care services and do not have to make co-payments for inpatient or outpatient VA medical services.


VA statutes and regulations require special consideration of lay statements from combat Veterans when considering whether a claimed condition is related to service. Since the Purple Heart is a combat medal, this means it may be easier for Purple Heart recipients to substantiate their claims for compensation benefits.


All Purple Heart recipients are eligible for Post-9/11 G.I. Bill (Chapter 33 benefits) to help pay for school or job training. Individuals who received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service, are also eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program. This program can help pay for higher out-of-state, private school, foreign school or graduate school tuition and fees that the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill doesn’t cover.

Home Loan Guaranty

Purple Heart recipients currently serving on active duty may be exempt from the VA funding fee associated with their VA guaranteed home loan. The recipient must provide evidence to their lender or VA of having been awarded the Purple Heart on or before loan closing. Any Purple Heart recipient who is receiving VA disability compensation may also be exempt from paying the funding fee.

Additional benefits

Purple Heart recipients are eligible for commissary and exchange privileges. Find out more information about these privileges here.

State benefits

Many states also offer benefits and services to Purple Heart Veterans, family members, caregivers and survivors. Information on State benefits available to Purple Heart recipients can be found here.

For more information

To all Purple Heart recipients, our Nation is grateful for your selfless service. Please know that you may be eligible for VA disability compensation for any injuries you sustained in service or related to service. More information on how to submit a disability claim can be found on the va.gov website.

By Christine Ortiz is a public affairs specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Office of Strategic Engagement

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Published on Aug. 7, 2022

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  1. Carol Farabee August 19, 2022 at 8:21 am

    It is a shame that this does not pertain to the thousands of homeless Veterans that are given handouts each day.

    Too bad the United States has turned its back on the homeless Veterans and do not provide services for them.

  2. Benjamin F Phillips Jr. August 12, 2022 at 8:18 am

    I was wounded in Vietnam in 1969 while serving on river patrol boats, but because we were on a mission to land troops that night I was treated for a jaw wound from shrapnel and stayed out on patrol. It was never reported in my record therefore I never received my Purple Heart. I have notarized documentation from my Boat Captain that witnessed the injury and the reason it was never in my records but the VA refuses to give me the recognition I deserve. The medal would not give me any more benefits than I already have, being a disabled Vet. It’s been 53 years since that day and it still haunts me as to why they won’t do what’s right.

  3. Phil August 9, 2022 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for the extensive list of resources available to disabled vets.

Comments are closed.

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