Resources for Veterans

Oakland Public Library's Main Library has a Veterans Resource Center in the lobby, staffed with a trained volunteer who can help veterans and family members learn about benefits for education, health, employment, housing, and more.

Please click here for the updated Community Kiosk schedule. 
Download the Veterans Resource Center schedule (PDF)

Useful eBooks

  1. Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors, 2016 Online Edition
  2. Cal Vet California Veterans Resource Book
  3. 2016 Military Online Handbooks:

Find Your VA Regional Office

To apply for VA financial benefits, complete VA Form 21-526 - “Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension” or on-line at

Service Connected Compensation: If a disability is the result of an injury, disability, or an event in military service. 

Non-Service Connected Pension Eligibility:

  • Age 65 or older OR are permanently and totally disabled,
  • Active duty service with at least one day during a period of war, 
  • 24 months of continuous service after September 7th, 1980 (min. service requirement of 90-days prior to this date), AND Income and net worth does not exceed the annual income limit of $13,855. 

GI Bill: To apply for the GI Bill the complete VA Form 22-1990 – “Application for VA Education Benefits” or on-line at For more information on education and vocational benefits: 888.442.4551 

Discharge Upgrade:  A review of military discharge may be requested using DD Form 293 “Application for the Review of Discharge from the Armed Forces of the United States”  

VA Healthcare Eligibility Review for OTH/BCD: Request may be submitted by mail using VA Form 7131 “Exchange of Beneficiary Information and Request for Administrative and Adjudicative Action” 

Re-starting Benefits: If existing VA benefits have been stopped due to incarceration, “release papers” must be presented to the VA Regional Office upon release from custody in order to restart your benefits.   

Social Security: Information for Wounded Warriors and Veterans who have a compensation rating of 100% P&T at

Crisis Resources

California Veterans Crisis Line: Veterans can call or send a text message or click to Chat on line. 

US VA Veterans Crisis Line: Veterans can call or send a text message or click to Chat on line and can take a self-check quick. 


Educational Benefits available to veterans include the following. You can also visit

Non-Resident College Fee Waiver: Waives non-resident fees at all State of California Community Colleges, California State University, or University of California Campuses. How to Apply: Visit the admissions office of any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus or the local County Veterans Service Organization.

College Tuition Fee Waiver for Veteran Dependents: Waives mandatory system-wide tuition and fees at any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus. How to Apply: Visit the admissions office of any State of California Community College, California State University, or University of California campus or the local County Veterans Service Organization.

Post 9/11 GI Bill: Provides financial support for education and housing to eligible individuals. How to Apply:  Visit

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment: VA's Education and Career Counseling program is a great opportunity for Service members and Veterans to get personalized counseling and support to help guide their career paths, ensure the most effective use of their VA benefits, and achieve their goals. How to Apply: Visit


Ebenefits (, an online platform developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense provides military veterans with tools necessary for job search, resume building, and military skill transfer. Additionally Ebenefits visitors receive up-to-date information on virtual and local veteran job fairs. (, powered by, provides military veterans with a search engine which matches “military friendly” employers with veteran job seekers. Other services include a professional networking platform, military skill translator, and up-to-date virtual career fairs.

CA State Employment: Find Vacancy Listings at: Special provisions allow veterans to receive preference points when testing for open and open non-promotional examinations requiring college graduation and less than two years of experience. The points are added to the final score only after the candidate has successfully passed all parts of the examination. For more information about veterans’ preference points, contact the California Department of Human Resources at (866) 844-8671.

To be eligible for veterans’ preference credits, an individual must be qualified as veteran. “Veteran” means any person who has either:

-          Served full time for 30 days or more in the Armed Forces in time of war or in time of peace in a campaign or expedition for service in which a medal has been authorized by the government of the United States, or during the period of September 16, 1940, to January 31, 1995.


-          Served at least 181 consecutive days since January 31, 1995, and who has been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable but does not include any person who served only in auxiliary or reserved components of the Armed Forces whose service therein did not exempt him or her from the operation of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.

Points Awarded:

-          Eligible veterans, widows/widowers of veterans, and spouses of veterans receive 10 points

-          Eligible disabled veterans receive 15 points

-          Eligible widows/widowers of National Guard veterans will receive 5 points

How to Apply: Print copy of CalHR Form 1093 (9/12). This form, along with a copy of military discharge papers (Member 4 copy of the DD Form 214), should be mailed to:

California Department of Human Resources
Attn: Exam Services
1515 “S” Street, North Building, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95811

Federal Employment: Find Vacancy Listings at: or By law (Title 5 USC, Section 2108), veterans who are disabled or serve on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-veterans both in federal hiring practices and in retention during reductions in force. When applying for federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference on their application or resume. Applicants claiming 10-point preference to a service-connected disability must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference.

Swords to PlowsharesSince 1974 Swords to Plowshares has helped veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area address barriers to employment and secure employment after their military service. Veterans work one-on-one with our Employment & Training Program staff to address their individual needs, overcome obstacles to employment, and determine a long-term career plan. Job placement assistance and vocational training programs are provided to help veterans translate their skills and train for new careers in high-growth, high-wage careers in the civilian sector.

Their Oakland office is at 2719 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, 94612. Drop-in hours: Monday – Friday: 9:30 am – 12 pm, 1 – 4 pm; email at

Silent Professionals ( is a free employment service for military veterans looking to make the transition into the civilian workforce. The service focuses on helping veterans find a new career by leveraging the skills that they acquired and honed during their time of service; this service focuses on the private security job market.


CalVet ( offers a great home loan option for veterans purchasing homes in California. CalVet has expanded eligibility so that most honorably discharged veterans and active duty service member wanting to buy a home in California are eligible. CalVet offers loans on:

  • Single Family Homes, Condos, Co-ops, and Mobile Home on land for up to $521,250
  • Mobile homes in a park for up to $175,000 (interest rate is an additional 1%)
  • Farm loans for up to $625,000
  • Home improvements for up to $150,000
  • Rehabilitation for those houses not up to VA standards
  • Construction take-out or construction for building a new home

VA Home Loans: VA provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help veterans buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for personal occupancy.

VA home loans can be used to:

  • Buy a home, a condominium unit in a VA-approved project
  • Build a home
  • Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
  • Improve a home by installing energy-related features or making efficient improvements
  • Buy a manufactured home and/or lot

Emergency Housing

Salvation Army: Group homes, emergency shelters, and transitional living centers provide housing, food, and overnight lodging for varying amounts of time to those in need. In addition, they provide educational, counseling and vocational service to homeless, destitute individuals and families, and youth where family care is undesirable or unavailable. Find your local Salvation Army Housing Unit:

Transitional Housing

Veterans Service Centers: Provides a comprehensive mix of services for veterans in Northern California including supportive housing programs offering up to two twenty-four months of stable living, combined with assistance with obtaining sustainable-wage jobs. Find your local Veterans Service Center:

Swords to Plowshares: Provides transitional and permanent residential programs to assist homeless veterans with stability and support.

Swords to Plowshares
1060 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103


VA Healthcare Basic Eligibility Requirements for VA Healthcare

  • Verified active duty military service
  • Separation status of under Honorable or General Under Honorable conditions –
  • 24 months of continuous service after September 7th, 1980 (min. service requirement of 90-days prior to this date) 

The VA encourages all Veterans to apply for healthcare benefits so that enrollment eligibility can be determined on an individual basis, as there are a number of exceptions to the basic requirements. 

A Veteran with an Other Than Honorable (OTH) or Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) along with a verified Service Connected condition may be eligible for VA healthcare strictly to treat that condition OR a request can be made through the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to make an administrative decision about the character of service to determine eligibility (See VBA section below for details). 

OEF/OIF/OND:  Veterans can receive cost free medical care for any condition related to service in the Iraq/Afghanistan thereafter for five years after the date of discharge or release.   

To apply for VA Healthcare Benefits, complete the VA Form 10-10EZ “Application for Health Benefits” and submit it to the Health Benefits and Enrollment office or on-line at

DD-214:  To obtain a copy of a service record, complete Standard Form 180 - “Request Pertaining to Military Records” or apply on-line at 


TRICARE is the health care program for almost 9.5 million beneficiaries worldwide—TRICARE offers comprehensive, affordable health coverage with several health plan options, a robust pharmacy benefit, dental options and other special programs.

For more information on enrolling in a TRICARE program option, visit TRICARE costs are subject to change. Visit for the most up-to-date information.

TRICARE is a health program designed for:

  • Uniformed Service members and their families
  • National Guard/Reserve members and their families
  • Survivors
  • Former spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families
  • Others registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)

TRICARE West Region
United Healthcare Military & Veterans


Legal Assistance

Swords to Plowshares: Provides free attorney representation in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and military discharge upgrade cases.

Swords to Plowshares
1060 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Transportation Assistance

Swords to Plowshares
1060 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Veterans Service Organizations

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc.
5533 Terra Granada #1A
Walnut Creek, CA 94595

 The American Legion
401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 117
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 431-2400

Veterans Resource Centers
P.O. Box 378
Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Paralyzed Veterans of America
National Headquarters
801 Eighteenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20006-3517
(800) 424-8200

AMVETS Department of California
120 North M Street
Tulare, CA 93274
(877) 526-1339

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
2116 Arlington Avenue, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 737-3900

Volunteers of America
3434 Marconi Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 265-3400

Military Order of the Purple Heart
MOPH Room 1145N
VA Regional Office
1301 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 834-0612

Veterans of Foreign Wars
1510 J Street, Suite 110
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-8850

Wounded Warrior Project
2468 Historic Decatur Road
Building 905, Suite 150
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 981-9642

U.S.VETS - National Office
800 West Sixth Street, Suite 1505
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 542-2600