This Day in the Law
March 15

Department of Veterans Affairs Established (1989)

On March 15, 1989, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was established by President Ronald Regan. This department replaced the Veterans Administration, which was established in 1930.

Prior to the Veterans Administration (VA), there were several different organizations that dealt with veteran affairs, including the U.S. Veterans’ Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The VA aimed to consolidate these organizations so that all veteran affairs would be under the control of one organization.

President Regan took the VA one step further by signing legislation to make it a Cabinet-level organization, effective March 15, 1989.

The Department of Veterans Affairs was created to administer benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors. These benefits include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits, and burial benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Since the Department is a Cabinet-level organization, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is appointed by the President, and must have the consent of the Senate.