Now, after 911 and two more wars, the image of the Veteran has improved. But there is still a problem waiting for benefits. It takes on average 9 months to get service rated and start receiving benefits. That is assuming the application was successful and no appeal is required. Although the VA does provide the benefits retroactively, the extra money sometimes arrives too late.
One solution is to apply for education or disability benefits while waiting for discharge. These VA pre-discharge programs can be found on the VA website.