As a society, we all owe your veterans a debt of gratitude for their service to our country. Sometimes, however, appreciation is not enough. Many veterans will require tangible assistance as they transition from a military career to civilian life.
Throughout this guide, we will discuss the many and varied support networks available to veterans of the American armed forces. No hero should return from active duty and struggle to make ends meet. These resources will ensure this is not the case.
Over 37,000 military veterans are homeless in the United States of America. While the numbers are decreasing from similar statistics in previous years, this is still completely unacceptable. After serving their country, the least a veteran can expect is a roof over their head. There are numerous resources available to ensure this is available.
- The Department of Veteran Affairs has teamed up with the Department of Housing to create the HUD-VASH (HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program. This provides vouchers to veterans in need that can be used to ensure accommodation is located and paid for.
- The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans work tirelessly to keep all military personnel off the street, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds. You can find your local division by state here.
- The Veterans Affordable Housing Program is arranged by the American Veterans Assistance Group (AVAG), a registered charity that seeks to aid and house veterans.
- The Housing Assistance Council provides accommodation rural locations for military veterans. Perfect for any combat veteran seeking a well-earned quiet life following their service. Operation Homefront also builds affordable homes for veterans.
- Veterans, Inc. offers a range of housing solutions for veterans, especially those at risk of homelessness. Final Salute, meanwhile, is dedicated to aiding homeless female veterans.
- Sheppard Pratt is a social service that offers assistance those in need, especially veterans. Compass Housing Alliance and Mercy Housing provide a similar service, as do Pine Street’s Veterans’ Services.
- Veterans should also be sure to bookmark the US Government’s Benefits Page – welfare packages are available to veterans.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities confirms that financial assistance with accommodation drastically reduces homelessness among the veteran population of the United States. Any veteran that fears for their housing status must seek the assistance they are entitled to.
Jobs and Training for Veterans
Military life leaves veterans with a wide range of skills and expertise. This makes veterans an asset to many employers. Finding work is tough for anybody though, especially in the current climate. Thankfully, there are resources available dedicated to aiding veterans that seek employment.
- Volunteers of America have Homeless Veteran Reintegration Programs all over the country, helping veterans find work and re-enter society.
- Work for Warriors aids military veterans to find employment in relevant sectors. Equally, the National Veterans Foundation has a job board that posts available positions for veterans.
- USA Jobs explains how veterans may benefit from preferred candidate status for particular roles.
- Career OneStop lists out roles that many veterans will be suitable for.
Veterans have plenty to offer the American workplace. It is the responsibility of us all to ensure these brave men and women continue to find employment and retain their personal independence.
Further and Higher Education for Veterans
After completing military service, a veteran may be interested in starting a completely new life and career. This will likely involve returning to school and kickstarting a new education journey. Several reputable colleges across the USA offer scholarship programs from veterans.
- Veterans are eligible to apply for financial aid to attend college under the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid program, known as FAFSA.
- The Scholarship System lists discusses potential scholarships foir veterans across the country.
- The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) provides loans, grants and scholarships to military veterans.
- Military OneSource offers advice on further education opportunities for veterans, as does Thanks USA.
- Naturally, it’s not just veterans themselves that may need help. If a spouse has put their career on hold while their husband or wife serves, the National Military Family Association seeks to provide scholarship opportunities.
- Military widows should also investigate the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program if further education to earn a living after the death in service of a spouse is required.
It’s never too late to enroll in college and start a new life. Veterans and their families deserve this opportunity more than most. Be sure to take advantage of any opportunity.
Self-Employment for Veterans
Some veterans may not be interested in a civilian role after a military career. Perhaps, after countless years of taking orders, the veteran in question is seeking some freedom. Alternatively, they may prefer to maintain the same rigid structure that has served them so well – a routine that does not match a conventional working pattern. In either instance, self-employment is a potential answer.
- Accion provides advice for anybody looking to create a start-up business, as does com
- The US Small Business Administration seeks to help veterans that start their own business, especially those that are wounded in service.
- The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program may provide financial assistance in starting a small business.
- Kabbage (owned by American Express) suggests methods that business capital can be raised, while SFC William Rommel may be able to provide funding themselves.
- Veterans4Veterans suggests a range of courses that military personnel could consider to start a new business venture.
- Freelance websites like PeoplePerHour, Fiverr and Guru offer veterans the opportunity to make a living from the comfort of their own home.
Self-employment can provide veterans with a welcome sense of security, purpose and freedom. This is an avenue that any veteran should seriously consider investigating to make a living.
Help for Veterans with Injuries and Disabilities
Personal injury, which could lead to eventual disability, is a constant occupational hazard for veterans. Anybody that sacrifices their body and health for their country and our safety deserves the utmost aid and support.
- Any veteran injured in service is likely eligible for disability benefits through the US Government. If you find the red tape of dealing with the Department of Veteran Affairs confusing or frustrating, seek help from Disabled Vets or Disabled Veterans Assistance.
- Disability Secrets reveals elements of the benefits program that veterans may not be aware of.
- The Wounded Warrior Project will offer advice and support, while Operation We are Here can aid with physical rehabilitation.
- The Library of Congress also lists out multiple resources for disables veterans and those that care for them.
- Next Step Service Dogs and Veterans Moving Forward provide injured and disabled combat veterans with canine companionship.
- Check in regularly with the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD) for news and support, too.
Injury or disability should not stand in the way of a military veteran living a full and happy life. With these support networks, we can all ensure that this is the case.
Help for Veterans with Mental Health Conditions
Almost 30% of veterans report a diagnosis of at least one mental health disorder following their return to civilian life. The stigma surrounding mental health has thankfully long passed, and any veteran that experiences difficulty deserves as much help and support as we can offer.
- Help Yourself to Help Others offers a self-assessment tool, which veterans can use to determine if they consider their mental health at risk.
- The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and the RAND Association offer tips for supporting and improving the mental health of veterans. UCLA Health and the American Public Health Association also discuss in-depth, intense programs to aid these individuals.
- HelpGuide discusses the all-too-common phenomena of PTSD in veterans, including how to recognize – and overcome – this condition.
- The Coming Home Project works with veterans to ease and assuage any mental health concerns, including troublesome adjustment to civilian life.
- Operation Reach Out is an app devised by Military Community Awareness to provide support to any veteran experiencing mental health concerns, including bit not limited to suicidal thoughts.
- ZocDoc lists out potential counsellors and therapists throughout the country for anybody that may benefit from such a service.
- Operation Once in a Lifetime is the veteran equivalent of the Make a Wish foundation, helping combat veterans live out their dream upon completing service.
Veterans have experience enough mental and emotional hardship. Upon returning to civilian life, they deserve every opportunity to balance their mental and emotional equilibrium. These services provide that opportunity.
The peer-reviewed journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation describes substance addiction as, ” significant problem among our nation’s military veterans.” When we consider the horrors that veterans are exposed to, and the challenges to adjusting to civilian life, this is not entirely surprising. Thankfully, help is available to manage any dependencies.
- Start Your Recovery is the first place that any veteran – or loved one – concerned about substance abuse should seek help.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. This division offers understanding and support to veterans with substance dependency concerns.
- Addiction Resources discusses how military service can lead to substance abuse, providing advice and support as a result.
- help.org discusses the impact of substance abuse, and lists rehabilitation services throughout the country. Make the Connection offers a similar service and can connect veterans with survivors of both combat and substance misuse.
- Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have presences all over the USA and anybody struggling with addiction or dependency will be welcome at their meetings.
Substance addiction is an illness, no different from any other. Veterans living with this condition need our help and understanding, not judgment. If you or a loved one are concerned by substance use, seek help without shame or delay.
Help for Older Veterans
Many older members of society require a little more assistance. This is increasingly likely in veterans, who will have experienced a great deal in their lives and may experience limited mobility or capacity as a result.
- aging.com is a one-stop shop for all matters and concerns pertaining to the senior population, with a dedication and understand of the unique challenged faced by senior veterans.
- The Senior Veteran’s Service Alliance offers help and advice on the benefits available to older military veterans.
- Veteran Aid discusses how funding can aid with the costs of care and support for senior veterans.
- Visiting Angels provides senior veterans with company and home help.
Age is something that catches up with us all. Veterans are no exception to this. No veteran should ever allow pride to stand in the way of obtaining much-needed help and assistance.
Financial and Debt Advice
When you are used to spending your days disarming bombs and avowing gunfire, basic things that we take for granted such as balancing a checkbook can take a backseat. It is important that no veteran experiences financial hardship or debt concerns upon completing their service.
- There are multiple benefits packages available to US veterans. These can be sourced through the US Government’s I am a Veteran program, or external resources including American Veterans Aid, Military Benefits, The American Legion or military.com
- As the name suggests, Free Grants for Veterans is a resource page that lists out possible grants that may be available to military veterans.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars, USA Cares and Veterans Plus provide grants and support to American armed forces personnel. Veterans and their families can also apply for support through the registered charity E.R.O.E.S Care.
- The PenFed Foundation offers interest-free loans to military veterans that need a financial leg-up to get started.
- Debt can be a concern for veterans, especially those injured in service and unable to meeting their everyday expenses. The Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act of 2019 is designed to offer protection for any veteran in such a position.
- InCharge is a registered charity that offers advice and counselling on matters of debt. They have a special arm dedicated to veteran affairs. debt.org is another essential bookmark for any veteran losing sleep over money owed.
No veteran should worry about whether they can afford to eat, stay warm or make their rent for the month. These financial assistance packages and charities will ensure this not the case.
Summary of Useful Links
There have been a great many links in this guide, and it’s easy to lose track of the important sites that may have caught your eye. For easy bookmarking and referencing, please see below for a list of all the sites that we recommend visiting.
- The American Legion – legion.org
- American Veterans Aid – americanveteransaid.com
- American Veterans Assistance Group – avagusa.com
- The Coming Home Project – cominghomeproject.net
- debt.org – www.debt.org
- Disabled Veterans Assistance – disabledvetassistance.org
- Disabled Vets – disabledvets.com
- Final Salute – finalsaluteinc.org
- Free Grants for Veterans – freegrantsforveterans.org
- E.R.O.E.S Care – www.heroescare.org
- InCharge – incharge.org
- Military – www.military.com
- Military Benefits – militarybenefits.info
- Military Community Awareness – 4mca.com
- Military Officers Association of America – moaa.org
- Military OneSource – militaryonesource.mil
- National Coalition for Homeless Veterans – nchv.org
- National Military Family Association – militaryfamily.org
- National Veterans Foundation – nvf.org
- Next Step Service Dogs – nextstepservicedogs.org
- Operation Homefront – operationhomefront.org
- Operation Once in a Lifetime – operationonceinalifetime.com
- Operation We are Here – operationwearehere.com
- PenFed Foundation – penfedfoundation.org
- Pine Street’s Veterans’ Services – pinestreetinn.org
- Senior Veterans Service Alliance – veteransaidbenefit.org
- Thanks USA – thanksusa.org
- US Government Benefits – benefits.gov
- US Government Department of Veteran Affairs – va.gov
- USA Cares – usacares.org
- USA Jobs – usajobs.gov
- Veteran Aid – veteranaid.org
- Veterans4Veterans – veterans4veterans.org
- Veterans, Inc. – veteransinc.org
- Veterans Affordable Housing Program – veteransaffordablehousing.org
- Veterans of Foreign Wars – vfw.org
- Veterans Moving Forward – vetsfwd.org
- Veterans Plus – veteransplus.org
- Volunteers of America – voa.org
- Work for Warriors – workforwarriors.org
- Wounded Warrior Project – woundedwarriorproject.org