Here’s what you can do to get financial help for veterans
Veterans are our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours. With more than 22 million veterans in the US, you may well know someone who has served in the armed forces – or you may have even served yourself.
It’s never simple making the transition back to civilian life, especially when it comes to finances. Many veterans find themselves facing financial emergencies or financial pressure – and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
The US government has long sought to give veterans privileges in return for their service, including financial assistance, help with housing and medical benefits. Often, however, it’s not enough. Outlined below are several options that offer financial help for ex-service men and women.
Key reasons to help veterans
- Elderly veterans and combat veterans who are disabled are especially vulnerable when it comes to financial stress.
- Disability Statistics estimated in 2016 that 25% of veterans have service-related disabilities.
- The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 11% of the country’s adult homeless population are veterans.
Financial resources for veterans
There are quite a few resources dedicated to helping veterans. We’ve found the following sources of financial help for veterans:
- The Unmet Needs Program from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers grants of up to $5,000 to military families experiencing financial problems.
- Lifeline is a government programme that helps pay for phone services for veterans.
- Healthfinder.gov provides veterans with a list of prescription resources that they can use to help pay for their treatment and medicine.
- Veterans of Foreign War Unmet Needs Grant will provide recent veterans with up to $2,500 in grants for needs stemming from the hardships of military service.
- The National Association of American Veterans Emergency Assistance helps refer veterans and their families to financial aid services. It also provides free transport to medical appointments for veterans in the Washington, DC area. This makes it possible for many people to go and see a doctor when they couldn’t afford to do so otherwise.
- USA Cares Emergency America’s Heroes helps veterans pay bills, including food and utilities, by offering them an average grant of $650.
- The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes offers financial assistance to veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Operation Family Fund provides grants to veterans who were severely disabled while serving in Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. The grants help families pay for a variety of expenses from rent and medical bills to emergency transport and vehicle repair.
- American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance awards cash grants to families of eligible veterans with children under the age of 18 to help pay for accommodation, food, utilities and healthcare expenses.
- Vantage Mobility International’s Operation Independence programme offers eligible disabled veterans up to $49,000 to help pay for wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
Resources for homeless veterans
The US Department of Veterans Affairs provides four programmes for housing assistance:
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-CA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)
- Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD)
- Enhanced Use Lease Program (EUL)
- Acquired Property Sales for Homeless Providers Program
Organisations helping veterans
If you’re a veteran, there is a variety of community resources available to you and these three community-based organisations are a good place to start.
- We Honor Veterans (WHV) helps connect volunteers with veteran organisations in their local area. Through WHV, you can find resources for PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), homelessness, substance abuse and sexual trauma.
- Veterans Inc. can help you access services like housing, employment training or help with work placements and health and wellbeing in your community.
- Veterans Community Services helps service members and veterans transition into community life. From substance abuse treatment to long-term success plans, VCS wants to help manage a smooth return to civilian life for all veterans.
Job resources for veterans
- Veterans Employment Training Services, from the US Department of Labor, helps veterans get job training and explore career opportunities.
- USAJOBS provides federal job listings for veterans and their families.
Crowdfunding for veterans
Citizens often honour veterans by paying respects at landmarks like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, which is visited by more than three million people every year. Another way to show gratitude is by crowdfunding for veterans causes. You can raise funds to give directly to veterans or give the funds you raise to an existing organisation.
Even though there are government programmes and charities which provide aid for veterans, you personally can make a positive impact too. If you know a veteran who is in need of financial assistance – whether they’re reaching out after a setback or because they’re reaching for a dream – you can start a crowdfunding fundraiser on their behalf. Or you can simply raise money for your favourite charity for veterans.
Veterans’ causes to support through crowdfunding
If you’re passionate about helping veterans, then consider raising funds by crowdfunding for your favourite veterans’ cause. Here’s a quick look at some veteran organisations that you could support.
Higher Ground helps veterans who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress and other trauma by offering 13-week sports camps for them and their caregivers. The camps go beyond physical rehabilitation to create an open environment in which individuals can share experiences and form relationships with others going through similar challenges.
This charity runs a programme that allows people in prison to help veterans by training puppies to become service dogs for disabled veterans. Along the way, inmates get the emotional support that comes with having a pet and caring for it. After 24 months of training led by professionals, the dogs are given to wounded veterans.
Home for Our Troops builds houses for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who experienced life-altering injuries in the course of their duty. The houses are adapted to their needs and are mortgage-free. Home for Our Troops has built nearly 200 homes nationwide since it was founded in 2004.
Hire Heroes USA helps more than 60 veterans and their spouses find jobs each week. The charity is nationally recognised as a great resource for both veterans and their spouses who are looking for jobs. Personalised training from professionals helps equip job seekers with the skills and the confidence they need to enter the workforce.
Be of service to a veteran
Whether you decide to crowdfund for one of these organisations or raise funds directly for a veteran friend or family member, we’re here to help you provide emergency financial assistance for veterans. People use our free crowdfunding platform to raise money for veterans every day.