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The United States has been at war for decades, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have answered the call and served in our nation’s military. However, while there are many benefits to having a military background, many American veterans and their family members are struggling financially right now. In April of 2020, the unemployment rate for veterans was 12%. Additionally, many Americans with prior military service are struggling with a heavy debt burden. Fortunately, there are many great government, non-profit, and private sector programs available to help veterans and their families address their financial issues and get back on track. Here are some great financial resources for veterans that you should check out.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the second-largest department in the Federal government, and it’s dedicated to supporting the needs of veterans and their families. The VA provides a tremendous amount of financial support to veterans. This department administers all actions related to the GI Bill, a tremendous resource that pays most and at times all, of the costs associated with veterans’ education and vocational training. The VA also provides housing assistance to veterans via home loan guarantees; it also provides housing grants to disabled veterans.
Supporting Veteran Job Searches
While veteran unemployment is currently high, many existing organizations can help connect out-of-work veterans with employers who need their skills and discipline. Many veterans have achieved success in their job searches by creating an effective profile on LinkedIn, the professional social network. Many recruiters at large corporations and other organizations look here for individuals with prior military service.
Additionally, Military.com has a veteran jobs section that caters to veterans transitioning into new careers. Finally, USA Jobs, an online database of all the job openings within the government, has a section devoted to veterans. Here, vets can find job openings where their veteran status may give them hiring preference.
Thousands of veterans and their families are struggling with debt. Fortunately, there are many financial resources for veterans that can help get their debt under control. For example, Debt.org offers free credit counseling for military service members and veterans. These counselors can assess your current financial situation and help you determine the best way to tackle your debts. Additionally, organizations such as National Debt Relief can offer veterans and their families debt settlement services that can negotiate with their creditors; in many cases, these debt settlement experts can help reduce the overall debt burden significantly.
Many financial resources for veterans are designed to assist them with addressing immediate, urgent needs. For example, the American Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance Program provides cash grants for family assistance, which are designed to help families in need “meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities, and health expenses.” The VFW also offers similar financial aid grants up to $1,500 to assist veterans experiencing challenging financial times.
Additionally, Operation First Response provides financial assistance to wounded veterans and their family members, designed to mitigate the financial burden they face while awaiting the often-lengthy VA disability claim process to run its course. USA Cares provides emergency financial assistance to veterans to help them avoid home foreclosures and to alleviate financial stress related to prior military service. Finally, the VA itself offers financial hardship assistance to veterans who are having trouble making their co-pays on medical bills; this assistance can either relieve all your co-pay debt or allow you to structure your own repayment plan.
If you’re a veteran who cannot locate any programs to support your financial needs, perhaps you should design your own. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms, veterans can describe their financial needs or shortfalls and make their case to other platform users to provide the charitable financial support they need. Fortunately, since they’re held in such high regard in our society, many veterans are able to meet many of their financial goals through crowdfunding. So, if you’re a veteran and need to raise funds to address an unmet financial requirement, consider a crowdfunding site such as GoFundMe.
COVID-19 Support for Veterans
The coronavirus pandemic has placed additional financial strains on many veterans who were already struggling. Fortunately, a wide variety of support programs are available, all designed to provide relief for veterans throughout this crisis. For example, the Wounded Warrior Project has committed to providing $10 million in relief to veterans affected by COVID-19. The PenFed Foundation is providing grants up to $1,500 to relieve financial hardships veterans are facing due to COVID-19. Service-connected disabled veterans who have suddenly become unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis can apply for relief grants from Disabled American Veterans. Finally, for veterans living in Florida, the Florida Veterans Foundation is providing veterans emergency assistance to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Avail of All the Resources You Can
While these are challenging times for veterans, you don’t have to go it alone. So, if you’re having trouble making ends meet in civilian life, make sure you tap into some of these great financial resources for veterans. You could find the money or support you need to accelerate your civilian career and have a great second act.