A veteran is any individual who served in the armed forces, but they are so much more than that. They are wives, brothers, fathers, best friends, and an integral part of our society. As they risk their lives to protect ours, we should make sure that veterans have the resources they need when they return home. And there are plenty of government programs and nonprofits working towards providing assistance for veterans in need.
Why Should You Help Veterans?
- The United States Census Bureau estimated that in 2014 there were 3,756,131 veterans with a service-connected disability.
- The American Community Survey found that in 2013 one in ten non-elderly veterans did not have health insurance, making it harder to get the care they need.
- Of the entire adult homeless population, the US Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 11 percent are veterans.
But things are looking up. There are a number of available resources to help protect veterans from crippling medical debt. Here are just a few sources of financial assistance for veterans we’ve found:
Financial Assistance for Veterans
- The Unmet Needs Program from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) offers military families experiencing financial difficulties grants of up to $5,000.
- Lifeline is a government program that helps pay for veterans phone services.
- Healthfinder.gov provides veterans a list of prescription resources they can use to help pay for their treatment and medicines.
- Veterans of Foreign War Unmet Needs Grant will provide recent veterans with up to $2,500 in grants that don’t need to be repaid to cover unexpected financial need due to hardships associated with military service
- The National Association of American Veterans Emergency Assistance helps refer veterans and their families to financial assistance services. The organization also provides a free transportation service to medical appointments for veterans in the Washington, D.C. area. This eliminates an additional expense most people forget about when they plan their medical budget.
- USACares Emergency America’s Heroes helps post 9/11 veterans pay essential bills, including food and utilities, by offering them an average grant of $650.
- The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes offers veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are eligible to apply for financial assistance to help alleviate financial difficulties
- Operation Family Fund provides grants to veterans who were severely disabled while serving in Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. The grants help these families pay anything from rent and medical bills to emergency transportation and vehicle repair.
- The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance awards families of eligible veterans with minor children cash grants to help pay for shelter, food, utilities and health expenses in order to keep children in a more stable environment.
- Vantage Mobility International’s program Operation Independence offers eligible disabled veterans up to $49,000 to help pay for a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Resources for Homeless Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides four programs 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
Job Resources for Veterans
- This Job Thesaurus translates military skills sets into civilian jobs.
- Veterans Employment Training Services from the United States Department of Labor helps veterans receive job training and explore career opportunities.
- USAJOBS provides federal job listings for veterans and their families.
Showing Gratitude by Giving Back
Citizens often choose to honor veterans by paying their respects to landmarks like the Vietnam War Memorial, which people visit more than 3 million people every year. Another way to show gratitude is by crowdfunding for veterans’ causes that are dedicated to improving the lives of the men and women who have served our country.
Crowdfunding for Veterans
Even though several government programs and nonprofits exist to provide aid for veterans, there is still so much more that you can do to make a positive impact. If you know a veteran who is in need of financial assistance, you can use crowdfunding to help them get back on their feet. Consider starting a crowdfunding campaign so that a veteran can reach their educational dreams. Or just simply raise money to support your favorite local nonprofit for veterans.
Veterans’ Causes to Support Through Crowdfunding
What started as a crowdfunding campaign is on its way to becoming a nonprofit, Molli Uniting Military Service Dogs (MUMS). Her mission is to reunite military dogs with their handlers. As a veteran flight attendant, Molli Oliver uses her time to help soldiers reconnect with the dogs they served along side with. You can read more about her story here. Molli uses her YouCaring campaign to raise the funds she needs for travel and other expenses.
Higher Ground tends to veterans with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress and other trauma by offering 13-week-long sports camps to veterans and their caregivers. But these camps go beyond just physical rehabilitation. They also create an open environment for individuals to share experiences and form connections with others. Even more, the camp grants each participant three years of continued follow-up care as a way to help them easily settle back into their community by connecting them with local resources.
This nonprofit created a program that allows prison inmates and veterans to help one another with dogs. It provides inmates an opportunity to contribute to society by training puppies to become service dogs. Simultaneously, the inmates receive the emotional support that a pet can bring. After about 24 months of training led by professionals, Puppies Behind Bars brings those dogs to wounded veterans to provide both aid and love to veterans in need.
They provide a specific service to veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have experienced life-altering injuries while deployed. So as a way to show gratitude for their service, Home for Our Troops builds houses for veterans that are adapted to their needs and mortgage-free. The nonprofit hopes to allow wounded soldiers the ability to focus on their recovery by providing financial assistance for veterans. In fact, Home for Our Troops has built more than 190 homes nationwide since it began in 2004.
The Fisher House Foundation’s mission is to supply free temporary housing for family members of injured veterans while their loved one is at a major military medical center. Donated frequent flier miles afford family members the opportunity to be with their injured loved one during recovery in their Hero Miles initiative. Similarly, it launched the Hotels for Heroes program. This provides free stays at hotels for family members of veterans via donated hotel points. Finally, it created a scholarship fund for the loved ones of injured veterans. Today it maintains comfort homes located at military and veteran medical centers.
Hire Heroes USA is an impressive program with big results. In fact, they hire more than 60 veterans each week This si why its no surprise that this nonprofit is nationally recognized as a great resource for both veterans and their spouses to find jobs. Its curated approach provides veterans with personalized learning opportunities from trained professionals to equip them with the skills and the confidence they need to enter the workforce. They connect them to more than 200 companies that are eager to hire veterans by hosting job fairs.
Be of Service to A Veteran Today
Although these resources are all incredibly helpful to be aware of and take advantage of as a U.S. veteran, they won’t necessarily cover all medical expenses in the case of prolonged illness. And they definitely won’t provide the level of personalized support that online fundraising platforms are known for. So it’s good to also consider starting an online fundraiser as a means for financial assistance for veterans.
Friends and family can show their support for their veteran through comments, creating a community of love that’s already helped many people raise millions of dollars. So get a team together and start a fundraiser for your veteran today! They’ve fought for their country; all it takes is one click for you to start fighting for them.
You can make a difference by crowdfunding for veterans. Learn more about crowdfunding.