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.
Elderly veterans and combat veterans who are disabled are especially vulnerable to financial stressors. The US Census Bureau estimated in 2014 that there were 3,756,131 veterans with service-connected disabilities. As of 2013, one in 10 non-elderly veterans had no health insurance. And of the country’s adult homeless population, the US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that 11% are veterans.
Financial resources for veterans
There are quite a few resources dedicated to helping veterans. We’ve found the following sources of financial assistance for veterans (more may exist):
- 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 phone services for veterans.
- Healthfinder.gov provides veterans a list of prescription resources they can use to help pay for their treatments and medicines.
- 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 assistance services. The organization also provides free transportation to medical appointments for veterans in the Washington, DC area. This makes it possible for many to see a doctor where they otherwise couldn’t afford to.
- 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 financial assistance.
- 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 expenses from rent and medical bills to emergency transportation and vehicle repair.
- American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance awards cash grants to families of eligible veterans with minor children to help pay for shelter, food, utilities, and health expenses.
- Vantage Mobility International’s Operation Independence program 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 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
- 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 honor veterans by paying respects at landmarks like the Vietnam War Memorial, 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 organization.
Even though several government programs and nonprofits exist to provide aid for veterans, you personally can make a positive impact. If you know a veteran who is in need of financial assistance—because they’re reaching out after a setback, or because they’re reaching for a dream—start a crowdfunding campaign on their behalf. Or simply raise money for your favorite nonprofit for veterans.
Veterans’ causes to support through crowdfunding
What started as a crowdfunding campaign is on its way to becoming the nonprofit Molli Uniting Military Service Dogs (MUMS). Molli’s mission is to reunite military dogs with their handlers. As a veteran and flight attendant, Molli Oliver uses her time to help soldiers reconnect with the dogs they served alongside. Molli uses YouCaring to raise the funds she needs for travel and other expenses. Read more about her story here.
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 connections with others suffering in similar ways. The camp also grants each participant three years of continued follow-up care to help him or her recover and settle back into the community.
This nonprofit runs a program that allows prison inmates 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 while deployed. 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.
The Fisher House Foundation’s mission is to supply free temporary housing for family members of injured veterans while their loved ones receive care at a military medical center. Donated frequent flier miles afford family members the opportunity to be with their injured loved one during recovery. Similarly, their Hotels for Heroes program provides free stays at hotels via donated hotel points. The organization also provides a scholarship fund for the loved ones of injured veterans.
Hire Heroes USA helps more than 60 veterans and their spouses find jobs each week. The nonprofit is nationally recognized as a great resource for both veterans and their spouses who are looking for jobs. Personalized training from professionals helps equip job seekers with the skills and the confidence they need to enter the workforce. Hire Heroes also hosts job fairs to connect veterans to hundreds of companies eager to hire those who have served their country.
Be of service to a veteran
Whether you decide to crowdfund for one of these organizations or raise funds directly for a veteran friend or family member, we’re here to help you provide financial assistance for veterans. People use our compassionate crowdfunding platform to raise money for veterans every day—and unlike other crowdfunding sites, we’ll never take a penny of the money you raise for ourselves. Learn more about crowdfunding through YouCaring.