Learn About Veteran Assistance Programs
For many veterans, returning to civilian life is a challenging process. A veteran faces many difficulties depending on his or her circumstances.
Some require ongoing assistance as a result of mental illness or disability following their service.
Others must locate community assistance or a suitable form of therapy. As a veteran, you may find yourself in need of financial or legal assistance.
While these challenges are hard to face alone, many veterans are surprised to find a variety of assistance programs are available to help them.
Find assistance in managing various mental health issues as well as getting support for family members who are affected by your struggles.
Those who are at risk of homelessness can find various programs to help them, including legal advocacy groups.
Receive help navigating the VA’s benefit program to find the benefits you are entitled to if you are unsure of which programs are best suited to your needs.
Learn About Mental Health
For many veterans, it is important to find suitable support for mental health care. Issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other mental health conditions, frequently affect veterans.
The VA is taking steps to help educate the public on the realities of mental illness, offering advice and assistance to those who need it.
In addition to finding assistance through the VA, seek help from independent organizations.
These groups offer advice and education on the mental health issues affecting veterans and service members, as well as support designed to help those who have served in the military.
Find counseling and other assistance through local support groups in your area. Larger organizations offering assistance include:
- VA Vet Centers.
- Wounded Warrior Project.
- National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- National Call Center for Homeless Veterans.
- Veteran Crisis Line.
Learn About Housing and Homelessness
After returning from duty, many veterans are at risk of becoming homeless. Many reasons for this exist, and the reason you are at risk affects the type of assistance program you should seek out.
Some of these forms of support are available through the VA, while others are found through local organizations in your town or city.
If you are unsure of where to find these resources, ask at your local VA facilities or a religious organization in your area.
You may be able to find support in the following ways:
- Emergency shelters are available in many towns and cities for those who are currently without a home.
- Employment and education opportunities are available through the VA and independent organizations, helping veterans join the workforce.
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment is available to those who are unable to sustain their own living situations.
- Financial assistance is provided to veterans who are struggling to meet their housing costs, facing homelessness as a result.
Learn About Legal Services
If you find yourself in need of legal assistance, obtain help from a veteran assistance program.
Several organizations are dedicated to helping the nation’s veterans with their legal matters, civilian and otherwise, free of charge.
If you are interested in finding a local group in your area providing this type of help, you ask at your VA center.
While these groups are not affiliated with the VA, they are often in contact with local veteran centers.
VA medical centers have a VA Veterans Justice Outreach Specialist available, who refers you to a non-profit organization.
In addition to legal clinics within VA facilities, find independent organizations that may be able to help you.
The American Bar Association has their own Veterans Legal Services Initiative.
Receive assistance through the veteran’s court, which attempts to meet the mental health and substance abuse needs of those in the system.
Learn About Family Support Programs
Among the greatest challenges facing many veterans is their family dynamic.
Often, the difficulties facing a veteran impact his or her family members, who do not always have government benefits and resources to fall back on.
Many family support programs provide the assistance you need. This includes community outreach or social programs.
Some family support programs focus on education and help veterans’ families understand issues such as PTSD or TBI, in addition to the difficulties veterans face in returning to civilian life.
If necessary, they learn the skills required for caregiving, enabling them to look after their veteran family member more effectively.
Learn About Benefit Assistance
With the wide variety of benefits available to veterans, and the eligibility requirements for each, many veterans find it difficult to determine which programs to apply for and which are best.
In addition, you may have difficulty in working out the details of your benefits, such as the specific amounts you are owed.
For some veterans, the process of application and following up on requests and appeals is an additional challenge, particularly when combined with the day to day issues of a transitional life.
Many assistance programs have been developed to help combat these issues. You may find that local veteran support groups in your area have special services to help find and apply for the benefits you are entitled to.
This is helpful when the assistance programs have been set up by veterans themselves to meet needs they are personally familiar with.
Learn About Community Resources
While many nationwide veteran’s assistance programs exist, and VA centers available across the country, independent veteran support centers are available throughout the states as well.
These are useful to veterans seeking assistance as they have links to local resources and partnering organizations.
They are familiar with the specific issues or challenges you face in your neighborhood, town or state.
Connecting with a local group in your community is an excellent way to start building a support structure for yourself and your family.
This immediately reduces the stress and worry involved in your transitional period, as well as providing tangible benefits.
Use the centers or events to find resources, make network connections or find new friends in your area. In doing so, you meet other veterans in a similar situation to yourself which allows you to offer and receive support.