Joining the military and serving your country, and then leaving the military as a veteran, can be events and experiences filled with new and sometimes overwhelming challenges and opportunities. Luckily, there are multiple resources that are available to support members of the military and veterans, as well as their families.
There are many benefits available to active duty military and veterans, as well as to their families. These benefits can often be confusing and difficult to track down, but with some diligence, benefits for active military, veterans, and their families are available!
If you served in the military and became disabled, or if you are a disabled veteran, there should be several programs and resources available to you. There are several different types of disability benefits including compensation, grants, and insurance. Disability compensation is generally tax free. Although the qualifying process can be time consuming and laborious, the benefits can be life-changing for disabled veterans and their families.
- US Department of Veterans Affairs: Compensation
- Ohio Department of Veterans Services: Benefits guide
Pensions are generally incomes that pay out for life, and some veterans may qualify for pensions due to their military service. Veterans are usually only eligible for a pension if they were active-duty during wartime or active military combat. There may also be income and age guidelines, but these benefits can be invaluable for veterans.
Military Retirement Pension
When retiring from the military, there can be many benefits available. A pension for retired military members who serve a certain length of time and meet other conditions is a possibility, and is usually dependent on time served and base pay at time of retirement. These benefits have many rules, but they also may have cost of living increases and readjustments, so these are definitely benefits worth researching.
For many military members and veterans, education benefits were huge incentives to joining the military. The GI Bill and other education benefits have helped many military members and veterans, as well as their families, Benefits range from reimbursement for educational expenses to monthly education benefits for those enrolled in qualifying programs. These benefits can be confusing, but many schools and universities have their own Veterans Affairs departments to assist veterans, servicemembers, and their families.
- US Army: Army education benefits
- US Department of Education: Information for military families and veterans
- University of Memphis: Veterans educational benefits
- Art Institutes: Military benefits
Healthcare is an issue for many Americans. However, veterans and members of the military, as well as their families, can sometimes be eligible for healthcare benefits. Also, military families may be eligible for additional benefits while they are active duty.
- gov: Health care coverage options for military veterans
- NPR: VA and military health care are separate, yet often confused
Banking, Credit and Debit
Military members, families, and veterans can also take advantage of special banking benefits, including access to military credit unions, to special debt relief programs, and to advantageous percentage rates on loans and investment products.
For more information, go to MyCreditUnion.gov: Veterans.
Military members and veterans can also apply for insurance benefits, including life and health insurance. These benefits are dependent on many factors, but they are useful and can be beneficial to many. There are several types of benefit programs. Like with banking, there are federal, state, and private options available.
To learn more, visit the Military Benefit Association: Term life and health insurance.
There can also be monetary bonuses for joining the military, both when joining and when retiring. There can also be bonuses when moving for service related issues and for job training after retirement. These bonuses, like many military benefits, do have eligibility requirements. They can be useful and helpful for veterans, active duty members, and their families.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Military training for civilian careers
- Department of the Navy: Benefits and rewards
When retiring from the military, or soon after service, many servicemembers and their families have to find a new place to live if they were taking advantage of military housing. Veterans and their families may also move later in life. There are programs that help veterans obtain home loans that are generally unavailable to the public. These loans can have lower rates and fewer income requirements than conventional loans, and can be very helpful for veterans.
For more information, go to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency: Active duty military & veterans.
Active duty military and veterans can also benefit from legal services at no or reduced cost in many situations. While military matters are handled by military courts, veterans can sometimes be eligible for pro bono legal aid or access to legal services that specialize in assisting veterans and their families.
- American Bar Association: Pro bono resources for veterans
- Stateside Legal: Legal help for military members, veterans, and their families
For veterans looking to start their own businesses or become involved with business opportunities, there are also many available resources. Veterans have to meet certain qualifying conditions, and these are usually benefits that have very specific terms, like franchising agreements, but they can be very helpful. To learn more, visit the Small Business Association: Office of veterans’ business development.
- Syracuse University Institute for Veterans and Military Families: Veteran and family resources
- The University of Tennessee Chattanooga: Veterans entrepreneurship program
Military and Veteran Organizations
In addition to monetary, legal, and career opportunities, military members and veterans also have several organizations. These organizations can provide support, camaraderie, and fellowship for veterans and servicemembers.
- Veterans of Foreign Wars: Join
- The American Legion: Membership application
- Wounded Warrior Project: Register today
Resources for Military Spouses
Military spouses can also receive benefits. Because they often have to move frequently and be support for their spouses, these benefits can be very helpful. These benefits and resources are easily available but can have eligibility requirements, so contacting the organization directly is often a good first step.
- Real Warriors: Employment resource for military spouses
- National Military Family Association: About us
- Gold Star Wives of America: Benefits of membership
Resources for Military Children
Children of active duty servicemembers can often face challenges due to moving frequently, having one parent gone frequently, and changes in dynamics when a parent is transitioning to retirement. Military children can also fall behind in school if they move frequently. Luckily there are resources for children of military members and veterans.
- Military Child Education Coalition: Resources
- Center for Parent Information and Resources: Resources especially for military families
These are just a few of the benefits and resources available to veterans, active duty military, and military families. Although joining the military is complicated, navigating these resources can be very worthwhile.
Montgomery College discusses education and military service: Resources for military service members, veterans, and dependents.
The Veterans’ Crisis Line offers a 24-hour number to call: Welcome.