by Rhonda Underhill
Are you looking for ways to show your gratitude to a veteran? Expressions of thanks and affirmation are great, but many veterans could use more tangible support. For instance, some veterans have difficulty finding employment, while others lack food or housing. Some may be struggling with emotional turmoil. So if you are considering options for giving back, be assured that there are many opportunities to help veterans and their families.
Health care access.
While some veterans have health insurance, others are not aware of the VA benefits available to them. Others may need to find a new healthcare program after their benefits have expired. It’s important for veterans and service persons to have access to healthcare, especially if they were wounded in service. You can help veterans by assisting them in signing up for coverage as well as researching other options that may be available once their VA insurance has expired. Some veterans may be able to apply to have their benefit expiration waived if they are dealing with a disability.
You might not realize it, but it’s not always easy for veterans to land a good job with benefits and opportunities for advancement. This isn’t due to lack of skills, however. Most veterans are highly trained and have an array of skill sets but figuring out how to navigate the job market can be overwhelming for some. Bear in mind that, as Oxford Treatment Center explains, veterans sometimes take a while to adjust to civilian life and may not know where to look for employment listings or who to contact as references. You can provide a reference for a veteran, help them make community connections, and even attend employment events with them to assist them in networking.
There are many careers in which veterans can succeed, thrive, and contribute to their communities. Veterans with college degrees can find jobs that pay well in the fields of business development and coding; even senior vets may want to give it a whirl. Because of their tech experience, veterans may often do well in IT and information security. Other jobs where former military personnel can make a good living include security, engineering, and law enforcement.
Education is another great career for veterans to consider, given their leadership skills. Teaching is an attractive career option for many due to the benefits and the paid time off. If a veteran you know is interested in a teaching career, they will need a bachelor’s degree and a background check. Most schools will also require a teaching license, which they may be able to earn through an online program.
Tragically, veterans are fifty percent more likely to become homeless than civilians are. GreenDrop explains this is due partially to the factors addressed above: injured veterans with no familial support may be unable to find employment, and so they end up unhoused. Lack of affordable housing is another factor contributing to the plight of veterans. Veterans who are in need of affordable housing may be able to find homes through various programs, including a VA program created in collaboration with HUD. You can help by donating to organizations that help unhoused veterans and by contacting your political representatives.
Other ways you can help.
You can support deployed service members by sending care packages, though you do need to make sure the contents are compliant with military and postal regulations. If you have disabled veterans in your local community, you can help them by offering transportation, assisting with lawn work, or simply spending time with them. Another way you can aid disabled veterans is by helping them get a trained service or companion dog.
It can mean a lot to a veteran not only to see and hear words of support, but to be given active assistance in those areas of life where they may be struggling. Sometimes even a little act of kindness can go a long way toward helping a veteran or service person and brightening their day.