How To Support Veterans and Service Members
Veterans have given much to their country, so
it's only right to give back however you can. Whether they're retired
or currently serving, it's important that service members have the
support they need to thrive. Here are some practical ways you can
help the military member in your life succeed.
Make Sure They Make It Home
Depending on their circumstances, service
members may be searching for a new home, or they may require
modifications to their current home. In either case, veterans may
need assistance with finding all the real estate-related benefits
available to them. VA
home loans, federal loans for
qualified veterans, can be used toward payment for a new home or for
repairs and adaptations to an existing
home. These loans have very low interest rates and limited closing
costs, and they can be used multiple times throughout the veteran's
life. Special grants are also available
to disabled veterans in California to provide home modifications for
more independent living.
Open Up Shop
Starting a business as a veteran is a great way
to take advantage of the many opportunities and freedoms
post-military life affords. However, lots of administrative tasks are
involved with entrepreneurship. You can help by gathering the
documentation necessary to register the business as a legal entity
and by looking into small
business loans and grants for veterans.
Back to Class
Much like starting a business, earning a
college degree can significantly improve veterans' earning potential.
While higher education comes at a cost, there are programs designed
to defray the financial burden for service members. One is the GI
Bill, which is administered by
the federal government and can be used for undergraduate, graduate,
or other training programs. California also offers veterans financial
assistance to complete their education at qualifying state schools
and community colleges.
Of course, not all degrees are equal, so make
sure the service member chooses one that leads to gainful employment.
Encourage them to consider
an online program for a degree
in computer science or information technology, both of which require
strong math and quantitative skills. Other lucrative degrees include
which may be ideal for a service member who has a medical background.
Give Them a Helping Paw
PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is
unfortunately quite prevalent among veterans who have seen combat,
with an estimated
10 to 20% suffering from the
condition. Injuries are also common for those who served, and this
reality can make working and completing everyday tasks much more
For these reasons, some veterans may benefit
from having a service
animal that can help them
navigate civilian life and overcome ongoing mental, emotional, or
physical challenges stemming from their service. A trained and
certified service dog can support the veteran by retrieving items,
comfort, and summoning help when
necessary. You can support by attending training sessions, offering
financial contributions, and helping the veteran and dog get
acclimated to their new roles as partners.
Meet Them Where They
Each service member is unique, and their
situations can vary greatly. However, almost all can benefit from the
support and assistance of a caring loved one.