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Disabled military veterans face a host of challenges—physical, emotional and financial. Nearly 1 in 4 (24.2%) veterans have a service-related disability, which can make it difficult to find jobs to support themselves and their families. According to the National Disability Institute (NDI), more than a quarter of Americans with disabilities live in poverty, and people with disabilities are nearly three times as likely to have "extreme difficulty" paying bills. Where can disabled veterans and their families find the financial assistance they need?
Resources for Disabled Veterans
Disabled veterans seeking financial assistance should start with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which offers a wide range of support. If you have a service-related disability and an "other than dishonorable" discharge, you may be eligible for monthly disability compensation. Some disabled vets also qualify for higher compensation payments, such as:
- Special Monthly Compensation for veterans with special circumstances such as losing the use of a limb or requiring an attendant. Claims based on special circumstances can qualify you for benefits such as dental care, an allowance to buy or modify a car to accommodate your disability, or additional compensation if your disability prevents you from working.
- VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits for vets who are housebound or need help with activities of daily living.
- Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living to compensate primary caregivers without whom the veteran would require hospitalization, nursing home care or other institutional care.
- The Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers gives qualifying family members who provide care for a disabled veteran a monthly stipend, respite care and more.
VA benefits also include a wide range of health care services, including preventive care, emergency care, long-term care and mental health care.
Veterans whose disabilities prevent them from working may qualify for Social Security disability payments in addition to VA disability compensation.
Disabled vets may also be eligible for housing-related assistance:
- The VA gives a limited number of qualifying disabled veterans Specially Adapted Housing Grants or Special Housing Adaptation Grants to buy, build or modify their permanent home to accommodate their disability. Grant money does not need to be repaid.
- The VA also offers Temporary Residence Adaptation Grants to help eligible veterans modify a family member's home where they are living temporarily.
- Homes for Our Troops builds and donates specially adapted custom homes for severely injured post-9/11 veterans.
Your state may have other benefits for disabled veterans; check the American Legion's directory of state benefits to find out.
Do you need temporary financial help while waiting for your long-term benefits to kick in? USA Cares, Operation First Response, Operation Family Fund, the VFW and the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes are among the organizations providing emergency financial assistance to veterans.
Other Financial Resources
Once you've investigated financial assistance for disabled vets, there are other organizations that may be able to help.
- The Administration for Community Living offers resources and assistance for people with disabilities.
- The National Disability Rights Network helps people with disabilities access housing, jobs and more.
- The National Disability Institute offers people with disabilities financial assistance.
- The Disability Rights Legal Center offers free legal advice to people with disabilities.
- The Patient Advocate Foundation provides financial help for people with chronic and debilitating illnesses.
- Visit USA.gov and Benefits.gov to find government benefits for which you may qualify.
- The 211 Network provides free, confidential help finding and signing up for a range of assistance programs.
- Feeding America is a directory of local food banks.
- The Legal Services Corp. connects people with free legal aid nationwide.
- You may qualify for welfare or food stamps, or assistance paying for telephone service, broadband internet service or home energy.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families can provide financial help while you wait for long-term benefits to start.
People with disabilities are less likely than those without disabilities to have credit cards, auto loans or mortgages and more than twice as likely as to have "bad" or "very bad" credit, the NDI reports. Are you having trouble paying your bills? The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and Financial Counseling Association of America can connect you with a reputable credit counseling agency that can help you assess your situation and develop a plan for paying down debt.
If your credit score could use a boost, work on improving it, and monitor your credit to see the results. Experian offers free credit monitoring, and through April 2022, you can get a free credit report each week from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Additional Resources for Vets
In addition to direct financial assistance, there are many other financial services and benefits for military veterans.
- VA home loans: Looking to buy a home now that your active duty is over? With a VA home loan, you don't have to make a down payment or pay for mortgage insurance. Terms are often better than conventional loans too.
- If you already have a VA loan and are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, call 877-827-3702 to speak with a VA loan technician who can offer suggestions to avoid foreclosure, including loan forbearance and loan modification.
- Group life insurance: The VA offers several life insurance options that include free financial planning and will preparation services.
- Education benefits: Many veterans seek degrees or job training to transition to civilian careers. VA education benefits can help pay college tuition and fees or pay for job training, career counseling and professional certifications.
- Spouses or children of disabled veterans may also qualify for education or job retraining assistance through the VA's Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance program.
Looking for more assistance, financial and otherwise? Visit the following resources:
- The National Resource Directory provides access to national, state and local services and resources for disabled veterans and their families.
- Warrior Care, a Department of Defense website, provides resources and information to help wounded, ill and injured service members transition to civilian life.
- Military OneSource connects wounded, ill or injured veterans and their families with the benefits and assistance they need.
- The American Legion, MilitaryBenefits.info, VeteransAdvantage and ID.me have directories of companies offering discounts for military veterans.