Monday, November 9, 2020

50 Resources for Veterans

Election Day passed rather uneventfully (thank goodness) and this week we are on to Veteran's Day which will take place this Wednesday.  In honor of Veteran's Day, here are 50 resources for veterans.

  1. All veterans should register at which is an online portal that allows veterans to do everything from managing their military records to accessing medical, educational, and other resources.
  2. MyHealtheVet is another online portal that focuses on veteran's healthcare and includes options for ordering prescriptions, downloading medical records, making appointments with the VA, etc.
  3. EBenefits is yet another online portal to access VA records and services that all vets should register for.  I'm not sure why there are three separate VA portals but every time I go into one, it seems I end up in another of these...odd.
  4. The VA has a pretty good blog full of the latest news and information for vets which can be found here.
  5. The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations) is a well-known veteran's organization that offers a range of services--from bars with bingo to free assistance to vets and many other services--either in person at their VFW halls or online.
  6. If you are having difficulty getting VA disability compensation, there are services to help vets with this issue which range from free (often provided at VFW halls and at VA facilities) to consulting services (I'll offer only a lukewarm recommendation for Vet Comp and Pen which is one of several companies that offer VA benefits consulting).
  7. Every Veteran's Day, many restaurants and retail stores give things like free meals, discounts, freebies, and other things to vets.  A list of these deals can usually be found online a week or so prior to Veteran's Day and can be found by Googling.
  8. Did you know that vets can often get discounts and freebies even if it isn't Veteran's Day?  Here is a huge list of businesses that regularly give discounts to vets.
  9. is a great website which provides info on a wide range of veteran resources, benefits, as well as updated news and information of interest to vets.
  10. Be sure to sign up for the free VetResources newsletter which delivers a weekly newsletter to your email box full of news and information of interest to vets.
  11. Military One Source is another good website which provides a wide range of useful information for both active duty and veterans.
  12. Similar to Military One Source, is another comprehensive resources for active duty and veterans.
  13. This is an interactive map of VA medical facilities.
  14. For vets who are interested in using their GI Bill to further their education, it can be a bit complicated wading through all of the information that goes along with this.  An overview of the program can be found here and many colleges and universities have service centers to help vets navigate the college/GI Bill maze.
  15. For vets who don't plan to use their GI Bill, it may be possible to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouse or child.
  16. Speaking of training, there are a number of organizations that focus on job training for vets (examples here, here, and here).
  17. A popular perk for vets is the "veterans preference" veterans are entitled to when applying for federal jobs.
  18. By the time you are a vet, you probably have your banking and investing figured out, but there are several financial institutions that cater to active duty military and vets including USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, Armed Forces Bank, etc.
  19. Another great benefit for veterans is the opportunity to receive zero-down home loans.
  20. Not only for vets, VA REO properties are an inexpensive way to buy foreclosed properties which had VA loans on them.  This is something for vets and well as non-vets to check out.
  21. The SBA has programs specifically for veterans who need assistance starting their own businesses.
  22. The Vets First Verification Program is another veteran-specific business program which provides benefits to veteran-owned businesses.
  23. There are a lot of veteran's service organizations, find a 75-page list of these organizations here.
  24. You can also Google 'veteran's service organizations' and you local town or nearest city and find local vet's centers (examples here, here, and here).  Note that these centers can be government-sponsored agencies, non profits, and private organizations which are dedicated to helping veterans.
  25. Every state and territory has a state level veteran's office, find your state's veteran's service office here.
  26. In addition to VA health services, veterans are also covered by TriCare when they retire.  Find more info on this here.
  27. SNAP and FSSA are "food stamp" programs which provide funding for food for low-income people.  The SNAP program is open to everyone and the FSSA program is specifically for active duty and vets.  For more information on how these programs work together as well as how to apply if you are in need of food, check here.
  28. The DAV is a non-profit organization which focuses on helping disabled veterans and their families.
  29. The Wounded Warrior Project is another non-profit which focuses on helping disabled veterans and their families.
  30. There are several housing assistance programs for low-income and homeless vet.  Again, Google your location and homeless vet services and you will get a list of local resources (examples here and here).
  31. Space A/MAC flights are a nice perk for vets who like to travel.  Veterans can use Space A to travel around the globe for free or cheap with the caveat that they are the very lowest priority for boarding (which means you may or may not get a flight for days or even weeks depending on how busy the flight service is).
  32. There are some cell phone companies that offer special plans just for military folks; this usually includes active duty and vets.
  33. The USO is well known as an organization that entertains the troops but they also offer other useful services for vets, including the popular USO lounges in airports (one of my favorite perks when I travel!).
  34. An interesting housing options for vets, living in base housing even after you have retired.  Apparently it's a thing now.
  35. State veterans homes are an option for ill, elderly, and disabled vets.
  36. And for disabled vets who are housebound, there is an Aid and Attendance benefit for caregiver support.  Find more info on caregiver benefits for vets here.
  37. A program I just learned about while researching this post, there is a Veterans Justice Outreach Program which helps vets who are involved in the criminal justice system.
  38. Veterans are also at particularly high risk for suicide.  The Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers special suicide prevention resources just for vets.
  39. Veterans are also prone to drug and alcohol addiction as well.  Here is a good overview of the problem.  And here are some good treatment options for vets.  Note that AA and NA may have specific meetings for vets only.
  40. VITA offers free tax prep services for vets.
  41. When a veteran dies, the family can receive burial benefits from the VA.
  42. Many cities offer tax exemptions for veterans (in my area the exemption covers vehicle registration and property tax discounts).
  43. Veterans can usually enjoy full access to military base facilities (commissary, gym, exchange, MWR, etc).  Note that during the covid shut downs in our area, the base was closed to everyone except mission-essential personnel but in general, vets can use many of the services and facilities on base.
  44. Veterans can now get a free lifetime National Parks Pass.  Finally.  This has been an overlooked group since active duty get a free annual pass to the parks and seniors can buy a discounted lifetime pass but until now, younger vets didn't get any discount at all.
  45. For disabled vets, make sure your dependents (spouse, kids, others) are included in your VA file.  Even if your dependents are in the DEERS system, they will not be included in the VA system unless you specifically add them (why these two systems don't talk to each other I have no idea).
  46. Did you know that most states offer some interesting benefits for veterans?  Here's a list.  And here is another list.
  47. For vets who are considering relocating, note that there are several states that don't tax military retirement pay.
  48. There are several military-focused websites which provide news and information which can be useful for vets including the Military Times, Stripes, Task and Purpose, and Veterans Today.
  49. Here is a huge 'Federal Benefits for Veterans' guidebook.
  50. And here is another good list of resources and benefits for veterans.

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