Veterans Assistance Grants Are Available — Here’s How To Find Them
(DailyDig.com) – People in the armed forces learn a lot about self-reliance, responsibility, perseverance, and caring for their fellow soldiers. They risk life and limb to serve our country, sacrificing time with their families, sometimes bearing psychological scars even when they escape physical harm. America recognizes its obligation to honor veterans by providing grant programs and assistance to help them with necessities ranging from financial needs and homelessness to educational opportunities and training.
Several federal, state, and private grant programs are available to help veterans readjust to civilian life. Every veteran’s needs are unique, so finding the optimal programs might take time. Because there’s so much competition for a limited number of grants, applying is no guarantee of receiving assistance with housing, education, financial relief, and more.
Veterans’ Financial Assistance
Financial challenges are possibly one of the most pressing needs veterans face. The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a private organization likely more familiar with veterans’ needs than most. They try to help veterans with individual grants ranging up to $1500 to meet acute needs through their Unmet Needs Program. To qualify, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:
- Applicants discharged before September 11, 2001, must be facing an unexpected financial hardship and living on a fixed income that includes ongoing VA compensation for a service-related injury or illness.
- Applicants discharged on or after September 11, 2001, must be suffering financial hardship resulting directly from injuries or illnesses connected with their military service.
- Applicants currently serving on active duty must be suffering financial hardship resulting from a current deployment, a military pay error, or being discharged for medical reasons.
The grant stipulates that legal, domestic or civil issues cannot be the reason for the financial hardship, including divorce or separation. Neither financial mismanagement nor bankruptcy qualify as reasons for financial hardship to obtain assistance.
Applicants must provide copies of all up-to-date bills. Eligible expenses may include rent, mortgage, household repairs, house insurance, vehicle payments and insurance, utilities like electricity, gas, and water, children’s school and childcare expenses, and medical bills and prescriptions.
Other programs that might provide financial relief include:
- Army Emergency Relief,
- Air Force Aid Society,
- Navy-Marine Corp Relief Society
- Semper Fi Fund
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Disabled American Veterans
- American Legion
Veterans should also check for financial assistance with their state and local governments before looking at other programs.
Veterans’ Housing Grants
In 2021, nearly 20,000 veterans experienced homelessness, comprising almost 8% of the total homeless population in the US. The unfortunate truth is that few federally funded options exist to help veterans find and pay for housing. Two programs offered through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans with service-related disabilities include the Special Home Adaptation Grant (SHA) and the Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH).
Veterans might have better luck working through their state or local governments. Many have focused on programs to offer housing relief specifically to veterans in recent years. Additionally, private aid foundations, like those mentioned above in the financial assistance section, might be able to provide emergency-based assistance or help veterans meet their housing costs.
Veteran’s Educational Grants
Opportunities for veterans to obtain grants probably shine brightest in the educational area because federal and state governments and private organizations and foundations offer them. Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) automatically enrolls eligible veterans (and civilian students) to apply for certain federal grants, like the Pell Grant. However, the government awards Pell grants based on financial need, so a veteran’s taxable income might disqualify them from this grant. Still, exceptions do exist. People in combat zones, for example, can qualify for tax exemptions.
Various state programs exist to assist veterans with receiving an education. For example, the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) and Illinois Veterans Grant (IVG) provide funding for veterans’ education. In Texas, the Hazelwood Act provides veterans and their families up to 150 hours of tuition exemptions at Texas higher education providers via the TVC. In Illinois, veterans who’ve already filled out the FAFSA can apply for the IVG, which pays all tuition for approved colleges or universities.
Examples of foundations focused on further veteran education with scholarships include the Folds of Honor Foundation, Navy League, and the Green Beret Foundation Heroes’ Legacy. Additionally, the Military Officers Association of America offers grants, scholarships, and loans.
Like grants, awardees do not have to repay scholarships. However, loans differ from grants or scholarships because they require the borrower to repay the debt over time with interest.
Veterans volunteer to defend our freedoms. They give up the comfort of home, family, and sometimes much more. The country tries to meet its obligation to help these heroes return by providing programs through local, state, federal, and private sectors. Finding grants and assistance can help veterans thrive upon their return.
Copyright 2022, DailyDig.com