Resources for veterans on the Gulf Coast: Serving Those Who Serve

Military

(WKRG) — WKRG News 5 wants to recognize the men and women of the United States Military who risk their lives to serve our country. There are several resources out there for veterans to get help with employment, health, and housing. Military members are even eligible for discounts at several businesses, even if they don’t advertise discounts.

State Resources

Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs: The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs provides comprehensive care and service to Alabama’s veterans, and their families, with regard to health care, education, disability benefits, long-term care, and burial honors. To locate the nearest Veterans Service Office to you, click here.

Alabama Veteran: Alabama Veteran is a registered 501c(3) organization with the goal of creating opportunities for Veterans to remain engaged and working towards reaching their full potential in life after the military.

Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs: Florida is home 1.5 million veterans. The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs is the point of entry for Florida veterans to access earned services, benefits and support. Click here for a full list of resources for Florida veterans.

Veterans Florida is a non-profit created by the State of Florida to help military veterans transition to civilian life and to promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state, providing formidable tools for veterans to take advantage of the benefits of living and working in the Sunshine State. 

Florida 2021 Military-Friendly Guide: A summary of Sunshine State laws, policies, programs and benefits for Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, veterans, retirees and families.

Mississippi Veterans Affairs

Employment Resources

U.S. Department of Labor – Vets: In partnership with the Department of Labor, VA.gov will help veterans in all stages of a job search. They offer career advice, resume help, and access to employers who want to hire Veterans and military spouses. They also offer several free courses for veterans to learn new skills.

VA for Vets: This is a service that helps veterans become employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program: The Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) offers education and training for high-demand jobs to veterans who are unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VOW to Hire Heroes Act 2011: The Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) program and other VA training and career assistance programs help veterans transition from military to civilian life.

Funding for veteran-owned small businesses: The Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) facilitates the use of all U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs by veterans, service-disabled veterans, reservists, active-duty service members, transitioning service members, and their dependents or survivors. SBA programs provide access to capital and preparation for small business opportunities. They can also connect veteran small business owners with federal procurement and commercial supply chains.

Health Resources

Disability Benefits: Veterans who have disabilities, medical conditions, or injuries incurred or aggravated during active military service—no matter when or where they served—may be eligible to receive tax-free monthly benefits. Some of those injuries may not be apparent until years after service. There are several physical and mental health conditions that may qualify you for benefits. Visit the website for more information on the requirements and how the process works.

Health Care: VA health care is open to all eligible veterans. The service provides regular checkups as well as access to specialists, such as cardiologists, gynecologists, and mental health providers. You can easily apply online, by phone (1-877-222-8387), by mail, or in person by visiting your nearest VA medical center or clinic.

VA Women Veterans Call Center: Call or text 1-855-829-6636 (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET)

Alabama State Veterans Homes Program: Applications for Alabama State Veterans Homes can be obtained from your local veterans service office, contacting the facility, or you can download the application here.

Mental Health Resources

Veterans Crisis Line: If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255, then PRESS 1 or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net. For emergency mental health care, you can also go directly to your local VA medical center 24/7 regardless of your discharge status or enrollment in other VA health care.

Vet Centers: Discuss how you feel with other veterans in these community-based counseling centers. 70% of Vet Center staff are veterans. Call 1-877-927-8387 or find one near you.

VA Mental Health Services Guide: This guide will help you sign up and access mental health services.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS): If you are grieving the loss of a fallen service member, or if you know someone who can use our support, the TAPS 24/7 National Military Survivor Helpline is always available toll-free with support and resources at 800-959-TAPS (8277). Click here to request a Peer Mentor.

VA Caregiver Support Line: Call 1-855-260-3274 (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET)

MakeTheConnection.net: Information, resources, and veteran-to-veteran videos for challenging life events and experiences with mental health issues.

Download VA’s self-help apps: Tools to help deal with common reactions like stress, sadness, and anxiety. You can also track your symptoms over time.

Equine Therapy Group: The John 9:3 Foundation (Run by a combat veteran who helps veterans train their own therapy dogs) For more information, click here.

Team River Runner: Run by a female veteran who provides kayaking for veterans. This includes veterans with severe disabilities.

Forging  A Difference: A program where veterans learn to blacksmith/forge their own items as a form of therapy.

Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association: Many opportunities for riding motorcycles and connecting with fellow veterans.

Housing Resources

Foreclosure Assistance: The Department of Veterans Affairs aims to help veterans retain their homes or avoid foreclosure. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, speak with a VA loan servicer as soon as possible. Contact your nearest regional loan center to explore your options. Call 877-827-3702 or visit click here.

National Call Center for Homeless Veterans: Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (and their family, friends and supporters) can call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)- a free and confidential 24/7 hotline. Trained VA counselors will ask you a few questions about needs and give you information about VA homeless programs, health care, and other services in your area.

VA Benefits for Homeless Veterans: A variety of services are offered to all U.S. military veterans including disability compensation, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, and many other services.

Other Resources

Spouses, Dependents, and Survivors Benefits: If you are the spouse, family member, or dependent of a service member you could be eligible for many of the same VA resources that veterans are. Resources include compensation, health care, home loans/housing assistance, life insurance, and memorial benefits among others.

USAA: The USAA serves military members and their families with several financial-related benefits. It includes many types of insurance, banking, investing, real estate options, and retirement options. Members are also eligible for discounts including shopping and traveling deals. Anybody, even those who have not served or do not have family in the military, can join USAA but will only be limited to investments, life insurance, and discounts.

Discounts: Hundreds of companies offer military discounts to service members, retired military, veterans, spouses and their families.

Veterans Advantage: If you have served in the military or have a family member who has, you can join Veterans Advantage for a range of benefits and discounts at several businesses. Plans start at $3.33 a month for a 5-year plan and go up to $4.99 a month for a 1-year plan. Discounts include shopping, entertainment, traveling, and service deals.

To access and manage VA benefits and health care, click here. For a full list of national resources, click here.

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