If you know a veteran with a service-connected disability who’s struggling to enter successfully into civilian life, there are several support services and benefits you can connect them with to help them get back on their feet. Whether the disabled vet in your life is a neighbor, friend, family member, or member of your local community, understanding the many resources that are available to disabled veterans can help you guide them in the right direction.
How to Help Disabled Veterans: Top Assistance Programs
There are more than a dozen organizations and charities in the United States that are dedicated to helping America’s veterans adapt to post-combat life and enjoy the communities they have fought to protect. For disabled veterans, in particular, there are several programs and grants available to help them lead safe and active lives.
Veterans Affairs Purchase Loans
All honorably discharged veterans are generally eligible for VA loans, the most popular of which are VA purchase loans. These home loans require no down payment or mortgage insurance, and part of the amount is guaranteed in case the homeowner defaults on the loan. This can help the veteran or their family member negotiate more favorable terms with the bank. The other most popular VA loan is the interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL), which can help veterans with an existing loan negotiate a new loan with a lower interest rate.
Special Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
Veterans with certain severe disabilities may qualify for grant money to help them adapt their residence or purchase an adapted residence. Housing adaptation grant money is typically used to widen doorways, install ramps, and otherwise adapt a residence to make it accessible for people who use mobility equipment sold by companies like Mobility Plus Colorado:
- Specially Adapted Housing Grants (SAH grants) provide money toward the purchase of a home that is built or adapted for a disabled veteran’s mobility needs.
- Special Housing Adaptation Grants (SHA grants) provide funds to help a disabled veteran modify his or her existing home.
- Temporary Residence Adaptation Grants (TRA grants) provide funds to help a disabled veteran modify a temporary residence, such as a family member’s home where they are staying.
If the veteran’s disabilities aren’t severe enough to qualify for any of the above grants, they may still be able to qualify for the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) grant, which can be used to make “medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to [the veteran’s] primary home.”
In some cases, the disabled veteran may be able to have a custom house built for them through Homes for Our Troops. So far, this four-star-rated charity has built 334 homes for severely injured post-9/11 vets–completely free of charge.
Education and Employment Support
Re-entering the workforce can be a challenge for ex-service members who don’t have a civilian degree, and even harder for disabled veterans who may have significant physical limitations. These organizations can help disabled vets retrain and find meaningful employment.
The Federal government offers several education benefits to eligible veterans:
- GI Bill benefits
- Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits
- Montgomery GI Bill active-duty benefits
Veterans may also be able to receive free or subsidized education through institutions that participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
The following organizations help disabled vets find work:
- Paralyzed Veterans of America for veterans with spinal cord injuries
- Disabled American Veterans for all veterans with a service-connected disability
Veterans faced with a new disability from their time in service can often benefit from assessment and therapy to help them regain their independence.
- The VA Center for Limb Loss and Mobility (CLiMB). The Veterans Affairs Center for Limb Loss and Mobility is a research organization that aims to preserve and enhance mobility in veterans with lower limb amputations or impairments.
- Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit that serves veterans and service members who incurred a mental or physical injury while serving our nation on or after 9/11, 2001, helping them on the journey to recovery.
Mental Health Support
Injuries aren’t always visible, but invisible wounds that affect mental health can make it hard for veterans, and especially disabled veterans, to participate in their communities.
- National Center for PTSD The National Center for PTSD—an initiative of Veterans Affairs—works to improve the social welfare and clinical care of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through education and research.
- Warrior Care Network. The Warrior Care Network is an initiative of the Wounded Warrior Project. This donor-supported network has provided more than 92,000 hours of outpatient treatment and therapy to veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Several monthly VA benefits are available to eligible veterans with a service or age-connected disability:
- Monthly disability benefits
- Attendance or housebound benefits for disabled vets who need a caregiver
- Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers
Additionally, most disabled vets are eligible to receive Social Security disability payments from the United States Government.
Key Organizations That Help Disabled Veterans
Veterans Affairs is the first place disabled vets should start to look for support and resources, including physical health benefits and support for mental health, PTSD, and TBIs. In addition to the VA resources on the site, vets can find specific health groups for Combat Vets and Returning OEF/OIF honorably discharged service members.
Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans is a nonprofit charity that helps over 1 million veterans each year. They can assist with:
- Free rides to medical appointments
- Making benefit claims
- Finding meaningful employment through job fairs
- Other resources
In 2018, DAV helped veterans of all ages receive $20 billion in earned benefits.
Make the Connection
MakeTheConnection.net is a website that helps veterans and their supporters find relevant information and resources for specific issues they may be dealing with. This is a great place to start if you know a disabled veteran with specific needs.
Help Disabled Vets Access the Many Resources Available to Them
Thanks to the combined effort of the United States government and several nonprofit organizations, resources and assistance for disabled veterans are available across the country. The best thing you can do to help disabled veterans is to help them connect with organizations that specialize in the assistance they need. You can also donate to many of these excellent organizations.
Whether it’s support with applying for benefits and grants, short-term financial assistance, or emergency housing, these resources can help at-risk veterans to get back on their feet and begin the journey to reintegration and independence.