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FridayOctober 19, 2018

How Veterans Can Help Other Veterans Avoid Homelessness



How Veterans Can Help Other Veterans Avoid Homelessness

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Your fellow veterans, brothers and sisters in arms, and patriots who have fought for this country deserve to return to a life of financial security and with a roof over their head. However, many of our nation's veterans are experiencing a homelessness crisis, along with other significant problems such as unemployment, mental health issues, and substance abuse problems. Servicemembers need and deserve all the help they can get to get them back on their feet.

Assistance from many organizations is available for veterans from kindhearted civilians. However, it has been proven that veterans prefer and respond better to other military members when it comes to receiving this assistance. There is a strong sense of trust and camaraderie between servicemen and women that makes veterans who are able to aid other veterans through these tough times extremely effective. Additionally, vets who help other vets receive a strong sense of satisfaction in being part of getting a fellow veteran back on track. Many times, you’ll find that you have the abilities to help out your fellow servicemen and women in a variety of ways and assist them in avoiding major problems such as homelessness.

Volunteer at the VA

Since 1930, the US Department of Veteran Affairs has been dedicated to providing our nation's veterans with healthcare benefits, disability compensation, educational assistance, financial help, and burial and memorial benefits. As a veteran yourself, you understand that this can be a great relief to other veterans who may come out of duty and into a tough civilian-life situation.

However, the VA has over 75,000 volunteers and is still seeing vets fall through the cracks. You can continue to do your part in volunteering for one of their many programs to help out your fellow vet. Volunteering your time at the VA is simple and easy, however, the impact you can make will be significant.

Financial Counselor

Many of the major problems veterans face are financial. Difficulty finding employment, lack of rental history, and poor credit can subject a veteran fresh out of active duty to predatory loans. A trustworthy service member with a sound financial education can vastly improve a veterans financial successes.

For example, a counselor could inform them on things such as different types of mortgages and which is best for their financial situation, how to compete in the job market, and taking steps toward getting them out of debt. Financial challenges, along with other problems, only provoke feelings that lead to drug and alcohol abuse. A financial counselor in their corner can help them climb out of this hole, and acclimate into a comfortable civilian-life.

Public Administrator

Our nation is facing a public health crisis like no other. In fact, the University of Rutgers reports, “the rapidly increasing pace of opioid addiction rates and overdose deaths that the U.S. began experiencing between approximately 2014 and 2017 (with roots dating back to the mid-1990s) appeared to take American citizens, lawmakers, and some public health officials by surprise.” It is not hard to make the connection that many of the Americans contributing to this epidemic are veterans.

The many hardships servicemembers face when adjusting to civilian-life can lead them to drug and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, many injuries and disorders suffered as a result of active duty — such as PTSD — can create a dependence on prescription drugs and/or alcohol.

Their psychological and physical scars can often be helped by someone who knows exactly what they went through and is currently experiencing. A veteran may be better able to reach a troubled vet in these matters, and therefore lower the staggering statistics of substance abuse by servicemembers. A veteran with experience in public administration can not only be beneficial by having an extensive knowledge of this public health crisis, but also by fighting for and creating governmental policies to make adjusting to civilian life as easy and comfortable as possible.

Those who have made sacrifices for this country deserve to enter civilian life with honor, and many organizations and civilians recognize this and do their best to make a better life for veterans. However, the help of a fellow veteran can keep even more troubled servicemen and women from slipping through the cracks. Take the information above to change a troubled vet’s life around, giving them the chance to perhaps pay the favor forward one day.




Military Counseling: A Solid Career Option for Veterans


Military Counseling: A Solid Career Option for Veterans

A Solid Career Option for Veterans

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If you’re a proud member of the military approaching your ETS date, you may feel as though you’re headed into uncharted territory. And while your upcoming civilian life will indeed differ considerably from your time in active, guard, or reserve duty, entering the workforce may bring you comparable feelings of pride and accomplishment.

The adjustment period looks different for every veteran. Remember that you’re following in the footsteps of immeasurably brave vets, some of whom quickly settled in to post-military life, and others for whom the process may not have been so easy.

Adjusting to a day-job routine can be rough, so it’s recommended that you take it slow. Allow yourself a respite period when you’re not actively seeking employment. This allows you time to reconnect with family and friends and get used to the daily grind of civilian life.

And once you’re ready to begin the job search, treat your military background as an asset rather than a hindrance. Veterans have real-world experience in problem-solving, leadership, and similar skills that a civilian may not possess. You may also want to take advantage of your G.I. Bill award to help further your education and get a jumpstart on your future career.

From the Field to the Classroom

Enrolling in college post-ETS affords you the opportunity to put your skills to the test and also settle into a routine. Many veterans find that establishing a routine helps tremendously during the transition phase, and a set class schedule provides a starting point for organizing your life in a tangible way.

Use your strengths and military background when selecting your area of study. For example, if your field duties involved equipment operation, you may be a candidate for mechanical engineering. Or if you’re more of a compassionate thinker who wants to work with fellow vets, you can choose to pursue a military counseling degree.

In Pursuit of a Degree in Military Counseling

No matter the duration of your enlistment term, your military background is priceless when it comes to assisting fellow veterans in a counseling capacity. Even the most learnéd, well-intentioned professionals cannot completely understand the perils of active combat.

Your first-hand combat experience may be the detail that allows a client to open up to you. A number of military counseling resource professionals believe that it’s more difficult for veterans to open up to counselors, even if treatment is their own idea. Making a connection is often imperative to the successful treatment of veterans, and your military experience serves as a personal link to clients.

When working with active and former service members, it’s recommended that counselors recognize their clients’ character and grit, and respect their service. As a veteran yourself, you should have no problem honoring and advocating for service members.

Job Opportunities for Military Counselors

Once you receive your military counseling degree, which can be a lengthy process involving 4-6 years of school and a period of clinical work, you have a number of employment options. For instance, you can provide mental health counseling within your local community, at a private clinic, general health center, or VA hospital.

Veterans can also opt to work on base, counseling active service members and their families. Civilians cannot work as an on-base mental health counselor, giving you an edge over the competition.

Military counseling is remarkably nuanced — military peeps and their families have two options for treatment: Medical and non-medical. As a military counselor, you can choose to work in either field, or both.

Non-medical counseling is akin to case management, focusing on a veteran’s short-term goals, including anger management and strengthening relationships. Medical counseling is more of a long-term endeavor, addressing a variety of complex issues frequently seen in veterans.

Specific matters that a military counselor may need to address include suicidal ideation, alcohol abuse, and PTSD stemming from combat-related trauma. As a veteran, you may have had direct experience with some of those issues, making your knowledge invaluable to your clients.

Note that, as a military counselor, you may also provide services to members of military families. Those individuals and veterans alike may request your guidance as they navigate difficult life milestones such as a death in the family, long-term illness, or divorce from a military spouse.

Final Thoughts

As we have seen, transitioning from active duty into the private sector, where you’ll seek employment and re-learn the nuances of civilian life, can be difficult. Many veterans find success by enrolling in college following their term of service. If you want to go back to school, consider pursuing a military counseling degree, which affords you the opportunity to keep one foot in the military while maintaining a comfortable civilian life.


Forever GI Bill Update

Forever GI BillIn this 99th year of commemorating Veterans Day on November 11, VA has broadened that observance and appreciation to designate the entire month of November as National Veterans and Military Families Month. At VA, we like to say that every day is Veterans Day, but this month and year it has been especially evident as we begin implementing several new provisions enacted by the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act of 2017, also known as the “Forever GI Bill.”


VA & CFPB Warning on Refinancing Offers

Department of Veterans AffairsThe VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.


Qualifying for Social Security Disability as a Disabled Veteran

Social Security FormAs a person with a disability that served in the armed forces, perhaps you’ve already been approved for disability benefits through the Veteran’s Administration (VA). Additional financial support may be available through the Social Security Administration (SSA), if your disability now prevents you from working and earning a gainful living.


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