Service members are familiar with many of the benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, though some VA services can be easily overlooked. Military families are also aware of veteran discounts offered by restaurants, retailers and other businesses. Less familiar are some of the private programs aimed at helping veterans get on their feet, get job training and get around. Here's a look at some useful resources that many vets might not know about.
Getting help with finances and careers
Operation First Response: Provides financial assistance to military families to cover the costs of such things as groceries, clothing, rent and transportation..
American Legion: Temporary financial assistance is available to families in need for the cost of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses.
USA Cares: Provides post-9/11 military veterans, service members and their families with emergency financial assistance and post-service skill training toward a civilian career path.
Onward to Opportunity: A free career training program that provides professional certification and employee support services to service members, veterans and military spouses.
LinkedIn: Service members and veterans can get a free one-year premium subscription to the career-focused social network. Credentials need to be verified first through ID.me.
Building a community
Together We Served: The veteran-only website provides a means to reconnect with former service members by entering their service history. Each branch of the military is represented, totaling over 1.9 million members.
RallyPoint: Military community members can discuss social and professional topics from recruitment to retirement. The platform has nearly 2 million members.
Make the Connection: Connects veterans, family members and friends with solutions affecting their lives. The website offers videos of veterans sharing their stories of strength and recovery, and features other mental health topics and a network of in-person resources.
Finding transportation options
Space-A Flights Program: Veterans with a permanent and total service-connected disability rating are eligible to fill surplus seating on Department of Defense aircraft when available.
Veteran Airlift Command: Post 9/11 combat-wounded veterans and their families can receive free air transportation for medical and other “compassionate purposes” through a network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Rides: The DAV organization offers free rides to VA medical facilities for injured and ill veterans. Check the directory on the website to find the DAV hospital service coordinator located closest to you.