January 15, 2014 – From 2000 to 2009, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it has spent more money on education vocational rehabilitation for veterans, more than doubling annual expenditures to a high of more than $4 billion per year in 2009. For veterans looking for assistance adjusting to life after military service, this means even greater opportunities. Below are five VA and privately-funded resources that will help you adjust to life back home after active duty service:
1. Home loan assistance. The VA can help veterans finance a home through a private lender or obtain funds to renovate an existing home. The VA also offers disabled veterans loans to modify their home to accommodate their disability. Because the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, you receive more favorable terms than otherwise. There are a number of home loan programs, and you can find more information about each and apply at the VA’s website.
2. Training and education for unemployed veterans. The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers college assistance to veterans who have served more than 90 days of military duty and were discharged with honor. The bill covers some to all of your college tuition, depending on your length of military service. If you are a veteran between the age of 35 and 60 who is currently unemployed, you may be able to participate in the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which offers up to a year of training to veterans who are not eligible for other educational services, such as the GI Bill. Applications for the current term are closed but the VA will provide information for vets who wish to be notified when applications reopen.
3. Job search help. Veterans who have left the armed services may struggle to find the right job. The Veterans Job Bank, hosted by eBenefits, allows you to search for jobs that use the specific skills you gained in military service. It also connects you with employers who are expressly looking to hire those who have served. Search private sector and federal jobs, create a resume within eBenefits and take career assessment tests to discover what type of employment might best utilize your skills.
4. Identity protection services from LifeLock. Fighting credit card and identity fraud can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if your personal bank account funds have been depleted. Identity protection service LifeLock offers comprehensive protective services and extends veterans a 10-percent discount, which you can learn more about on this page at LifeLock. This is especially helpful for those who think they may return to active duty, as LifeLock will monitor your credit on your behalf whether you’re at home, on vacation or serving overseas.
5. Veterans’ discounts help you save year round. Sure, many stores offer free promotions on Veterans Day. However, some offer year-round savings that can help you save money on daily purchases so you can buy what you really need. Organizations and stores with military discounts include All State, American Airlines, Amtrak, Apple, Applebee’s, Bass Pro Shops, Best Western, Burger King, Disneyland, Dress Barn, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nike, Pizza Hut, Southwest Airlines and Toyota. Military Connection offers a comprehensive list.