October 14, 2015 – As a veteran, you face a host of unique challenges that civilian members of American society don’t always understand. The lack of institutional support often means veterans find themselves in unfortunate situations with little to no outside help.
Read our guide below to learn what challenges veterans reentering civilian life face, and what the government, non-profit groups, and legal professionals are doing to help.
Many disabled veterans are unable to find solid work once they return home. Plus, veterans who joined the armed forces right after high school often don’t have the education that their peers received, which puts them at a hiring disadvantage.
If you’re disabled, can’t find work, and need social security disability payments, contact a social security disability lawyer. Your lawyer will make sure you understand the law and get the right payment amount. If you’d like help finding a job and receiving job training, non-profit groups like Hire Heroes can help you look for a job upon your return.
Approximately one third of all homeless Americans are veterans. Veterans with untreated PTSD can develop alcohol and drug addictions, which are high-risk behaviors that can lead to deteriorating mental health and homelessness.
In other situations, disabled and/or unemployed veterans don’t make enough money to pay their mortgage. If you worry about this situation, contact a social security disability attorney once you arrive home. He or she will help ensure that you get the social security payments you need.
You can also get in touch with the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, a non-profit group dedicated to helping homeless veterans find housing, health services, food, and job training.
3. Poor Mental Health
Unfortunately, suicide and depression rates remain high among members of the armed forces. This is in part because of the social stigmas attached to seeking mental health treatment, which leads to high rates of untreated PTSD in returning veterans.
If you want to seek mental health treatments or feel suicidal, call or text the Veterans Crisis Line. They understand specific mental health problems faced by veterans and can offer support.
4. Physical Injuries
Many veterans experience debilitating physical injuries that leave them unable to work. These veterans often make claims to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but the VA is so backed up that they often can’t address an individual’s applications for several months, or even years.
A good lawyer can help veterans deal with social security disability and fight for their legal rights to make sure they get the proper care and benefits. You may qualify for social security disability, which can provide you with the money you need to seek medical treatment and pay your bills.
5. Lack of Education
As mentioned above, many veterans joined the armed forces right out of high school, which means they haven’t had the opportunity to receive a college education. Issues like drug or alcohol addiction, untreated PTSD, poor mental health and devastating physical injuries often keep veterans from pursuing higher education. Disabled veterans may also worry that they don’t have the money to afford a college education.
If you want better educational opportunities, the organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America can help you understand the educational benefits you’re entitled to as a U.S. veteran. You may also be able to find veteran-specific scholarships that help you complete your education.
While a variety of circumstances can make veterans’ lives difficult after their service, there are resources available to help. Get in touch with a social security disability lawyer and use any of the veteran resources listed above to get help and start a successful civilian life.
Author Bio: My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3 year old husky Snowball.