Serving Older Veterans
AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is an organization that focuses on issues related to older adults. Its mission is “to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” AARP offers a vast array of resources related to older adults’ health and wellness, insurance, travel, shopping, and grocery needs, as well as multiple other resources of interest to the aging community.
Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH)
The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) is the nation’s premier life community for certain retired and former members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses. The Home offers a vibrant lifestyle at two distinctly different campuses surrounded by rich history, the arts and cultural venues, educational opportunities, natural beauty, and recreational amenities.
To access the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), visit: https://www.afrh.gov/. To access the AFRH request form, visit: https://www.afrh.gov/apply/request-form.
CancerCare provides many services, including financial and practical assistance for people with cancer.
Combat Boots and Cancer
Combat Boots and Cancer provides resources for service members, veterans, and families living with cancer.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
The mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans by providing for effective health and human services by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services. HHS offers a variety of resources and programs specifically designed to support military families.
- MedlinePlus for Veterans and Military Health: This National Institutes of Health (NIH) site serves as a resource center for veterans seeking information on health issues resulting from their service.
- Veterans’ Health Activities: This archived page by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on Vietnam and Gulf War health-related issues.
- FEDShivreVETS: Provides a list of Veteran Employment Program Offices responsible for promoting veterans’ recruitment, employment, training and development, and retention within their respective agencies. Guidelines for special hiring authorities for veterans are also available.
HHS also provides a number of resources for aging Americans, including healthy aging, resources for caregivers and long-term care, steps to protecting oneself physically, mentally, and financially, and planning for retirement.
For more information about HHS programs, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/programs/social-services/supporting-military-families/index.html
Department of Labor (DOL)
The Department of Labor (DOL) offers the following programs and services:
- Transition Assistance Program (TAP): This program provides information, tools, and training to ensure service members and their spouses are prepared for the next step in civilian life.
- Jobs for Veterans State Grants (JVSG): This program provides federal funding, through a formula grant, to 54 SWAs to hire dedicated staff to provide individualized career and training-related services to veterans and eligible persons with significant barriers to employment and to assist employers in filling their workforce needs to with job-seeking veterans.
- Employment and Training Administration (ETA): The ETA administers federal government job training, apprenticeship and worker dislocation programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems.
- American Jobs Centers (AJCs) and Career One Stops: Located in all states and territories, the network of nearly 2,500 AJCs provides a wide array of employment-related services.
- Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP): Employment-focused competitive grant program of the DOL Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), the only federal grant to focus exclusively on competitive employment for homeless veterans.
- National Veterans’ Training Institute (NVTI): NVTI provides specialized training and professional skills enhancement for veterans’ service providers staff. Focusing primarily on training individuals who help veterans secure long-term employment, NVTI is committed to ensuring those who are tasked with this critical responsibility have the knowledge and tools necessary to perform their jobs effectively.
- DOL provides other programs and services as well. On the one hand, you may find Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/userra) applicable to your situation ; while on the other, you need to be aware of Veterans’ Preference (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/vets/programs/vetspref) guidance.
Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
There are the baseline U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) programs that we visit in each of our NVTI Career Coaching courses, which address employment preparation, housing, supportive services, and incarceration transition. DVOP specialists and career coaches will leverage these available resources, in addition to identifying supplemental assets that are applicable to their older veteran clients.
Older veterans may be eligible for a wide variety of benefits available to all U.S. military veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. The VA offers the following programs:
- Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E): The VR&E helps with job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job-seeking skills coaching. Other services may be provided to assist veterans and service members in starting their own business or independent living services for those who are severely disabled and unable to work in traditional employment.
- Department of Housing and Urban Development—VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program: The HUD-VASH is a collaboration between the VA and HUD and combines housing vouchers with VA supportive services to help veterans who are homeless and their families find and sustain permanent housing. Additionally, HUD’s Fair Housing ACT protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.
- VA Benefits Administration: The VA Benefits Administration provides a variety of benefits services for veterans.
- Adapted Housing Grants are offered to eligible veterans with certain service-connected disabilities to buy or modify an accessible home. For more information about Adapted Housing Grants, visit: https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/disability-housing-grants/.
- The VA offers clinical care for Parkinson’s Disease through Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs). For more information about the PADRECC program, visit: https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/index.asp.
For more information about VA programs, visit: https://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-elderly.asp. In addition:
- For more information about mental health support offered by the VA, visit: https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/older-veterans/index.asp.
- For more information about food insecurity, visit: https://www.nutrition.va.gov/Food_Insecurity.asp.
- For more information about the VA’s PTS-related services, visit: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/gethelp/help_for_veterans.asp
Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a nonprofit charity that provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families. DAV is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. They ensure veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them, fighting for the interests of American’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill, and educating the public about the great sacrifice and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.
Hiring Our Heroes
Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS)
VA Medical Centers (VMAC) offer Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services, a type of supported employment, for veterans with mental illness including PTS and traumatic brain injury. IPS has been shown to be more effective than other vocational interventions for this population. Veterans can be co-enrolled in IPS and AJC services simultaneously.
To access information about IPS, visit: https://ipsworks.org/index.php/what-is-ips/
International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF)
The International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF) strives to achieve greater understanding and acceptance of “essential tremor” (ET) ; conduct research to understand what causes ET; and educate patients, caregivers, and health care providers about ET. IETF also provides a list of assistive devices, therapies, and techniques to support those with ET.
Korean War Veterans Association, Inc (KWVA)
Founded in 1985, the KWVA serves veterans of the Korean War with 157 active chapters in the United States. They offer veterans opportunities to revisit Korea on tours with fellow veterans, the Tell America Program in which recordings of discussions with Korean War veterans about their experiences are shared, and the POW/MIA program. In addition, individual chapters provide Korean War veterans the opportunity to connect with local peers, gain support, and participate in events.
Legislation Affecting Older Veterans
- Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act (Forever GI Bill) of 2017
The Forever GI Bill of 2017 eliminated the 15-year time limit, which was introduced as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and expanded educational opportunities for service members, veterans, and families.
- Public Law 16
In 1943, Public Law 16 was enacted, which provided eligible veterans with four years of training to assist in employability after their service.
- Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the GI Bill of Rights
This comprehensive bill provided funding for education for veterans, as well as established hospitals, low-cost mortgages opportunities, low-interest rates for businesses, and a year of unemployment for veterans. This bill provided opportunities for veterans to access training and education, own homes, and start small businesses.
- Veterans’ Emergency Housing Act of 1946
This program was created to meet the demands for housing for soldiers returning from war. This act involved the government in the traditionally private-sector housing industry, creating an increase in prefabricated homes meant to meet the demands of the housing crisis.
- Veterans Health Care Act of 1992
The Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 provided more comprehensive care for veterans. Provisions included counseling services for sexual assault victims, construction of veteran group homes to create additional housing, renovations to existing facilities to support disabled veterans, other respite care options, and medication pricing limitations.
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
USERRA is a federal statute that protects service members’ and veterans’ civilian employment rights. Among other things, under certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs after military service. USERRA also protects service members from discrimination in the workplace based on their military service or affiliation.
Lone Survivor Foundation
The Lone Survivor Foundation was established by retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who was the only survivor of his 2005 mission. Luttrell founded Lone Survivor Foundation in 2010 to provide an opportunity to other military families to step out of their daily routines and come to a place of peace where they can obtain tools for healing while being surrounded by other people who understand them.
Military.com has compiled a list of state benefits on its website, titled “Your 2021 State Veterans Benefits.” State benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses for veterans. Most states also offer tax breaks for their veterans and specialized license plates. Some states even provide their veterans with cash bonuses just for serving in the military. Each summary page also has a link directly to the specific state department of veterans affairs.
National Archives and Records Administration
Veterans can request military service records, research military records, and replace lost medals and awards through the National Archives and Records Administration.
National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA)
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) is the national organization representing all 50 SWAs, D.C., and U.S. territories. These agencies deliver training, employment, career, and business services, in addition to administering the unemployment insurance, veteran reemployment, and labor market information programs. NASWA provides policy expertise, shares promising state practices, and promotes state innovation and leadership in workforce development.
National Experienced Workforce (NEW) Solutions
NEW Solutions expands opportunities for experienced workers to support government agencies in achieving their missions through our proven exceptional services.
National Older Worker Career Center (NOWCC)
The National Older Worker Career Center (NOWCC) is an organization that promotes an age-diverse workforce through expanding the employment opportunities in federal agencies for individuals 55 and over. NOWCC recruits older workers to work with partnering federal agencies, and is responsible for enrolling, administering payroll and benefits, and handling any performance-related issues.
National Resource Directory
The National Resource Directory is a searchable database of resources vetted for service members, veterans, family members, and caregivers. By creating a keyword search on “older + veterans,” then selecting “employment” under the Search Filter function, career coaches will discover national, state, and local resources for older veterans.
National Veterans Foundation (NVF)
The mission of the National Veterans Foundation (NVF) is to serve the crisis management, information, and referral needs of all veterans and their families through management and operation of the nation’s older toll-free, vet-to-vet helpline, public awareness programs that shine a consistent spotlight on the needs of veterans, and outreach services that provide veterans and their families in need with food, clothing, transportation, employment, and other essential resources.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), formerly known as PAVE, offers a career program which provides free employment support and vocational counseling assistance to all veterans, transitioning service members, spouses, and caregivers.
The Parkinson’s Foundation provides resources to veteran benefits related to Parkinson’s Disease.
Senior Veterans Service Alliance (SVSA)
The SVSA is a non-profit dedicated to supporting aging veterans, spouses, and adult children across the United States. They provide access to help with assisted living and care management, financial planning, tax planning, elder laws, and family disputes.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes the impact that veterans have on the American economy. High-performing entrepreneurs tend to demonstrate good decision-making skills in chaotic environments, confidence, independence, and high self-worth and achievement—all traits commonly found in service members and veterans.
- The Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) facilitates the use of all SBA programs by service members, veterans, the National Guard, Reserve members, and military spouses. The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is an OVBD initiative that oversees individual VBOCs across the country, with each VBOC offering resources for veterans who are interested in starting or growing a business. These centers provide business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training for eligible military and veteran entrepreneurs.
- Boots to Business (B2B) is a two-step entrepreneurial training program offered by the SBA as a training track within DoD’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The curriculum provides assistance to those interested in exploring business ownership or other self-employment opportunities.
Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)
Warrior Care also provides access to the DoD Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL) program, which provides special compensation to eligible permanent catastrophically ill and/or injured service members who need caregiver assistance with activities for daily living or for supervision or protection.
To access Warrior Care, visit: https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/. To access SCAADL, visit: https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/Benefits/Special-Compensation-for-Assistance-with-Activities-of-Daily-Living-SCAADL/.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within HHS that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in America’s communities.
SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center provides technical assistance support to state and territory, military and civilian interagency teams working to strengthen behavioral health systems that assist service members, veterans, and their families.
Technical assistance (TA) is also provided to SAMHSA stakeholders and grantees on issues and resources related to the behavioral health needs of service members, veterans, and their families. Some of the specific support the SMVF TA Center provides include:
- Behavioral health–focused prevention, treatment, and recovery support needs for both mental health and substance use in service members, veterans, and their families
- TA, training tools, and consultation to teams within states and territories in ways that promote coordination among civilian, military, and veteran service systems
- Identifying, sharing, and encouraging the adoption of evidence-based practices that support the resilience and emotional health of service members, veterans, and their families
- Identifying experts and resources to meet the evolving needs of states and territories related to strengthening behavioral health care systems and services for service members, veterans, and their families
State Departments of Veterans Affairs Locator
For more information on state agency departments of veterans affairs, the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA)–sponsored State Departments of Veterans Affairs Locator may be used to search by state or territory. NASDVA is composed of the state directors and, in some cases, commissioners of veterans affairs in each U.S. state as well as the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Although each state is unique, with its own traditions, programs, and resources, they are united by a common goal to make a difference in the lives of our veterans.
Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc (VVnW)
Founded in 1978, the VVnW was developed to serve Vietnam War veterans’ needs and provide support. With 90 posts worldwide, the organization is involved in programs such as the United Veterans Beacon House and Military Support Package Project.
Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) Program
The VTC model is based on the drug and mental health courts that have existed for nearly 30 years. Unlike traditional criminal courts, the primary purpose of a VTC is not to determine whether a defendant is guilty of an offense, but rather to ensure the defendant receives treatment to address unmet clinical needs. Several factors distinguish VTCs from drug and mental health courts, most notably their focus on veteran defendants and the involvement of volunteer veteran mentors who provide nonclinical support to veteran participants. VTCs reflect the jurisdiction that choose to start them, and there is considerable variation among the courts in both participant eligibility criteria and operational processes.
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
Founded in 1978, the VVA has nearly 90,000 members creating a community of veterans with similar experiences with which to connect. The VVA assists veterans by providing employment services, financial planning, and advocates for veteran legislation. The VVA also provides outreach programs for veterans in need related to Agent Orange, PTS, substance abuse issues, educational needs, homelessness, Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA), incarceration, and more.
Warrior Care, a recovery coordination program, proactively supports wounded, ill, and injured service members in their recovery and reintegration or transition to civilian life. They offer the Disability Evaluation System (DES), which combines the DoD and VA disability processes and allows the departments to simultaneously complete the disability determinations of seriously ill or injured service members before they separate from military service. Warrior Care also has the Recovery Coordination Program (RCP), miliary caregiver support resources, an Education and Employment Initiative (E2I), a Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP), and a National Resource Directory (NRD).
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project looks to honor and empower wounded warriors who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001.