How to Say “Thank You” to Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families
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When it comes to opportunities to support military service members, veterans, and their families, it can seem like your hands are tied. After all, how do you give back to those who offer everything in service to our country? We’ve pooled several ideas for those wanting to assist the men and women who help secure our ongoing independence and freedom.
Help Senior Veterans Get Health Care
According to some statistics, more than half of all seniors find the Medicare enrollment process confusing. What’s more, the Military Wallet points out that many veterans are confused about qualifying for VA medical benefits. They think they either need to have served in a war zone or believe they must have a service-related disability rating. However, all veterans can qualify for medical benefits through the VA, based on things like service dates, deployments, or other criteria. Sometimes, people think they have to pick between the VA system and Medicare, but the two programs can be used in conjunction, which broadens care options for veterans.
With so much confusion surrounding health care, why not help a senior veteran by ensuring they receive all the health care they qualify for and need? Plans change regularly, so review what all is available. For instance, Medicare Advantage offers options like dental care, help with prescription drugs, and gym memberships; click here to find out what is currently available.
Working Age Veterans
When it comes to veterans who fulfilled their duty and have transitioned into a civilian role, you have a unique opportunity to do something that is good for yourself and good for them: hire them. If you or someone you know is in a position to employ a veteran, there are a number of significant tax breaks available. For instance, companies that hire veterans on food stamps, disabled veterans, or veterans who have been unemployed for four weeks or longer qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit program.
Past and Present Service Members
Service in the military has unique challenges, and the lifestyle can take a serious toll. In fact, some studies show as many as 10 percent of those serving in active duty in Iraq suffer from a diagnosable mental illness. Thankfully, there are volunteer organizations such as Give an Hour that offer free counseling services to active duty personnel, veterans, National Guard members, Reserve members, and their families. Those needing help can connect with a provider by video, phone, or in-person, can request assistance in a particular language, and can request assistance for particular mental health concerns. If you know someone who is struggling, you can point them toward the site. If you wish to help with counseling opportunities, the organization accepts licensed providers and volunteers in several capacities.
There’s an App for That
Technology provides key resources for past and present military service people and their family members. There are smartphone apps designed to help veterans enhance their health and wellness, such as helping with parenting duties, breathing exercises, and mood tracking data.
There are also apps with special advantages for military families. Everything from help with shopping at the Commissary, to a directory for all military installations, to advice apps for those living in a military culture can be found.
Those currently serving can also add helpful apps to their tool kit. Military Today notes that you can find options relating to first aid, a services locator, and even a guide to military acronyms.
If you know someone serving in the military, military family members, or someone who served in the past, sometimes cueing them in on what help is available can enhance their lives. Think about what you can do, whether it’s lending hands-on help, hiring, or offering information. It’s a simple way to say “thank you” to those who serve.
Guest blog piece authored by Brian Boyd of www.eldersplace.org.