Everything you need to know about financial assistance for veterans

Lidia Staron, author at OpenLoans
Lidia Staron   OpenLoans Marketing Manager
Personal Finance
I enjoy navigating people through important financial decisions.

The transition from active military duty to civilian life can be difficult. After years of serving their country, veterans often find themselves facing financial hardships once they become a civilian. Aside from needing to find a new job, they also face the loss of their military benefits. Fortunately, there are several programs and grants that offer financial assistance for veterans. Of course, navigating these programs isn't always a simple process. If you're a veteran and looking for financial assistance for going to school, paying off a debt, or taking care of bills, then this guide should help you learn everything you need to know to get the money you need.

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Emergency Financial Assistance for Veterans

After getting out of the military, one of the biggest challenges that veterans face is finding a new job. And while they keep looking for a new source of income, the bills still keep coming in. Even with extreme budgeting, a veteran might need help covering the basic monthly bills.

Another issue is that their medical expenses are no longer covered by the government. With the cash flow so low, an emergency medical bill is not something easily covered by a veteran still trying to get settled into civilian life. For veterans who are in need of emergency financial assistance, below are the programs and grants that you can look into for help:

US Cares Emergency Assistance Program

This veteran’s assistance program provides emergency money for covering essential bills such as food and utilities. The average grant given by the program is $650, which can provide peace of mind to anyone facing financial struggles while trying to get things on track.

The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance

This veteran’s assistance program is under the category of veteran’s assistance, but it's really targeted towards the minor children of current active duty and American Legion members. The grant provides a veteran's family with money to pay for shelter, food, utilities, and health expenses. The program aims to ensure that the minor children of veterans live in a stable environment. Take note that the child must be 17 years old or younger (20 years old if they are still enrolled in high school or are physically handicapped). For a qualifying veteran, the one-time grant can be as high as $1,500.

Operation Family Fund

Veterans who were severely injured while on active duty as a result of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom are eligible for financial assistance from this program. The grants are provided to help veterans meet short, and long-term living needs such as food, utilities, rent, legal expenses, medical expenses, vehicle repair, counseling, caregiver training, and support, etc.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Unmet Needs Program

This program provides emergency financial assistance for veterans to help them meet their basic life needs. The grants of up to $1,500 must be used for eligible expenses only such as food and clothing, household expenses such as repairs and insurance, utilities, medical bills, and vehicle expenses. The grant cannot be used to pay for credit cards, military charge cards, cable or internet bills, taxes, and any other expenses that are not considered a basic life need.

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes

This organization provides financial assistance to veterans who were severely injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The grants are provided to applicants who meet the minimum eligibility requirements, including severe financial hardship and a disability rating assigned by the Department of Defense or the Department of Veterans Affairs of 30 percent or greater.

Financial Assistance for Female Veterans

Veteran financial assistance

According to the Pew Research Center, 9% of the veteran population is female. That number is expected to increase. By 2045, an estimated 18% of the veteran population will be female. The programs below are specifically designed to provide financial assistance for female veterans.

Combat Female Veterans

CFV is a nonprofit that provides female veterans assistance in various ways. The organization's Emergency Relief Fund is designed to provide help in paying mortgage or rental expenses. As a Home Depot Foundations Grants partner, the nonprofit can sponsor veterans and facilitate home renovations as well as service-related modifications.

Dixon Center

This organization provides female veterans with emergency money to pay for expenses that are related to housing and employment. Take note that the organization will first work with the female veterans in order to connect them with resources in their local communities. If other means of support have been exhausted, the organization will consider the applicant for a one-time grant if she is unemployed or is at risk of becoming homeless.

Finale Salute H.O.M.E. Program

This program provides financial assistance for single mothers who are also veterans to enable them to afford safe and suitable housing. It aims to help prevent homelessness by providing female veterans with money to pay rent, deposit, and utility bills.

Financial Assistance for Older Veterans:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Aid & Attendance Benefit

Did you know that veterans are also entitled to financial assistance for senior care? The Aid & Attendance benefit can provide $2,170 or more to pay for the cost of senior care. The benefit can be used by veterans or a surviving spouse aged 65 years or older. Eligibility factors include service during wartime, an honorable discharge, a monthly income and assets below the limits set by the VA, and a medically documented need for daily assistance.

Veteran Business Grants and Loans

Aside from emergency money, veterans can also avail of financial assistance when it comes to starting a business. According to the US Census Bureau, 7.2% of the businesses with employees in the US are veteran-owned. Entrepreneurship can be expensive. There’s the starting capital as well as operational expenses. Fortunately, there are plenty of veteran’s business grants and personal loans for veterans loans that are available.

SBA Veterans Advantage 7(a) Loan

The 7(a) loan allows veterans to borrow up to $350,000 without having to pay an upfront fee. This reduces the barriers that veterans face when starting and running a small business, enabling them to more easily access capital and create jobs.

Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan

This is an SBA loan offered to small businesses to help them meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it cannot pay because an essential employee has been called to active duty. It serves to help the business meet its necessary obligations until operations return to normal. The interest rate on the loan is 4%, with a maximum amount of $2 million and a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The StreetShares Foundation

StreetShares is an online lender that has partnered with JP Morgan Chase to provide grants to eligible veterans worth a total of $10,000. Winners are chosen based on specific criteria such as the strength of the business idea, the potential impact of the awarded funds to the business, and the influence of the business to the military and veterans community.

Warrior Rising

This nonprofit was created by entrepreneurial combat veterans to help other vets who want to become an entrepreneur. The organization provides startup grants as well as one-on-one mentorship. They also help connect veteran entrepreneurs to other potential sources of funding.

Small Business Innovation Research Grant

Veteran-owned businesses that are engaged in scientific research can apply for a grant from the US Department of Energy's Office of Science. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant grants almost $90 million each year to veteran-owned businesses.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant

This is another grant for veteran-owned businesses, specifically for those that conduct research for the federal government. Each business that qualifies is provided funds up to $850,000. The business must be owned by an American veteran with less than 500 employees to be eligible for this grant.

The National Association for the Self-Employed Growth Grants

The National Association for the Self-Employed provides veteran-owned businesses grants totaling $4,000 or less. The grants are aimed to help small businesses in paying for various activities such as training, advertising, and hiring new employees. Take note that veterans who apply for this grant must be a member of NASE.

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