Veterans and Military Families

Support for Military Families and Rural Veterans

Photo of Veteran Farmer holding infant: Permissions USDA photo

Photo: Ivory Smith, founder of SmithPonics, shows off a tray of his microgreens while his son tags along for the ride. (Photo provided by SmithPonics) Ivory was one of many veterans who participated in an ‘Armed to Farm’ workshop in Jackson, Mississippi. - See more at USDA Blog: https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2014/11/10/armed-farm-bridging-veterans-agriculture

Housing and Community Leadership

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA’s rural housing programs can help veterans become homeowners, repair or improve their existing homes, and offset the costs of rent. For more information, visit your nearest Rural Development local office. http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=us&agency=rd

  • Under the Self-Help Housing program, participants –with expert supervision – perform about 65 percent of the construction labor on each other’s homes. The savings from reduced labor costs allows them to obtain low-interest mortgages through USDA. In addition to learning home construction skills, participants receive instruction in managing a household budget to help them develop important skills for being a new homeowner.

Our veterans in rural areas are also leaders in the revival and redevelopment of their communities. Rural Development Community Facilities Programs provide direct loans, grants and loan guarantees for essential community facilities in rural areas. Typical projects include hospitals, health clinics, schools, fire houses and community. The Multi-Family Housing Programs finance apartment-style rental housing complexes for very-low-, low- and moderate-income individuals and families, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Through its Business Programs, Rural Development provides loans and grants for new, existing and expanding rural business. Funding can be used for projects that provide jobs and job training for veterans.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

"VA helps Service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners."

For more information, contact a VA Regional Loan Center by calling toll-free (877) 827-3702 or visit our Home Loan website.http://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/contact_rlc_info.asp

U.S. Housing and Urban Development

"HUDVet facilitates collaboration among Federal agencies and veteran-serving organizations regarding programs for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Contact: hudvet@hud.gov.”

Corporation for National & Community Service

"The Corporation for National and Community Service is working with veterans in communities across the United States, tapping their unique skills and leadership abilities to tackle assignments ranging from disaster response and mentoring at-risk youth to building homes and helping soldiers returning from war.”   https://www.serve.gov/?q=site-page/serving-veterans-and-military-families

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
http://www.nchv.org/

"is the resource and technical assistance center for a national network of community-based service providers and local, state and federal agencies that provide emergency and supportive housing, food, health services, job training and placement assistance, legal aid and case management support for hundreds of thousands of homeless veterans each year."

Education Resources for Veterans, Spouses, and Children

As a veteran, you may be eligible for certain educational and training benefits. Eligible veterans can use their GI Bill Educational Benefits for training and/or education. Veterans pursuing higher education could have a percentage of their tuition fees paid, receive a Monthly Housing Allowance, receive a books and supplies stipend, and other benefits. Additionally, with passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, eligible service members can elect to transfer education benefits to their spouse or children, under Department of Defense regulations. Click here to access the Veterans Affairs Education and Training website for more information and contact information.

You may qualify for additional educational benefits on top of those from the GI Bill. This webpage from the Department of Education can also help those looking for pathways to become a teacher or resources to understand the rights of disabled veterans.

Vet Success on Campus can help make sure that you are plugged into available counseling services and ensure you are receiving on-campus benefits assistance.

Employment & Training

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA’s Veterans Employment Program Office can help veterans interested in working at USDA with matching skills and qualifications to careers, reviewing and providing feedback on resumes, and explaining the Federal hiring process. Click here to access more information and to read about the special hiring authorities for veterans.

U.S. Department of Labor

Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS). "VETS serve America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights"

Additional Support for Military Families

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Common concerns of the military community include readiness and retention of service members in military units, quality child care, and the employability of military spouses. USDA supports educators co-located at Fort Hood (Texas), Fort Bliss (Texas), and Fort Riley (Kansas) who provide life skills education on topics including family dynamics, communication, health, and nutrition.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Free tax Help for Military Families

"The IRS provides free tax help to military members and their families through its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA offers free tax preparation and e-filing at sites both on and off base.”

Nutrition Assistance Programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA can assist you with ensuring that you and your family have access to nutritious meals. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service can connect you to information on resources and benefits

Gardening Resources

All around the country, people are learning where their food comes from and participating in a movement to beautify and feed their communities through community gardens. The People’s Garden can get you started with information on how to build and give back to your community through gardening.

Youth Programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Military 4-H Clubs provide quality educational experiences using research-based curricula in a number of areas, including photography, computer technology, arts, nutrition, fitness and citizenship for military youth ages 5 to 19. These opportunities provide military children and youth with a continuity of programs wherever their military assignments may take them. These clubs provide strong educational programs for children so that service members can pursue their critical, high-risk assignments knowing that their children are in safe and nurturing environments.

Project Youth Extension Service (Y.E.S.!) : "This is a Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Agriculture Partnership.  “Project Y.E.S! is a national internship program engaging college students in service to meet the needs of military families."

Boys and Girls Clubs of America Military Youth and Family Support

Veteran and Military Family Opportunities

National Endowment for the Arts - Arts and the Military

Blue Star Museums: National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense and Blue Star Families Collaboration

  • "...more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve", from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

U.S. Geological Survey - Recreation

  • America The Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass: https://store.usgs.gov/pass/military.html
    • Free Annual Parks Pass. Eligible for: "Current US military members and their dependents in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as most members of the US Reserves and National Guard. Proper military ID is required (CAC Card or DoD Form 1173)."
    • "There is not a pass specifically for veterans; however, many veterans qualify for one of the other discount passes offered as part of our pass program.  If you are 62 or older you qualify for a Senior Pass. If you have a permanent disability you may qualify for an Access Pass."