We’re living through a time of unprecedented uncertainty with the globally rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many have lost their livelihoods due to business shutdowns and layoffs, and many have lost their lives to the virus itself.
If you’re a military Veteran and have found yourself in a precarious predicament due to the virus, please know that there are many resources available to you that come online daily. If you are a deployed Veteran and seeking assistance for your family, you can find that information in the next article.
For those military Veterans here in the thick of it all, continue reading for a list of military Veterans COVID-19 resources and assistance opportunities.
Resources and Assistance List for Military Veterans During COVID-19 Crisis
Although military Veterans have made tremendous sacrifices during their service with the military, many of them are left in need, struggling financially. There are many needs that might come up ranging from food assistance to rent, bills, student loans, emergency housing, and other expenses and experiences that might come up like job loss with the closing of businesses during this COVID-19 crisis.
Depending on where you live, there are usually options to get free food at places like food banks. As of right now, there are a lot of unknowns about when jobs will open back up if you are in an area that has closed businesses to help prevent the spread of the virus. A great way to reach people in your community who are willing to help is through social media groups like Facebook. If you join one of these groups and post what your needs are, more than likely many people will be more than willing to step up to help.
- U.S. Cares Emergency Assistance Program. This program isn’t a guarantee for financial assistance during this time but is worth reaching out to. They assist Veterans with housing, finances, and many other struggles. You have to apply for an application on their website, and if you aren’t eligible for help, they have resources and contacts that they will put you in touch with to ensure you do get the help you need.
- American Legion offers Temporary Financial Assistance. The American Legion offers grants for Veterans and their families to help assist with the cost of rent, housing, utilities, food, and other expenditures. To check if you are eligible for this program, you can contact your local American Legion headquarters.
- Community Facebook groups are a great tool for many needs. Even if you aren’t into social media, if you have a need, now might be the time to join and connect. Facebook has the option to join groups in your community. To find these groups, you can type in the search bar with your city, and then filter the search by groups. If you are feeling sick or are staying quarantined because of your own fears or pre-existing conditions that make it more dangerous for you to be out and about, post about what you need in the group. These posts can look something like this:
“My name is X. I live in X area. I’m feeling ill and am in need of groceries, but don’t want to go out of my house and possibly get other people sick. Can someone get groceries for me and drop them off at my door for me?” Something simple and honest is all you need. You can mention that you are a military Veteran if that feels authentic to you. The important thing is to listen to your body, stay isolated when necessary, and also ask for help when needed.
- Do an online search for local food banks. If funds are tight, the local food banks are always an option. If you feel comfortable going out, you can always pick up these items at their designated times yourself, or ask someone else to do it. If you’re struggling to find a local food bank, this website called Feeding America might be of assistance.
- Stay up to date, but mindfully. Staying updated on what’s happening with the virus, and the progress that is being made is important so you know what tools and resources are available to you. You can check this link to see updated information pertaining to Veterans’ benefits and news. It’s important to remember to take breaks from the news whenever possible. Consuming too much of it can lead to more anxiety, fears, and overwhelm with the constant availability of negative information.
- File for unemployment if you are able to. Filing for unemployment is an option to utilize if you qualify. The government has been working to pass a relief bill that will allow those who are self-employed or working in the gig economy to also file for unemployment, as well as increasing unemployment benefits for a few months to offer relief during the crisis. This bill would also give each eligible person a $1,200 stimulus check in the mail.
- Call 211. 211 is a great resource that can help individuals find resources in their own community. United Way can help assist you with finding food resources, resources to help pay for bills, rent, or a mortgage, and other needs you might have in your area. Not all 211 organizations can help financially, but many of them can point you in the direction of an organization that can.
We are living in very uncertain times. If you are experiencing food insecurity and are wondering how you are going to pay your rent, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the programs listed above. They will be more than willing to help try and point you in the direction of resources or provide them to you themselves.
If you have been laid off of work, file for unemployment as soon as you can. If you are worried about paying rent, contact your landlord as soon as possible. They know the situation and should be doing what they can to help you out. Many cities are trying to implement a rent and mortgage freeze for the next few months to help out with the dire economic situation, so this is also a possibility.
This is a vulnerable and trying time, financially and physically, but also mentally and emotionally. As many people are isolated to their homes, away from work, their friends, and other people, while constantly absorbing negative information, it can be a lot to take in. If you are struggling with your emotions and mental health, please reach out for help.
Veterans Resources for Mental Health and Crisis During COVID-19
If you or a Veteran you know are struggling in any way, there are many options for you to reach out to, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Crisis resources for Veterans are as follows:
- Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone at any time of day or night.
- Text a message to 838255 to connect with a VA responder.
- Start a confidential online chat session with someone who can help you at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
- Reach out to your local VA facility.
You don’t have to suffer alone. This COVID-19 crisis can feel scary and overwhelming. It’s normal to feel lonely, afraid, depressed, numb, and unmotivated. If you feel down or hopeless, please reach out to the hotline, call a friend, or video chat with a family member. There are resources available to you.
Being proactive and being willing to seek and ask for help is going to be essential during this time. People want to help in any way that they can because they are stuck at home too. They don’t know how or who to help until someone comes forward saying that they could use the assistance. We’re all in this together.
Read about 15 things you can do at home during the coronavirus pandemic.