When it comes to veteran groups there are legitimate organizations, government entities, and even scams and frauds out there. Some of these groups are dedicated to a specific branch of service, others are for veterans of certain wars and conflicts, and some are all-inclusive and you only need to be a military veteran or willing to volunteer to help veterans in order to qualify.
Some veteran organizations and government entities are very well known while others are not as well recognized. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is one organization that almost every veteran and their family knows about. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is nowhere near as well known as the VA but it can also be a very useful resource for veterans from these conflicts.
There are Many Different Types of Veteran Groups Out There
There is a very wide range of veteran groups out there for current and former military service members who served and protected our country. Each group will have goals and activities that may be specific to their organization. Some engage in advocacy on behalf of veterans and their causes, some offer financial assistance for various needs, and some offer support in a number of other ways.
Who Qualifies as a Veteran? Where Do Donations Go?
Who qualifies as a veteran? Each one of the many veteran groups will have specific qualifying requirements in order to determine who qualifies as a veteran for any programs or assistance. The government statute defines a veteran as any “person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”
One big question to ask when looking at organizations and groups dedicated to veterans is where the donations go. In recent years some groups have come under fire because only a small percentage of their donations actually go towards helping or advocating for veterans. Watch out for groups with high operating expenses, overhead, and salaries.
What are You Trying to Accomplish?
Before you can determine the best veteran groups for you, evaluate what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking for assistance or are you offering to volunteer, donate, or provide assistance in some other way? What specific criteria do you have in mind? Is there a specific branch of the military that you prefer? These are all good questions to ask yourself.
Military.com offers a limited guide on how to choose the right organizations and groups for veterans. There are also other helpful articles, guides, and tip sheets all over the Internet that can be highly informative and help you decide which veteran associations, organizations, and groups to choose depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
Organizations for Disabled or Injured Veterans
Some veteran groups which offer support and assistance for injured or disabled veterans include:
- Disabled Veterans of America– The DVA has been assisting veterans since the organization was founded in 1920, and the goal is to assist veterans so that they can live a quality life of dignity and respect.
- Paralyzed Veterans of America– Founded more than 70 years ago by service members the PVA works to assist veterans who are paralyzed or who have spinal cord injuries so that they can live life as normally as possible while maintaining dignity and a sense of self-worth.
Branch and Service Specific Organizations and Groups
Some veteran groups are dedicated solely to veterans from a specific branch of the service or a specific conflict or war. These include:
Vietnam Veterans of America-This group is dedicated to veterans who served during the Vietnam War.
American Ex Prisoners of War– Started in 1942 this organization was created to send aid to captured American POWS. Today the group offers information and resources to help ex POWS and their family members.
Korean War Veterans Association– This is a group for veterans of the Korean War, providing resources for these vets.
There are many veteran groups to choose from, whether you are seeking help or you want to give something back do your due diligence and make an informed choice.
The National Veterans Foundation is dedicated to helping veterans of all eras get the information and resources they need after coming home and taking off their uniforms, to live successful lives in the civilian world. This article on veteran groups is one example of the wealth of resources that the NVF provides. To sustain this important work, we rely on the support of individuals like you, who care about our nation’s veterans. We receive no government support, and our programs are 100 percent funded by private individuals, businesses, and foundations.
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