For those in the military, sacrifice is part of their lifestyle. They offer everything in service to the rest of us, and sometimes it’s tough to know how to show gratitude for such a tremendous gift. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some ideas for civilians who want to give something notable back to veterans, service members, and their families.
Do Some Surfing
For many senior military veterans, the internet is unfriendly territory. Yet, much of our lives is now dependent on the internet. For example, we all know how complicated health care can be these days, and health benefits for veterans is no different. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers online enrollment, but for those who didn’t grow up with computers, this can be an especially challenging obstacle. Why not check in with an older vet you know, and offer to lend a hand?
Along those same lines, CNBC explains many veterans don’t realize they can use both VA and Medicare health benefits. Let them know they qualify, and by enrolling in both, they expand their medical options. They can enroll in Medicare the year they turn 65. The two programs can supplement one another, and on top of that, veterans can use programs like Medigap to take care of some remaining out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by Medicare Parts A and B.
Medigap can be confusing for seniors in and of itself. You’ll want to help by comparing plans. For example, plans F and G provide the broadest range of benefits, assisting with things like the Medicare Part B deductible and Part B excess charges.
Health care is complex, and while there is a lot to sort out, it can be especially difficult for older veterans. They are sure to appreciate your help!
Placements and Positions
Once out of the military, many younger veterans struggle adjusting to the civilian working world. The employment application and interview process is very different from how things work in the military, and there is a big learning curve.
As Fast Company explains, however, these veterans offer employers particularly valuable benefits. They understand leadership and teamwork, can follow guidelines, and work well under pressure. On top of a fine employee, businesses can receive tax incentives for hiring military veterans.
You might be surprised to learn that veterans aren’t the only ones who are challenged by finding work. Military spouses struggle routinely with unemployment, even though they are often highly trained and well-educated. Because of frequent relocations, they tend to follow a pattern of searching for work, being hired, training, and then moving again, which creates a choppy work history employers find off-putting.
If you or someone you know is in a position to employ others, consider giving a veteran or military spouse a chance. It’s a rare opportunity in which everybody wins.
Small Gestures, Big Impact
Military family members suffer with more than just unemployment. Loneliness is another grave concern. Routine uprootings make it hard to feel a part of things, and the stress of wondering how your loved one fares can be a tremendous burden. On top of that, she or he carries the entirety of the daily responsibilities much of the time. Even in a happy marriage, and with financial stability, the isolation of the lifestyle can leave spouses feeling stressed, anxious, hopeless, and alone.
If there is someone you know who is a military spouse, why not make a small gesture to help her feel less alone? Dropping by with some muffins or going for a walk can make a world of difference. Sometimes a listening ear and knowing someone cares can mean everything. If organizational actions are more your style, offer to lend a hand with something. Arrange a mom's-day-out event, or offer to set up a babysitting exchange. Think about what might fit the situation, and be a help.
When someone offers their life for your freedom, it can feel like there is nothing you can do to show appropriate gratitude. Yet, veterans, service members, and their families could use your help. Consider assisting with online health care enrollment, employment, or just being a friend. Your service will be much appreciated.