Working with Veterans: Support
Military veterans are a growing population among undergraduate and graduate students. They are characteristically driven to succeed and accomplish the mission assigned to them, reflective of the discipline and responsibilities they experienced in service. Some of these troops developed injuries, or cognitive or sensory disabilities during their tours of duty, but this does not mean they are any less able to succeed.
Ensure that any Veteran seeking to access their benefits has a copy of their discharge paperwork (Defense Department form 214/DD-214). This serves as an account of the veteran’s service. The DD-214 can be accessed through milConnect.
Support the Veteran
Many recently-discharged veterans are unaware of or unclear on the extent of the education and medical benefits they have earned. Educators, advisers, and counselors can serve as custodians of this information and provide it to those who require it.
Education and Job Training
The GI Bill offers a number of benefits for education and job training. These can help a veteran to earn a degree, train for a specific trade or skill, and achieve other career goals.
- Educational benefits include paying for tuition and housing at higher education institutions, among other forms of assistance.
- Training benefits include funding for test fees, high-technology and non-degree programs, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, entrepreneurship support, and more. They also may cover work study and co-op training programs, as well as online classes, allowing a greater range of flexibility than many veterans may be aware of.
Specific sections of the GI Bill’s educational and training benefits that may be of interest include the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), both of which further specify the type and extent of the benefits available. There is also the Post 9/11 GI Bill for those who have served on active duty after September 10, 2001, and the Yellow Ribbon Program to further financial support for education that is not covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Assistance with Disability and Medical
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 26% of veterans have a service-connected disability. These disabilities can vary widely in type and severity, ranging from physical disabilities, to deafness / hard-of-hearing, to blindness / low vision, to mental health conditions. As with any potential employee with a disability, none of these conditions make a veteran a poor choice to hire – they simply may need an accommodation, or a little extra support. There are a number of resources to get disability assistance for veterans, such as the Blinded Veterans Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injuries Center. Additionally, there are organizations to help veterans get medical support, such as the Veterans Health Administration and Make the Connection.
As noted above, veterans can be affected by mental health conditions. The most common are depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can be difficult for people to discuss their mental health, especially veterans, as they may be accustomed to an environment where they are expected to be ‘strong’. However, it’s important to let them know that they will not be judged for their condition, and that support is available through many channels, like the Veteran’s Crisis Line, which offers 24/7 support via online chat, telephone, and text.
- How to Use Educational/Training Benefits
- Veteran Readiness & Employment
- Educational & Career Counseling
- Disabled Veterans National Foundation
- Student Veterans with Invisible Disabilities: Accommodation in Higher Education
- After Deployment (PTSD)
- My HealthE-Vet
- Veteran’s Crisis Line
Printable (PDF) Version of Tip Sheet
Developed in conjunction with Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), based at the University of Pittsburgh.