18 Feb A to Z: 26 Issues Transitioning Veterans Face #2
While military life’s rigorous, there were the staple benefits that made it bearable. After all, no matter what happened, you knew every two weeks you were going to get, medical and dental was provided, chow or per diem (if you were married) and lodging. You didn’t have to worry about taking care of business.
Once you were discharged, some or most of the benefits were no longer available. This can be become a stressful realization for many; especially, if they have not prepared for life without Uncle Sam.
For some soldiers, paycheck-to-paycheck or promotion-to-promotion was a way of life. This was especially true as the cost of living rapidly increased. The truth is most basic necessities like food, clothing and rent are more expensive in the civilian sector.
Many who’ve never served don’t realize this is a huge issue for veterans when they return home. This is a challenge and also a burden on veterans, who became accustomed to the commissary or the Post Exchange (PX) to find basic items at reasonable prices. Therefore, this added financial stress further magnifies any other problems a veteran may face when he or she transitions back home. Uncle Sam is no longer providing for them or their families, and the lack of jobs doesn’t make it any easier.
The result is often one’s credit score taking a major hit! Once a few payments are missed, it can become extremely difficult to recover. As a result, credit is not extended when its needed most, since their score doesn’t meet the minimum criterion.
When you take the transition period, with all it throws at you (finding work, a home, paying existing bills while adding new ones for utilities, insurance, etc.) – bankruptcy may seem like the only option.
If you’re still in the military, then you need to start budgeting and saving now. Avoid putting yourself in that position. If you’re already a civilian and are finding it hard to stay above the fiscal waters, there’s still hope. Check in with your local veteran groups, like Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and others. You would be surprised at the resources available to help our heroes in need.
If you’re a civilian watching a veteran go through this era of his or her life, while it’s easy to judge from the outside, not know the circumstance which led to this situation; please show them some mercy and sacrifice. While many never made it home, in defense of our freedoms; these are the ones who did and now have to survive. Don’t just say “Thank you for your service!” Please show your thanks with your actual support.