Veterans’ benefits that aren’t from Veterans Benefits

Jonathan Kaupanger
April 16, 2018 - 11:44 am

Dreamstime

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Veterans Affairs is the obvious choice for when you’re looking for benefits and services, but you shouldn't stop there. Other Federal Agencies have their share of veteran assistance too. 

One obvious benefit would be a job at any government agency.  Look into your Veterans Preference Eligibility before you apply for anything. There are also several Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans that you should be aware of as well. There’s even one for Military Spouses and Family Members.  Because of your veteran status, you and your family members have earned this special preference.  In some cases you get these due to a service-connected disability and in others it depends on the amount of time you served and how you did it too.

For vets who are interested in a career in the energy industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) should be your first stop.  You can find many different training programs and explore the partnerships Energy has created.  There’s a 10 week long Robotics Internship Program that pays a stipend and travel. You can become a Nuclear Materials Courier if you want, and being a vet pays here because the age requirements are waived for vets with either the 5 or 10 Veterans Preference points.

The full list of DOE’s veteran training programs is here. According to DOE’s website, almost a third of all employees at the agency are veterans, so your chances of getting a job here are pretty good for veterans.

Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative at the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a way for vets and their family to keep an eye on legal issues that affect them. DOJ breaks these down into three categories of civil rights: financial/housing; employment and voting.   

Did you know that a vehicle can’t be repossessed while you’re on active duty as long as you put down a deposit and made at least one payment before joining the military?  Active duty and veteran status grants you special rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Things like mortgage and credit card interest rates, evictions and security deposits are all covered here. 

You can also learn what DOJ is doing on your behalf on this page. Who knew BMW tried to mess with 492 servicemembers?  Now, because of DOJ, BMW has to put $2 million in escrow to compensate for those violated rights. If you think your rights have been violated, you can put in a complaint here.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a Military Task Force that exists to protect military consumers.  In 2016, there were more than 100,000 consumer complaints from servicemembers and veterans. Two-thirds of these were from retirees and veterans and concerned impostor scams, identity theft and debt collection.

To help fight this FTC created this toolkit of resources for the military community.  FTC hosts workshops and other events throughout the year that focus specifically on the military and veterans communities. 

Sticking with protection, in 2016 Navy Federal Credit Union had to pay $28.5 million due to improper debt collection actions.  A car loan company that specialized in loans for servicemembers was busted for not just threatening servicemembers, but for calling their commanding officer and exaggerating the consequences. In both cases it was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to the rescue.

CFPB has a variety of resources that will help keep you out of financial trouble. According to survey data, veterans as a group tend to have a better level of financial well-being than average Americans. CFPB has an interactive tool that will help you figure out if you’re on the upper or lower side of financial security.  It’s a quick survey and with the results comes other options that will help you with building and maintaining your credit scores, how to better communicate with bill collectors and best ways to plan for home ownership.  

This isn’t a full list of non-VA veterans’ benefits, there are too many to list. The best tip is figure out which agency would run the service or benefit that you’re looking for, go to their site and just type in “veteran” to the search box.