On Veteran's Day, all of us vets are going to be inundated with thank yous and the like, but if you've worn the uniform you know being a vet isn't something that happens one day a year. It's with you for life.
We're lucky to live in a country that cares for its veterans. We can all level criticism at the VA, but it is getting better and there are plenty of good-hearted people willing to pick up the slack by offering their time, patience, and expertise.
I've written previously about job training and mobile applications that are just for veterans, and today I want to cover online resources. These five websites offer a lot for veterans of the US armed forces: Whether you need job training, a home loan, emergency help, or info on how to use your well-earned benefits, it's all right here.
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This one-stop shop for all things military related delivers news, has information on benefits, maintains its own veterans job board, and features tons of other resources to make life as a veteran just a little bit easier.
If you're looking for a web portal to be your connection to military life Military.com is it. There isn't a whole lot it doesn't have, though other sites listed here do have a narrower focus that makes them more useful in certain circumstances.
Are you the kind of veteran who still sees military in everything you do? Just set Military.com as your homepage to stay completely connected.
The VA: Love it or hate it it's probably a part of your life now, and presumably for the rest of it as well. If you've been frustrated by the outdated, unfriendly, and downright labyrinthian layout of the VA's website you aren't alone.
The VA has been trying hard to reinvent itself, and its new va.gov website is the face of that reinvention. You may have heard of the now defunct vets.gov, which was the VA's first attempt at introducing a new, veteran-friendly website to its online arsenal. It has since merged vets.gov with va.gov, so you won't have to worry about a bunch of redirects tossing you between websites.
The new va.gov is built not with administrators, vendors, and organizational partners in mind, but with the veterans it serves front and center. You can find all sorts of resources right on the VA homepage—medical information, education benefits, disability, and military records are all right where you need them.
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Veterans Crisis Line
Operated by the VA, the Veterans Crisis Line is there to help those who need it the most. Those needing emergency help with PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other life crises can call 1-800-273-8255 (option 1), text 838255, or chat online through the site.
The Veterans Crisis Line also contains a number of resources for self-treatment and information on how to recognize the signs of a crisis in loved ones. It's an excellent resource for those suffering and those who care for them.
I'm guessing there are very few veterans who haven't heard of USAA. If you're one of them you're really missing out: USAA is an insurance, home loan, banking, investing, and life planning powerhouse. Their services are only open to veterans and their immediate families, and the rates are exceptionally good.
If you haven't at least looked into USAA's offerings you need to do so: It could change your entire financial situation for the better!
Hire Heroes USA
Looking for a job or job training? Hire Heroes USA is the site for you. The site offers a wide variety of training resources, job postings, and everything else vets need to find a new career after leaving the service of their country.
No veteran should go without work after ETS, and Hire Heroes USA wants to make sure that happens. Check them out if you find yourself lost on the path to a rewarding career.
SEE: Veterans in the workplace: What employers and vets need to know (TechRepublic)
Bonus: Veteran's Day 2018 freebies
Businesses around the country fall over themselves to give benefits to vets on Veteran's Day, so take advantage of them. Here's a list of some of the best offers. Lots of local businesses offer freebies too, which you can find sorted by state here.
From one vet to another, thanks for getting my six.
- The internet of military things: Logistics dream, security nightmare? (ZDNet)
- How Google is connecting veterans to civilian jobs (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: 7 mobile apps designed to help veterans (TechRepublic)
- How America's veterans can help fill the tech skills gap (TechRepublic)
- The five military OPSEC steps that businesses can learn from (TechRepublic)
- 10 pieces of military technology that changed the way the civilian world works (TechRepublic)
- Photos: How tech helps injured veterans gain independence (CNET)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.