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Veterans: Use your benefits
As a US Army veteran, I’m proud of the time I served. I’m also glad that I can take advantage of some of the wonderful programs that are available to veterans. I used the GI Bill to help me get through college; I get my healthcare from the Veteran’s Administration; and I’m planning on buying a house using a VA-backed home loan.
I count myself among the lucky veterans that left service without any serious physical or mental harm. For those that weren’t so fortunate, taking advantage of the services offered to veterans can be difficult.
That’s why I put together this list of apps that are great for veterans. Whether you need emergency help, need to determine what level of service connected disability payment you’re eligible for, or simply want to network with vets, there are great apps available.
The VA App Store
If you’ve tried searching iTunes or the Play store for VA apps, you may have been disappointed at what you found. There are native iOS and Android apps that the VA made, but they’re nowhere near as robust as what’s available on the VA App Store.
VA App Store on mobile
This mobile site runs “apps” that are formatted for mobile users but available on all platforms. You can sort by type of app and platform, as well as being able to manually search for what you want.
The one drawback of the VA App Store platform is that it’s a bit confusing, especially if you’re not a tech-savvy vet. Most of the things you can do on the App Store are available on My HealtheVet or native mobile apps, which might be easier if you don’t feel like learning a new system.
Rallypoint is a social network for veterans and active service members. It has robust features that feel a lot like LinkedIn. You can connect with people based on rank, branch, and MOS, and it will also import contacts from your various email and social media accounts. There’s also a great job search feature for both military postings and civilian jobs–great for both the ETSing soldier and those looking to PCS to greener pastures.
Around 13% of vets end up abusing alcohol or drugs. That might not seem like a lot, but think about your last squad: At least one person in that lineup will, statistically, end up with a problem.
VetChange is an app released by the VA that is designed to fight alcohol abuse and aid in recovery. A few quick questions when the app is first installed will help you establish a plan to reduce or eliminate drinking, and a daily log will help you keep track of your goals.
There’s also some quick-hit buttons to help you manage cravings and moods that can push you to drink. The app is free on iOS, but isn’t available for Android.
StayQuit is similar to VetChange, but for kicking your smoking habit. It can give you reminders, help you see the benefits of quitting day by day, allows you to set custom motivators, and can instantly connect you to support when cravings get rough.
If you’re in need of a smoking cessation coach in your pocket, this app could help. Check it out on iOS.
Most cell phones allow you to have a list of “favorite contacts” that are easily accessible. Think of My3 as a list like that, but for people you trust to help you if you’re contemplating suicide. You can add three people to the list that you can reach out to immediately during a crisis.
Safety plans save lives for those at risk
You can also program the app with a safety plan that helps you when you need it most.You can email the plan to people so they’re able to know exactly when you need help, too. When things get that bad you need to be surrounded by people that care.
What are your favorite apps for veterans?
tOkay, fellow vets and active troops–are there any apps out there you’ve found useful? Sound off in the comments to give your battle buddies some tips.
- Military community app Sandboxx helps connect soldiers with their families by modernizing snail mail (Download.com)
- The internet of military things: Logistics dream, security nightmare? (ZDNet)
- 5 online resources every military veteran should know (TechRepublic)
- How Google is connecting veterans to civilian jobs (TechRepublic)
- How America’s veterans can help fill the tech skills gap (TechRepublic)
- Veterans in the workplace: What employers and vets need to know (TechRepublic)
- 10 pieces of military technology that changed the way the civilian world works (TechRepublic)
- Photos: How tech helps injured veterans gain independence (CNET)