If you or a loved one have served time in the military and returned home with a disability, there are specialized resources out there, working for you. The challenge can be finding them, as most military personnel on the home-front are overrun with paperwork and cases, and don’t always have all the resources themselves available.

We’re here to help where others may be too overwhelmed to try.

We’ve created a list of the absolute best resources for disabled American veterans, ranging from financial help to companion dog services. You gave up so much for us, and we want to give back to you in any way that we can.

What Is a Disability?

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A disability is an impairment of any of the following capabilities a person has:

  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Intellectual
  • Physical
  • Sensory
  • Mental

After veterans have served their country in times and places of war, they may return with any of these types of disabilities. These may be things like a lost limb, PTSD, head injury, or spinal injuries, as well as a host of others.

What is PTSD?

PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. Anyone who has suffered either on-going or single event trauma may have PTSD.

Someone who grew up in an abusive home, for example, has suffered on-going trauma, or repeated trauma, and may be diagnosed with something called complex PTSD.

A soldier who experienced a single incident of trauma may have acute PTSD, uncomplicated PTSD, or complex PTSD, depending on how severe the trauma incident was.

What Kinds of Resources Are There?

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There are a number of services you can avail of, such as therapy, or service pets, to mentoring, outdoors trips, financial services, financial aid for education programs, therapy, health benefits, and more.

We’ve collected together the best of the best here.

Physical Health, Therapy, and Mental Health Services

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One of the most critical and obvious areas that disabled American veterans need assistance with is anything in the medical and mental health arena.

Whether the vet needs counseling and treatment for PTSD, surgery for injuries, medications, grief counseling, or transitional counseling after injury, these resources are absolutely mandatory for the healing and health of veterans and their families after the tragedies of war.


Resource 1: Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors

While this isn’t specifically a program for veterans, this organization has more experience dealing with the trauma and horrors of the aftermath of war than just about anyone else.

The organization was founded in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll after her husband and several others were killed in a plane crash.

They provide 24-hour support, seven days a week, by giving peer-based emotional support to anyone who has survived tragedy, including the families of veterans or deceased soldiers, military personnel who witnessed and lost fellow military personnel, the casualty notification officers, and VA caregivers.

This organization deals specifically with casework assistance, peer-support, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources. They host National Military Survivors Seminars and Good Grief Camps throughout the country for those dealing with the losses.


Resource 2: Hope for the Warriors

Founded in 2006 by military wives who witnessed the effects of war first-hand on their spouses as they returned from their tour of duty, the group’s goal is to enhance the quality of life for service members and post-9/11 survivors. The psychological and physical damage requires a number of resources offered through the group:

  • Health and wellness counseling
  • Community building initiatives
  • Career transition and education programs

Resource 3: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

This organization serves about 2.4 million veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq when they return home from combat. From day one of returning home until the end of their lives, this group provides veterans with health, employment, and educational support.

They also help to encourage veterans to connect with others in their own area.


Resource 4: Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust

This trust supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for ill, injured, and wounded veterans. They provide everything from post-service mental health services to driver’s rehabilitation for vets with traumatic brain injuries.

The trust also helps fund programs that give food, shelter, and other necessities to homeless or at-risk veterans and their families.

Charities that Benefit Disabled American Veterans

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There are many charities that aim to help wounded and disabled veterans and their families. Most of these organizations are funded through donors and individual gifts from people who yearn for the healing and health and veterans and their families.


Resource 1: The Wounded Warrior Project

John Melia founded the Wounded Warriors Project in 2003.  During an interview with CNN, Mr. Melia stated that he knew medical and mental health care for many wounded and disabled veterans isn’t full enough coverage, and this is why he started the Wounded Warrior Project or WWP.

The Wounded Warrior Project offers a variety of services including:

One of the most unique programs through the WWP is the amputee football team. This team brings together talented football stars with veterans who have been disabled through service to their country or post service.

The amputee football team has played against Vikings legends, including quarterback Todd Bouman, running back Robert Smith, and quarterback Rich Gannon.

The game proceeds go to further support the team, as well as the Service Dog Network for Veterans, Sierra Delta, and other charities that support veterans and their families.


Resource 2: Adaptive Sports Foundation

This charity isn’t strictly for wounded and disabled veterans, but rather they work with anyone with developmental and physical disabilities, as young as five years old.

They have a specific program for wounded veterans, however, called the Warriors in Motion program. This group works in conjunction with the Wounded Warriors Project.

The Adaptive Sports Foundation hosts sports weekends, spa retreats, ski weekends, paddling, Tough Mudder events, golf, and cycling for disabled veterans. They even have a 12-week residential competition for Paralympic-eligible athletes.


Resource 3: Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society

Another legitimate charity that helps our military is the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. This organization helps corps personnel, veterans, and the families.

They offer loans, counseling, financial assistance, budgeting workshops for families expecting babies, emergency travel assistance, education assistance, health education, disaster relief, and post-combat support.


Resource 4: AMVETS National Service Foundation

This organization has been around since 1948, with the sole purpose of helping vets re-acclimate to civilian life and receive the benefits that they deserve. They help vets sift through paperwork and bureaucracy to get the benefits they need for themselves and their families.

They also run thrift stores, offer scholarships for vets seeking education, and work in VA hospitals and health care facilities. 

All of this is done at no cost to veterans.


Resource 5: Wounded Warrior Family Support

Separate from the better-known Wounded Warrior Project, the Wounded Warrior Family Support charity lends assistance to the families and caretakers of wounded veterans.

The WWFS offers things like family retreats and times of respite for caregivers, but they also offer welding programs for vets to learn skills to use with the United Auto Workers Union and Ford. They also help caregivers with respite programs and supplemental services.

Service and Companion Animals for Veterans

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In the physical and mental health and therapy services realm, there are multiple types of resources. One of the major segments is the therapy and service dog category.

Service dogs for three types of disabilities are recognized by the VA:

  • Blind and vision-impaired guide dogs
  • Service dogs
  • Emotional support dogs

Guide dogs are trained to direct a veteran or other person with a vision impairment.

Service dogs are trained to do things for those with physical disabilities, who cannot do things like open doors, pulling a wheelchair, alerting someone who is deaf, or protecting someone who is having a seizure.

Emotional support dogs, or therapy dogs, function as companions. For those who suffer from PTSD, these dogs may specifically be referred to as PTSD service dogs.

Both guide dogs and service dogs must go through a nationally certified program to be approved by the VA. Therapy dogs go through training as well, but companion dogs do not necessarily.

There are dozens of organizations that assist veterans in finding companion and service dogs. There’s usually a moderate application process, but they are well worth the effort.


Resource 1: Patriot Paws

The dogs at Patriot Paws are trained through certified programs for both service dog and therapy dog roles. These pups help those with mobility issues, or those suffering from PTSD.

Patriot Paws is able to train about 25 dogs on-site, and another 35 dogs off-site per year. They usually place about 10-15 dogs with veterans each year.


Resource 2: This Able Veteran PTSD Dogs

Studies have shown that appropriately trained PTSD therapy dogs can help veterans with many of the symptoms of the disorder. This organization seeks to place these dogs with veterans who would benefit from such companionship and assistance.

Veterans are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the general public, but PTSD dogs can help to lower these numbers through their companionship and assistance.


Resource 3: Puppies Behind Bars

This amazing program helps not only veterans, but also those serving time behind bars. Inmates are trained to raise service dogs for wounded war veterans. This brings value to both lives and helps inmates contribute to society. Inmates are carefully selected for the program, assessed by who would benefit from it, and most potentially benefit the dogs and service as well.

We’ve experienced this program firsthand in Florida, in a women’s prison. The inmates were changed by the program, and the dogs were well-cared for, raised and trained to be assistance dogs who are loved and benefited by their presence.


Resource 4: Pets for Vets

We first heard about this program on the radio when a local station ran a contest to help raise awareness and assistance for this awesome organization. This amazing service helps to pair veterans who need a companion with a dog who needs a home. 

The dogs through Pets for Vets are companion animals, not service or guide dogs.


Additional Service and Companion Animal Programs

Separate from the better-known Wounded Warrior Project, the Wounded Warrior Family Support charity lends assistance to the families and caretakers of wounded veterans.

The WWFS offers things like family retreats and times of respite for caregivers, but they also offer welding programs for vets to learn skills to use with the United Auto Workers Union and Ford. They also help caregivers with respite programs and supplemental services.

  • Southeastern Guide Dogs
  • K9’s For Warriors
  • Service Dog Project
  • VA Department Service Dogs
  • National Education for Assistance Dog Services
  • Operation Freedom Paws

Employment, Housing, and Financial Resources

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Reintegrating into the workforce, finding acceptable housing, and having enough money to just pay the bills are challenges veterans face on a daily basis, especially those with disabilities that prevent them from finding a standard job. These organizations help veterans and their families in these areas.


Resource 1: Internal Revenue Services Veteran Employment Program

Interestingly enough, our own dreaded I.R.S. has reserved positions for veterans with disabilities. These positions involve both unpaid internship and work experience programs, and paid work programs. Be sure to distinguish before the two before applying if you’re seeking an income.


Resource 2: Hire Heroes USA

Hire Heroes USA helps active military, veterans, and their spouses to get jobs. They provide training for resume building, self-marketing, and interviewing skills. They assign ex-military staff to work with each veteran for the whole process.

Hire Heroes USA connects veterans with companies who hire vets. They also maintain a job board, run workshops, and hold one-on-one sessions.

The entire goal of this charity is to get jobs for veterans.


Resource 3: Operation Homefront

When veterans return from war, they’re not the same. Many come back with visible injuries, like missing limbs or shrapnel wounds, but some return with emotional health issues as well.

Operation Homefront helps disabled veterans and their families, as well as the families of soldiers who never return home, with auto and home repair, food assistance, vision care, moving assistance, transportation, home goods, and financial assistance.

Operation Homefront also sets up support groups for the family members who care for disabled veterans, whether physically injured or suffering from emotional and mental trauma like PTSD.

This is one of the best organizations for emergency funds, transportation, and transitional housing.


Resource 4: The Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House Foundation provides housing for the families of injured military personnel near military medical centers where their loved ones are being treated. The Fisher House has 65 or more houses on 24 military installments and 24 VA facilities across the country.

They serve about 10,000 families per year with homes and hotel rooms, both through their facilities and through the donations of airline points, rewards points, and scholarships for veterans’ family members.


Resource 5: Thanks USA

Started in 2006 by sisters Kelsi and Rachel Okun, Thanks USA helps to distribute needed resources to veterans for technical, vocational, and college education. They also offer scholarships for the children and spouses of active duty USA military personnel. They’ve awarded over 3,500 scholarships, totaling nearly $10 million.


Resource 6: Homes for Our Troops

Homes for Our Troops builds mortgage-free homes that are specially adapted for amputees and veterans with traumatic brain injuries. They also adapt existing homes for accessibility. Their primary focus is helping those with severe injuries and disabilities who will otherwise have difficulty finding homes that work with their new challenges.

Legal Resources

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations and groups that help disabled veterans and their families. Whether you need medical assistance, a service dog, legal aid, or housing help, these groups are here to help.

Don’t be afraid to call any group and ask for their exact services, and let them know the areas you need assistance in. You deserve the absolute best care and assistance our country can offer you.

Get the Help You Need

Veterans often have need of legal services, but cannot afford an attorney. These organizations and groups help pair veterans with legal aid.

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