In response to a need for more easily accessible and organized information on governmental benefits available to veterans and their families, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), in collaboration with Griffin-Hammis Associates LLC, has released the publication “Navigating Government Benefits & Employment: A Guidebook for Veterans with Disabilities.”
The four-part guide details monetary, health care and employment services and support benefits, and helps outline the interaction between government benefits and employment or self-employment. The goal is to provide veterans and their families enough information to understand how work income can affect benefits. It provides tools so they can stay financially secure while remaining eligible for supports and services, and assists in transitioning away from supports when appropriate, in a planned process.
The guidebook focuses primarily on benefit programs that are the most frequently accessed by veterans and their families, such as those issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Defense (DoD) and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).
“The guidebook explains how benefits can support employment and provide resources to pursue self-employment, and assists in planning benefit usage,” says James Schmeling, IVMF managing director and co-founder. “Working with both veterans and those who serve them, it became clear that there was a need for clarity on benefits available to veterans, and particularly service-disabled veterans. Too many people are unaware of the benefits available to veterans and their families, and for those who are aware, there are too many myths about benefits and work. The guide helps plan interactions between employment, self-employment and benefits.”
“The promise we as a country make to veterans with disabilities must include the opportunity to make a living. Despite the folklore surrounding loss of benefits, many protections and options exist,” says Cary Griffin, senior partner, Griffin-Hammis Associates. “While government benefits programs can be confusing, this manual concisely illustrates the key decision points one faces when returning to work or starting a business. After all, there is no government program as powerful as having meaningful work.”
To download a copy of the guidebook, visit vets.syr.edu/pdfs/benefits-guidebook.pdf. A print publication is forthcoming.