The main organization that can assist veterans all across Florida is the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The state agency provide assistance, advocacy and other support to the almost two million veterans and their families that live in the region. A wide rage of resources are offered, all with a focus on improving their quality of life. Some of the leading resources offered in Florida are below, however call for additional information or referrals.
Job training, career counseling and placement services are available at many locations, including One-Stop Career Centers. Qualified staff provide services to veterans, current and former military members and their families as well. Some examples of these services include resume assistance, interviewing, job referrals, assistance for homeless veterans and more.
Educational assistance and services are offered from the state and federal government from programs such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In addition, the state of Florida provides four-year college educational opportunities for spouses as well as dependent children of totally and permanently disabled veterans or the deceased. Some of the aid and scholarships are offered as part of programs such as the Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans and Service members. Telephone number is (888) 827-2004.
Members of the Florida National Guard have several educational programs that may assist them. These services are available at their disposal to offset the cost of the ever increasing costs of college tuition. (904) 827-8595.
Support is also offered for dependent children of service members that are Prisoners of War or Missing in Action. They may also be eligible for tuition benefits and subsidies. For more information on this resource dial (888) 827-2004.
Recipients of the Purple Heart that live in Florida can have their undergraduate-level tuition waived. This is offered at both state universities and community colleges. Additional assistance may also be offered for veterans of other combat-related decorations that may be superior in precedence to the Purple Heart. (850) 245-0407.
The state has put into place laws and regulations in which eligible Korean War, World War II and Vietnam War veterans who can be provided a State of Florida High School Diploma or GED equivalent. The phone number is (850) 245-9029.
VetNet is for those that are transitioning from military to civilian life. It is well known that this transition can provide people with unique challenges. So the state will provide them with career development, counseling, and other support at this time in their lives.
Job listings and databases are offered as part of a resource known as Employ Florida Vets. This is the states online jobs portal and it provides employment services to veterans and their immediate family members. This statewide initiative helps match service members to the training opportunities and job opportunities that suit the experience and skills that they may have gained in the military. The main number is (866) 352-2345.
Veterans will often be given preference for any job openings. The state of Florida and their various political subdivisions will give them preference in retention and employment. This can be provided to those veterans with a VA service-connected disability, those that have been honorably discharged, their spouses, or the widow or widower of a veteran who died as a result of a service-connected disability.
A number of Outreach services are administered. A wide ranging network of Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER) as well as staff from the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists provide priority workforce services to residents, eligible spouses, and also transitioning service members. The main phone number is (850) 245-7424.
A nationwide program for Florida veterans is known as VA for Vets. This was created in an effort to provide military members and veterans with various tools and resources. The assistance will help them take career assessments, translate their military skills to civilian skills, conduct job searches, build their resumes, and provide other guidance. All of these services are offered for free.
Property Tax assistance is offered to veterans and their families in the form of an exemption. Any piece of real estate that is owned and used as a primary residence by a veteran that has been honorably discharged and has been certified as having a disability can qualify. They will be exempt from real estate and property tax. There are some guidelines and the assistance goes into effect in general the year after they file.
There are a number of other conditions and qualifications. Any real estate that is used and owned as a homestead by any quadriplegic is exempt as well. Florida veterans who are hemiplegic, blind, paraplegic, or permanently and totally disabled may be exempt as well.
The bottom line is that a wide range of property tax assistance, exemptions, and other support is offered to former military members that are disabled, seniors, and that meet other conditions. It is recommended that people check with their local property appraiser more information. In order to receive some of these benefits the gross annual household income will need to be reviewed.
Home loans and mortgage assistance may be available. The main program available to Florida veterans is the G.I. Home Loan Guarantee. The federal government VA program may guarantee part of your mortgage for the purchase of a home, condominium, or mobile or manufactured home. In addition to the first time buyer, those veterans with conventional home loans now have options for refinancing to a VA guaranteed mortgage as a result of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008.
Veterans as well as their families in Florida can apply for government grants to pay their rent. There are a few resources available, with the primary assistance program being HUD VASH. The number of service members that are homeless, or on the verge of eviction as because they are in arrears on their rent, is still excessively high. In an effort to help those that are in a crisis situation, both the state of Florida as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development partner together to offer veterans rental assistance.
Assistance for the homeless is offered too. Unfortunately too many veterans are evicted, lose a job, or have a home foreclosure and end up homeless. The state of Florida, often working with local non-profits, will offer them transitional housing services and other assistance.
Funeral assistance and Burial Benefits may be offered for honorably discharged veterans, their dependents and spouses. Assistance may be provided for the burial in a National Cemetery at no cost to the family. Cremated remains are also accepted by this Florida program. In addition to that financial aid, eligible spouses and dependents may be buried if they predecease the veteran. The state of Florida also provides qualified residents with a headstone, marker or medallion for placement on a headstone. For more information on this program, dial (800) 697-6947.
Health care is provided for Florida veterans who were released from active service or discharged. In general, they will be able to enroll in the VA health care system for up to five years from the date that they left the military service. Additional medical assistance is available for veterans, including activated National Guard members and Reservists. They may be able to access free health care if they were honorably discharged.
As resources and government funding allows, the VA provides Florida residents with hospital and medical care covering a full range of services, including to their family members. Those that are eligible may receive medical treatment and care at any Outpatient Clinic/Community Based Clinic or VA Medical Center in Florida. There are a number of Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) nationwide.
There are a total of six medical centers that focus on assisting veterans in Florida. They are located at West Palm Beach, Bay Pines, Lake City, Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Gainesville. There are also a large number of Vet Centers for counseling and Outpatient Clinics for health care throughout the state.
There are a few offices for the Department in the region, as well as a main, toll free number for veterans to call. The offices are located below. Or dial the toll free number at 1-800-273-8255.
FDVA Headquarters & Executive Offices, 11351 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33778-1630, dial (727) 518-3202
Benefits and Assistance Division, 9500 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, FL 33744, telephone (727) 319-7400 / 7440
FDVA Tallahassee Office, The Capitol, 400 South Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, dial (850) 487-1533.
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