After bravely serving their countries and sustaining injuries fighting for justice, veterans deserve to spend healthy and successful lives as they depart from the military. Sadly, however, transitioning back into a civilian lifestyle can be difficult for most veterans. Data shows that one-half of veterans face some serious challenges when transitioning out of the military community.
This blog will discuss some of these lifestyle challenges and navigate the complexities of reintegration. We have to address the multi-layered issues facing former soldiers as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. A veteran’s post-military career faces these hurdles.
- Physical disabilities
Physical disabilities during their service for the country dominate the list of the lifestyle challenges the veteran community faces today. It’s estimated that around one-third of all veterans are disabled. Some common disabilities include burns, PTSD, hearing loss, and missing limbs. Grappling with such physical injuries can impact a veteran’s daily life, mobility, and productivity. Even disabled veterans with jobs have a hard time making ends meet due to poor wages and the rising inflation in the country.
Moreover, 64% of disabled veterans faced financial hardships at some point last year.
- Difficulty accessing VA benefits
Many veterans today are not affiliated with the Veteran Affairs Department, and others can have a hard time navigating the complexities of VA benefits programs. Veterans have trouble applying for VA benefits through proper channels without proper guidance, and long wait lines discourage them even further.
Many Navy veterans were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma decades after they left the armed forces. If you are one of those military members, you can receive VA disability compensation. Contact the Mesothelioma Veterans Center to get access to these benefits. That’s how you can afford your treatment and improve your quality of life while suffering from mesothelioma.
Many army veterans find themselves jobless after getting discharged from military service. Translating their military background into work experience becomes a dilemma for former soldiers. They usually have to go through civilian education to become more employable, an added burden on those former service members who are already financially struggling.
Similarly, many veterans work beneath their expertise and experience, described as “underemployed.” Veterans are 37% more likely to be underemployed than civilians, so they make less money and then have to get a second low-wage job.
- Feeling isolated
The feelings of isolation can prevent veterans from transitioning successfully to civilian life. A veteran’s unique military experiences may be difficult for others to understand, leading to isolation and alienation from civilians. Moreover, the bonds formed during military service are often strong and built on shared experiences. After leaving the service, however, veterans may find it hard to find someone with whom they can connect on the same level, leading to disappointment with civilian life.
Communication barriers contribute to the sense of being misunderstood. Similarly, many stereotypes about veterans prevent their successful integration back into society.
- Missing their comrades
After spending years or even decades serving in the military, transitioning into a boring civilian life can be quite bothersome for veterans. Many former soldiers experience disconnection and miss the camaraderie they had back in the army. It’s akin to losing your sense of purpose and suffering from an identity crisis. And this sensation of purposelessness takes a toll on their quality of life.
Joining veteran support groups and reconnecting with fellow former service members can resolve this problem. It can help veterans cope with the changes and embrace their new civilian life.
- Mental health problems
Military deployment can take a heavy toll on one’s mental well-being. The horrifying events witnessed during their service can continue to haunt soldiers even after leaving the army. Some of the most common and talked-about mental health problems among ex-service members include PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Reconnecting with their families
Many veterans find it difficult to reconnect with their families after spending a long time away. As they are accustomed to living in an overwhelming work environment where survival is their priority, and people rarely have time to open up emotionally, veterans find family reunions difficult to manage. They may feel estranged from their loved ones and struggle to express their feelings.
On the other hand, their family members may be confused about how to approach an ex-soldier the right way. The lack of emotional connection can alienate veterans from their family members. It can take them some time to comfortably discuss their military experiences with their family members.
A combination of some or many of the factors mentioned above results in homelessness among veterans. Poverty, overcrowded housing programs, and a lack of support systems also contribute to this problem, where former service members are forced to live on the streets. What’s even sadder is that veterans in the United States are 50% more likely to become homeless than civilians.
- Education and skill development
Lots of former soldiers lack the transferable skills needed to get decent employment after leaving the army. In normal circumstances, candidates will fill the gaps in their education by reskilling or upskilling themselves. However, skill development remains a huge problem for U.S. Army veterans.
In 2018, only 1 out of 10 small businesses intentionally recruited a veteran as their employee. That’s because many small business owners think veterans lack the skills they need in the workplace. The lack of proper skill development and career training is blamed for this problem. Army veterans need to learn how to translate their military skills into an easily digestible resume in this economy.
This blog discusses veterans’ common lifestyle challenges, shedding light on the mental, physical, and financial aspects of their reintegration into civilian life. From coping with disabilities and the memories of the battlefield to navigating the job market and reconnecting with their families – these lifestyle issues demand our attention. But veterans can overcome these problems by leveraging the right resources.
Working with skilled lawyers can help veterans get their VA benefits and transition back into society.