Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1 million military vets, and nearly 70,000 of them live in the Philadelphia area. Adults over the age of 65 who served may be eligible for assistance from local, state, and national programs that cover things like housing, tax benefits, counseling, and health care. Programs in the area offer socialization for vets and activities that promote community, fitness, and education through workshops on important topics like financial safety. Here we review some of the best resources available in Philadelphia for veterans and how to access them.
The Philadelphia VA Medical Center is the care provider for veterans in the area, offering access to doctors and specialists who see patients for their general, geriatric, cardiac, and mental health needs. The facility is located at 3900 Woodland Avenue and serves residents in Philadelphia as well as the six surrounding counties.
The Philadelphia Regional Benefits Office is a resource available to veterans and their surviving spouses to assist with obtaining benefits, claims, finding housing, discovering the details of the home loan program, and offering help during crisis situations like impending homelessness.
The Veterans Multi-Service Center and the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network are two additional community-based non-profit organization who work with veterans to help find housing and jobs, as well as provide counseling, family services, and programs specific to female veterans.
The Pennsylvania State Veterans Commission is the state entity responsible for advocating for veterans in state legislation. The commission is comprised of members of the major veterans organizations throughout the state, like the VFW, the American Legion, and others. Locally, the Veterans Advisory Commission of Philadelphia can help vets access the full spectrum of their benefits including education, employment, and housing options. The local commission also provides help with communication with the VA, such as form preparation and submission and assistance checking a claim status.
There are 35 different Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in the city of Philadelphia, and twice that many within a 20-mile radius. The VFW is known for having on-site service officers who are able to assist veterans and widowed spouses with benefits applications and resolving claims with the VA. Their training includes the ability to advocate on behalf of veterans and surviving spouses and they are able to provide free assistance with filing, researching, and appealing claims.
VFW posts work to engage vets with other vets, friends, and family members in the community through weekly and monthly programs. Posts offer a variety of activities like game nights, karaoke, and picnics.
Anyone can suffer from depression or PTSD, but the conditions are very common in senior men who have a military service background. The Philadelphia chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill provides assistance and counseling, including suicide prevention programs, to vets in the area. If you have an urgent need to speak with someone, call the toll-free suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to speak with a caring person who can help.
In 2015, the city of Philadelphia held their first annual Veterans Day Parade to honor vets in the area. The parade is expected to occur annually on the holiday and feature numerous organizations marching for the event, including veterans from the military branches, community organizations, high school marching bands, youth groups, and more. For the details on the event this year, or to apply to be a part of it, visit the website.
For more information on the Aid & Attendance Benefit and to learn how it can help pay for assisted living, please visit VeteranAid.org.
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