The state of Missouri is home to over 500,000 military veterans, and around half are over the age of 65. Seniors who enlisted may be entitled to a variety of assistance with their housing costs, taxes, counseling, health care, and transportation from local St. Louis groups, as well as state and national programs. Many of these organizations will also foster connections between veterans and offer social activities, fitness opportunities, and workshops on interesting topics like financial safety. Here’s a summary of what’s available throughout the city and county in St. Louis for vets.
The St. Louis VA Health Care System provides a variety of care for area veterans including geriatric, cardiac, mental health, and more. There are two locations in the area, the John Cochran Division located at 915 North Grand Blvd. in the city and the Jefferson Barracks Division at 1 Jefferson Barracks Drive off of I-255 in the county.
The St. Louis Regional Benefits Office can assist vets and their widows with applying for benefits, filing claims, finding a home that meets their financial needs, applying to participate in the home loan program, and for assistance in an emergency situation like finding housing when faced with the prospect of homelessness.
The U.S. Veterans Initiative is a non-profit that provides help to vets who need transitional or permanent housing, job assistance, counseling, and family services, as well as offers women-specific programs for mothers.
The Missouri Veterans Commission works with area vets to assist them with accessing their benefits including employment, education, assisted living, and an honored final resting place. The Commission will help veterans prepare and submit forms, as well as answer letter requests from the VA and help with claims benefits follow-ups.
There are 3 Veterans of Foreign Wars posts in St. Louis proper, and dozens more in the surrounding municipalities like Maryland Heights, Richmond Heights, Florissant, and more. The VFW posts have service officers who are knowledgeable and able to help veterans and their surviving spouses to successfully navigate the process to apply for benefits and claims through the VA.
These officers are able to research, file, re-open and appeal claims for veterans and their widows for free. VFW posts are also local social hot spots for vets, their friends, and their families. Some will offer monthly programs like karaoke, dance lessons, happy hour specials, bbq’s, and other fun activities.
Veterans and seniors, particularly men who have served in the military, can be at an increased risk for developing depression and PTSD. Locally, the St. Louis Chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) can help. They offer support for vets and their families in the form of support groups, seminars, and other awareness gatherings. They also work with the National Suicide Prevention program to provide support locally. If you need immediate assistance, you can contact the toll-free suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Every November for the past 32 years the City of St.Louis has held the Veterans Day Parade downtown in honor of the military vets in the area. Included in the festivities are the USAF Band of Mid-America, a ceremony, and a parade featuring vets from various branches of the armed services, as well as marching bands, community groups, and local organizations. For more information on the event this year, visit the St. Louis Veterans’ Day Parade website.
For more information on the Aid & Attendance Benefit and to learn how it can help pay for assisted living, please visit VeteranAid.org.
Find assisted living in St. Louis near you.