There are thousands of individuals actively serving or have served in the United State’s military living today. Military members face unique financial challenges civilians do not have to face, such as relocation, active deployment, and the threat of disability or mental illness like PTSD. Due to the current economic uncertainty, there is no doubt many families are struggling with financial hardships right now. Fortunately, there are an abundance of debt relief programs and financial resources available for those who decided to make the brace sacrifice and serve. In this article, we discuss some of the financial tools and resources available that provide debt relief for veterans.
Military Debt Consolidation Loan
One of the more common relief options available for military service members is the Military Debt Consolidation Loan (MDCL), which is much easier to qualify for than other debt consolidation loan options. Likewise, depending on the bank or financial institution you use, there are several distinct advantages of the MDCL over other loan options. These include:
- Longer Repayment Terms
- Lower Credit Score Requirements
- Lower Debt-to-Income Requirements
- Receive Up to 100% Loan-to-Value
- Residual Income can Lower Rates
- Zero Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums or Prepayment Penalties
The MDCL can combine all of your debts into one loan option. Once you receive the loan, it immediately pays off all of your existing debts. Then, all you have to worry about is making the monthly payments on the MDCL. You can use the MDCL for both secured and unsecured debts. Some examples include unpaid credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, etc. Some members use the MDCL to reduce their interest rates or help keep track of their bills. Ultimately, this loan helps you become more organized with your debt.
Other Military Consolidation Options
If you do not own a home and otherwise do not qualify for the MDCL or other debt consolidation loan options, you may want to consider debt settlement as another viable choice for debt relief. In a debt settlement case, debtors can negotiate with banks or lenders to reduce the total debt they owe. Debtors can use debt settlement for any type of debt, even those who owe money to the VA. Likewise, they can negotiate privately held loans, such as credit card debt as well. You can even use veteran-specific credit cards for the debt settlement. These credit cards include:
- Chase Military Credit Cards
- Navy Federal Credit Union Credit Cards
- Army Federal Credit Union Credit Cards
- Air Force Federal Union Credit Cards
- Visa Veteran Tickets Credit Cards
Another consolidation option available is refinancing your credit card debt. However, this option is only available whenever your debts are solely confined to your credit cards. You can use this option to transfer your balance to another credit card. Some banks and lenders even offer credit cards with 0% interest for 18 months. There is a transfer fee you have to consider, which generally ranges from 3%-5%. However, if you pay your balance in the preliminary time period, you can come out way ahead with your debt consolidation.
One other debt consolidation option available is seeing if you qualify for a debt management program. These programs have counselors who can assess your current financial standing and determine the best course of action on tackling your debts. Not to mention, additional debt settlement services are available where your advisor can negotiate with creditors to reduce your overall debt burden. They could even reduce your interest rates and monthly payments, without the need for an additional loan.
Veteran Relief Grants
Veterans with financial struggles following an active tour of duty have access to multiple useful veteran debt relief grants. For instance, USA Cares has allocated over $10 million in grants to military members struggling with PTSD, unemployment, and those facing foreclosure. These grants have helped 100,000 veterans and their families keep their homes and provided necessary financial assistance for medical support.
There are other organizations available that provide financial relief grants to veterans, such as the Coalition to Support American Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project. Both organizations provide funding for basic necessities, such as food and water. They can also assist with mortgage, auto, or utility payments. It is important to note that not every service member qualifies for relief grants, and these organizations only give them to veterans whenever most other options have already been exhausted.
Veterans can use crowdfunding as a means to finance their debt if they have trouble securing other debt-relief options listed above. Thanks to the rise in popularity of online crowdfunding platforms, you can design your own crowdfunding campaign that describes your specific financial needs and how charitable support will help.
Fortunately, many donors on crowdfunding sites are sympathetic to our military service members. If you are a service member who takes the time to set up a crowdfunding campaign that describes your current hardships and how assistance will help, there is a good chance you can reach most, if not your entire, financial goal. Some of the more popular crowdsourcing websites include Indiegogo and GoFundMe.
Veteran Job Sites
After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, military unemployment rose to nearly 12%, which was a full two points higher than the peak of the Great Recession in 2008. While current veteran unemployment may be high, there are many existing websites and online job boards available to help connect unemployed veterans with employers looking for individuals with similar skillsets and expertise.
Some online platforms include Military.com, which caters specifically to veterans transitioning into the civil workforce and looking for potential new career prospects. Likewise, USA Jobs has a section devoted directly to veterans. And there is also Recruitmilitary.com that connects service members with employers looking for military talent. Another helpful tip for seeking employment is setting up a profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional business social network, and countless recruiters and organizations look for individuals with military experience on the site every day.
COVID-19 Assistance for Veterans
The COVID-19 pandemic surely put additional financial constraints on many already struggling veterans. Fortunately, there is a wide array of programs available specifically designed to help veterans navigate through this financially unpredictable period. The Wounded Warrior Project has a COVID-19 Relief Program that pledges to give $10 million to veterans who have lost their income due to the pandemic.
Likewise, the PenFed Foundation has a COVID-19 Relief Program where veterans can receive grants worth up to $1,500 if there currently face financial hardships from the pandemic. Lastly, if you are a disabled veteran in need of some additional assistance, Disabled Veterans has a COVID-19 Economic Relief Program you could apply.
How Debt Blue Can Help Provide Debt Relief for Veterans
At Debt Blue, we understand there is a lot of financial uncertainty right now, and there are a lot of people in need of assistance. Our company is backed by over 20 years of experience, and we are fully committed to helping veterans and their families get back on their feet. We can assist you in solving your credit card debt and even provide consultation to see if a debt settlement program is right for you. If you would like to learn more about Debt Blue, our services, and how we can provide debt relief for veterans, visit our website to learn more.