Veterans of Foreign Wars

Veterans of Foreign Wars

Founded back in 1899, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a not-for-profit veteran service organization that aims to help veterans and service members navigate their military benefits and get the respect they deserve.

Who are Veterans of Foreign Wars? 

With a mission to build mutual trust and foster companionship among veterans of overseas conflicts, the VFW came into existence in 1899 when veterans of the Philippine Insurrection and the Spanish-American War came together and founded a local organization to help service members receive the benefits they deserve.

When the veterans came home from war, wounded and sick, they were left to take care of themselves because they did not receive the benefits for which they were eligible. To help the returning troops, some veterans came together and formed their own association. The moment gained momentum in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Colorado. However, it eventually spread throughout the country and came to be known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

Today, VFW has more than 1.5 million members. It also played an essential role in the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the development of national cemeteries. The organization also helped veterans who were diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome and exposed to Agent Orange. The organization also claimed victory when the VA passed the Post 9/11 GI Bill in 2008.

The VFW has taken part in several programs and services that were initiated to help veterans, active military members, reservists and family members receive military benefits. While claiming “No one does more for our veterans,” the VFW offers a couple of programs that provide assistance to service members and their families.

VFW Assistance Programs

To help service members of every generation, the VFW offers several assistance programs providing free, professional help for filing claims and appeals, reaping educational benefits and navigating health benefits.

VA Claims and Separation Benefits 

Retiring from the service and applying for the benefits you deserve can sometimes be frustrating, given the confusing process of VA claims and appeals.

To eliminate confusion and help you navigate the benefits you so deserve, VFW’s National Veteran Service (NVS) was founded to help retiring service members and the active military cut through the bureaucratic red tape and get the most of the benefits.

NVS is a nationwide network of pre-discharge representatives and accredited service officers that help you through the claims and appeals process. These professionals are well-versed with the VA’s principles and help you navigate the most of the benefits.

The officers also help veterans develop their cases and request personal hearings from the VA.

Pre-Discharge Program

VFW’s Pre-Discharge program was initiated in 2001 with an aim to help transitioning service members get the perks they qualify for. This program guides service members with the preparation and submission of paperwork before retiring from the service. If you are a military member who is within 180 days of retiring, you can apply for this program. To apply, contact the pre-discharge representative for more information.

Financial Programs

Through VFW’s Unmet Needs Program, the organization aims to help veterans and service members going through financial distress. This program can provide a financial grant of up to $1,500. Moreover, because this is in the form of a grant, you don’t need to worry about repaying it.

Usually, this grant is available for unexpected financial requirements like an injury or deployment. To check whether you qualify or not, click here.

Student Veterans Support

Through collaboration with Sport Clips Haircuts and Student Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars helps transitioning service members choose a suitable career path by assisting them to get the required education.

The organization offers a couple of scholarships and grants to the students to help them complete their education.

Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship

This program helps service members pursue their education without taking student loans. The program provides scholarships of up to $5,000 to eligible applicants. However, you must note that the scholarship offered is only for tuition fees and is paid directly to schools.

To qualify for this scholarship, you must pass specific eligibility criteria defined by the organization. Make sure to check their website for more details on eligibility criteria.

Student Veteran Support Grant

Because the VFW recognizes the sacrifices made by service members, it offers a grant program that helps student veterans pursue a specific course. This program aims to support all student veteran communities, especially those studying on a campus not affiliated with the SVA chapter. You can visit their website to check whether you qualify or not.

VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship 

This program offers veteran students a chance to join the VFW’s legislative team and participate in the legislative conference help every year around April.

Mental Wellness

Did you know that about 20 veterans take their lives every day?

Committed to bringing change in the lives of veterans and supporting their mental well-being, VFW is in partnership with various organizations like Give an Hour, PatientsLikeMe and One Mind etc. to eradicate the stigma associated with mental health and help veterans get the help they need.

Visit their website to learn more about how you can get involved to serve those who served us.

VFW Advocacy

VFW is a firm believer when it comes to the welfare of veterans. The organization firmly believes that the needs of veterans should not be neglected. To help with this, it constantly meets with elected officials to ensure that veterans’ rights and benefits are not being overlooked.

Legislative Priorities

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the VFW has been behind almost every VA legislative passing, with veterans’ welfare kept in mind. VFW’s National Legislative Services establishes veterans’ interests as a priority. The organization has played an essential part in signing the Forever GI Bill and the VA Mission Act.

You can check the organization’s priority goals by clicking here.

National Security and Foreign Affairs (NSFA)

The NSFA program aims to improve the quality of life of veterans by strengthening national security and foreign affairs policy. Through this program, the organization promotes patriotism, encourages democracy and promotes a full accounting of all military service members.

Women Veterans

Did you know that about 15% of active-duty members are women? Ensuring that all needs of women veterans are being met is one of the top priorities of VFS.

To identify the sectors that need help, VFS’s women veterans’ advisory team conducted a small survey on 2000 women veterans. After surveying and analyzing the data, the organization found out that while the VA has been making remarkable efforts to help women veterans, there are still requirements to improve healthcare, training, outreach and homeless programs.

VFS is encouraging the VA to hire more healthcare professionals who specialize in women’s health care and would diagnose and treat the illnesses faced by women. In addition to this, because most women prefer getting checked by a female healthcare professional, the organization is also urging congress and the department to hire Designated Women’s Health Primary Care Providers.

Another problem women veterans face is when VA employees misinterpret them as spouses or caregivers rather than validating their veteran status. The VFS is urging the VA to train its employees with respect and dignity they so deserve.

Related:Military Order of the Purple Heart

You can learn more about services available to women veterans by visiting VFS’ official website.

Grassroots Efforts

Another noteworthy effort by the VFS is the VFW Action Corps, which comprises about 300,000 veterans and patriots ready to serve veterans at any point in time. Veterans can write, call or mail their problems and wait for the officials to make their voice heard.

The group stays up-to-date and constantly gets in touch with elected officials to ensure that justice is served to the veterans. The participants of the program receive the following:

  • An entire database of contact information of all elected officials.
  • Regular “Action Alert” suggests how one can be involved in the legislation to help veterans receive the most benefits.
  • An electronic newsletter that states all the issues faced and service members today.

VA Healthcare Watch

The organization has spent countless hours testifying in front of Congress, persuading the officials of the healthcare benefits service members deserve. Moreover, the VFS has, from time to time, encouraged the government to provide high-quality and accessible healthcare to all service members.

For this, VFS has maintained a series of reports which evaluate the current state of VA healthcare and ways to improve it. To check out these reports, click here.

How Do I Contact the Veterans of Foreign Wars?

In case you face a query, you can visit the organization’s FAQ tab.

However, if you are not able to find the solution, you can fill out the contact us form available on their official website. You can also call at 1.833.VFW.VETS for questions related to memberships and dues.

Mailing address of the VFW:

VFW National Headquarters

406 W. 34th Street

Kansas City, Missouri 64111

816.756.3390

VFW Washington Office

200 Maryland Ave., NE.

Washington, DC 20002

202.543.2239

What Does the VFW Offer?

In addition to the assistance and advocacy programs, VFS also organizes the National Convention and commemorations. The organization also has its own podcast and magazine.

National Convention

The 122nd VFW National Convention was held on July 31-Aug. 3, 2021, in Kansas City, Missouri. The convention was attended by patriots, members and fellow veterans, where everything from issues faced by the veterans and achievements of VFW was brought to light.

The 123rd National convention will be organized in 2022 in Kansas City.

To watch the video segments of the 122nd National Convention, click here.

VFW Podcast- #StillServing

Available on various platforms, including Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and Sticher, the VFW Podcast- #StillServing is a new show organized by veterans for veterans.

The podcast highlights issues and challenges faced by veterans and service members. It also covers the legislation affecting Veterans and service members.

VFW Magazine

The organization publishes its own monthly magazines covering different issues, including inspiring veteran stories and recent updates. The magazine also lists names of veterans who either received the medal of honor or other significant awards.

The October 2021 VFW Magazine included glimpses of the Veterans of the Afghanistan war, their stories and how the war and withdrawal affected them. It also consisted of the Afghan War Medal of Honor recipients.

Commemorations

To remember the sacrifice of those who fought in the war, VFS regularly conducts commemorations, emphasizing that American heroes will never be forgotten. Click here to view the upcoming memorials.

Community Efforts 

Here’s an overview of all the community efforts organized by the VFW-

Youth and Education

From youth scholarships to the teacher of the year, VFW’s youth and education programs aim to keep the welfare of veterans a priority. Under the Youth Scholarship program, the eligible applicants can qualify for up to $30,000 college scholarships and $5,000 high school scholarships.

The VFW also honors the Scout of the year from the Boys Scout, Girls Scout and Sea Scouts. Moreover, the organization also chooses the Teacher of the Year from high school, middle school and elementary school.

Troop Support

Under the Military Assistance Program (MAP), the 1.5 million members of VFS aim to support veterans, service members and their families, whether it is losing a loved one to war or going through long deployments.

Still Serving Campaign

Through the #stillserving podcast, the organization aims to spread the spirit of patriotism throughout America by picking up issues that affect service members the most.

Community Initiatives

To encourage a sense of patriotism and a spirit to serve those who served us, VFS has several community initiatives that promote volunteerism, benefiting education, morale, civic projects and health.

Flag Etiquette 

The VFS honors the most iconic symbol of freedom – the U.S. flag. For this, the organization provides all the information you need, whether it is how to display a flag, historical details of the flag or how to dispose of the flag respectfully.

Student Veterans of America

Student veterans are bound to face a number of challenges while furthering their education upon retirement. VFS, in collaboration with the Student Veterans of America (SVA), aims to help nearly 1 million student veterans get the benefits they are eligible for.

While SVA offers peer support and helps veterans transition into civilian lifestyles, VFS provides community service and camaraderie. The collaboration of two organizations supports student veterans in the following ways:

  • They provide educational funds through Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarships.
  • They help students gain knowledge of legislative activism.
  • They provide access to service officers who support these students in navigating their VA benefits.
  • They conduct joint celebrations, ceremonies and events to build trust among the communities.

Joining the VFW

To become a member of the VFW, the following conditions must be met:

  • You are either serving in the Armed Forces or have received an honorable or general discharge.
  • You have fought in a war or served in an expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters.

Moreover, you must also be an authorized campaign medal recipient and Recipient of Hostile Fire Pay. If you have served in the Korean war, you must have served at least 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days.

Member Benefits

As a member of the VFS, you are eligible for the following benefits:

  • You’ll have access to exclusive insurance programs.
  • You can access financial services like theft resolution and tax preparation.
  • You’ll have free access to VFS magazines.
  • You can get technology benefits. To learn more, click here.
  • You can get travel benefits.

To learn more, you can visit the VFS website.

Join VFW Auxillary

Join the VFW Auxillary and you can support veterans and their families, nurture lifelong friendships and develop new skills. To become a member, you must be at least 16 years old. Eligible members can be-

  • Husband/Wife
  • Widower/Widow
  • Father/Mother
  • Grandfathers/Grandmothers
  • Sons/Daughters
  • Grandsons/Granddaughters
  • Brothers/Sisters

Of a member of VFS.

Donate to the VFW

Show your support for the veterans and their families by donating. Donations start from $15. To donate, fill out this form.

VFW Store

You can also visit the site and purchase merchandise to support the organization.

If you have additional questions, you can visit VFS’ FAQ tab.

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