The Road Ahead at Home and Work
As a wounded warrior, you deserve the easiest possible transition from military to civilian life. A severe injury does change the way you live your life, but it does not have to change the course of your career or the quality of your home life. Here are some strategies to navigate the road ahead as a wounded warrior.
Making your home more livable
Making your house accessible and livable with the constraints of your injury can ease your transition home. Accessibility simply means allowing an occupant with disabilities to do what the person wants and needs to do, as independently as possible. Both technical and financial assistance is available to make your home accessible. Consider these resources to make you more comfortable at home during your transition.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs provides loans and grants to modify the home of disabled veterans, or to help them purchase existing, accessible homes.
- Disabled American Veterans is an organization dedicated to wounded warriors with resources to help you feel at ease in your home.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development helps homeowners rehabilitate properties for accessibility.
- Many nongovernment nonprofits also provide assistance building and assisting with the financing of new homes for injured service members.
Learn more about home modification resources for wounded warriors.
Reentering the workforce
Every injured service member can expect to have a different path back into work. The nature of your injuries, where you live, and your specific skill-set, interests and experiences will guide your decision. Your first step is to determine what kind of job you want. Here are some things to consider.
- Your interests: Focusing on what you’re interested in will narrow down your search and make you happier in your new role.
- Your job in the military: As a service member, you have unique experiences, skills, training and traits that will be assets to a new employer. Be open to ways in which those skills might translate to a civilian role.
- Your challenges: Identify the things, such as your injury or education, which may hold you back and make a plan to overcome them.
- Your job before the military: Skills and experiences that you acquired before becoming a service member may translate to your career now. Try reconnecting with old colleagues and decide if you’re still interested in that line of work.
- Your location: Whether you’re relocating or staying, consider the strengths — and limitations — of your area. Consider jobs that your region is known for, or focus on companies based there.
There are plenty of resources to help you find your first job after the military. Consider using these services to search and prepare for that first role.
- Your branch’s transition assistance program provides transition support for severely injured service members in each branch.
- Recovery and Employment Assistance Lifelines provide in-person career counseling and will even meet you at the hospital to discuss job options.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs provides vocational training and certifications and help with the job search.
- One-Stop Career Centers are located around the country and can help you with career exploration, training and specific job searches and placement.
Support going forward
Because of the sacrifices you’ve made, you’re entitled to many benefits during your transition from active-duty military to civilian life. The road ahead is lined with support from Military OneSource and its many resources, from medical services and education, to caregivers and counseling, so don’t hesitate to reach out.