As a wounded warrior, you deserve the easiest possible transition from military to civilian life. A severe injury does change the way you live, but it does not have to change the course of your career or the quality of your home life. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the road ahead as a wounded warrior.
Making your home more livable
Making your house accessible and livable within the constraints of your injury can help ease your transition home. Accessibility simply means allowing you to do what you want and need to do, as independently as possible. Both technical and financial assistance are 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 building assistance and help 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 help narrow 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 which may limit your options, such as your injury, your education or your skills, and make a plan to update your talents to match or create new opportunities.
- 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.
- The military’s Transition Assistance Program provides transition support for severely injured service members in each branch. For more information, contact your installation TAP office.
- The Veterans’ Employment and Career Transition Advisor provides valuable information and access to contact information for one-on-one employment assistance and online resources to assist transitioning service members and veterans with their reintegration into the civilian workforce.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs provides vocational training and certifications, and help with your job search.
- CareerOneStop centers are located around the country and can help you with career exploration, training, job searches and placement.
- The Department of Defense Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, provides assistive technology and accommodations to support individuals with disabilities and wounded, ill and injured service members. Effective Oct. 1, 2020, CAP will only provide assistive technology to DOD employees and active-duty service members. However, CAP will gladly conduct assessments, provide information, referrals and assist non-DOD agencies in determining the appropriate AT and AT devices to purchase by their agency. For more information, visit the CAP website.
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. If you have questions, reach out. Consultants are available 24/7/365 to help you find the resources you need to thrive. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options, or schedule a live chat.