Lack of visibility leaves veteran spouses without resources
Who tracks the millions of military spouses after their spouses transition to civilian life? No one, apparently. Despite a wealth of information about veterans, there is virtually no data about their spouses.
Veteran spouses often make unknown sacrifices of their own, both during and post military life. But those sacrifices aren’t measured or analyzed. The result? Very few support programs and resources for veteran spouses exist.
Everyone for Veterans is working to change that.
We recognize that veteran spouses serve, too. That’s why Everyone for Veterans is proud to provide services to veteran spouses.
The Everyone for Veterans team believes that it’s fundamentally important to provide care to both the veteran and veteran spouse. And, as a veteran spouse, I couldn’t agree more.
When both spouses are in desperate need of dental care and only one qualifies, the imbalance says a lot.
A look at the data about veteran spouses…
Today, there are roughly 18.8 million U.S. military veterans. Nearly 60% are married, which equates to approximately 11.2 million veteran spouses.
Contrary to popular belief, not all veterans receive Veterans Administration (VA) health care benefits, dental care benefits or some type of pension. Even fewer veteran spouses qualify for any type of benefit.
In the most recent census, 1.2 million veterans reported an income that’s below the poverty line. About 60% of them are married. So, we can estimate that 720,000 veteran spouses are also living below the poverty line. It’s unlikely they can afford dental care – and highly unlikely that they qualify for VA dental care benefits.
Veteran spouses are also more likely to be the caregiver for their veteran. The VA, which tracks caregiving, estimates there are almost 5.5 million caregivers caring for veterans today. 70% of those caregivers are a spouse or partner. 96% are women. They provide care for an average of 10 years.
We’re playing fast and loose with the math here, but you get the picture. Today, tens of thousands of veteran spouses can’t afford, or can’t access, dental care. The reasons are many, but the result is the same. Veteran spouses in desperate need of free and comprehensive dental care.
Military spouses become veteran spouses
Eventually, most military spouses will become veteran spouses. Military spouses play a fundamental role in supporting the military service of their soldier, sailor, or airman – but this work is often unseen and unmeasured.
Military spouses are the solo parents and family caregivers during frequent deployments. They manage all aspects of family and home life. They also face multiple barriers to employment, resulting from many causes, including frequent moves, lack of childcare and living in remote locations.
Simply stated, there are knock on effects to being a military spouse.
These factors – and many more – are what inspires the Everyone for Veterans team to support veteran spouses.
Everyone for Veterans is here to help
Everyone for veterans is honored to support veterans experiencing financial hardship, who have completed at least one enlistment period, and who have been honorably discharged. We are also proud to serve the spouses of these veterans – and shine a light on our nation’s veteran spouses.
We encourage veterans and veteran spouses to reach out for more information. And for all our advocates and champions, please continue spreading the word about our services and how we can help.
On behalf of the entire Everyone for Veterans team, we extend heartfelt thanks to all veterans and veteran spouses for your service and dedication.
Suzanne Lee is a member of Everyone for Veterans Board of Directors. She is also a proud veteran spouse. Go Air Force!
The goal of our blog is to keep everyone updated on what Everyone for Veterans has been working on.