Some families don’t reunite. The Army’s Medical Health Advisory Team surveyed married junior enlisted officers in 2008 and found that after 15 months of deployment, almost 30 percent were planning divorce or separation. According to data compiled by the Associated Press, divorce rates in the Marine Corps and Army have increased. There are fewer recent statistics about divorce rates after leaving active duty, but the National Center for PTSD cites studies of Vietnam Veterans which found that rates of divorce were much higher than among the general population. This may be related to PTSD and associated problems with intimacy or caregiver stresses.
If a veteran has returned with a disability, the family’s finances may be affected while caregivers’ responsibilities are further stretched by the complicated claim system. Yet with help, many veterans can access VA-backed loans, educational benefits, employment assistance and even educational benefits for dependents that can help get their families back on track.
Army Long-term Family Case Management
This call center and website offer long-term assistance to those who have lost a loved one who was a service member. They provide information about Social Security, VA and death benefits as well as lists of local programs for children and other kinds of support.
Coming Home Project
This nonprofit organization is dedicated
to providing compassionate expert care, support, education and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members and their families.
Gold Star Wives
Gold Star Wives is a nonprofit membership organization for people who have lost spouses in the military. They offer local chapters, memorial programs, support and benefit information.
Society of Military Widows
The Society of Military Widows is a nonprofit membership advocacy and support organization. They provide information about benefits, supports and networking via local chapters.
Comfort Zone Camp Comfort Zone Camp provides grief support weekend camps for children ages 7 to17 and offers special programs for children in military families.
TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
TAPS offers support for survivors: peer support as well as 24-hour crisis intervention. They also provide information about benefits and other services, survivor seminars, camps for children and online chat.
General Sources for Support
The American Legion
The American Legion is a national community service organization with leadership and community programs across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, France and the Philippines.
AMVETS provides information, counseling and claims service to all honorably discharged veterans and their families concerning benefits. They are also involved in community service and advocacy.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
This organization is led by disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families.