Recent South Carolina statistics state that approximately 75,000 of the veterans living in the state were disabled as a result of their service to the country. Veterans suffer from more than just service related injuries, however. Many veterans are homeless, low-income and struggle to find enough work. South Carolina has a fairly large veteran population, comprising nearly ten percent of the overall population of the state. A good many of those veterans living in South Carolina served during a time of war, including the Gulf Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, Vietnam, Korea and a few who served in World War II. South Carolina is proud of its veterans and offers a wide diversity of programs whose goal is to offer a quality of living for veterans who are suffering from a lack of food, housing, education or employment. Many of these programs actively seek out veterans to offer them access to the benefits to which they are entitled, both in South Carolina as well as the U.S. The following sections offer information about the various programs in SC and how a veteran and his or her family can qualify for assistance.
Veterans Housing Benefits in South Carolina
Veterans Administration loans are offered to honorably discharged veterans who want to take out a loan from a bank in order to improve their existing home or to purchase a new one. Many of these VA loans are used to adapt a home for a disabled veteran. The VA backs a certain amount of a loan offered by a private lending institution, which makes the terms more favorable for a veteran and his/her family.
South Carolina Nursing Homes for Veterans
The Veteran’s Victory House in Walterboro, the E. Roy Stone Veterans’ Pavilion in Columbia, and the Richard Michael Campbell home in Anderson offer eligible veterans who need skilled nursing care a place to go to receive the advanced care they need. Veterans homes are equipped to deal specifically with issues that are endemic to veteran populations. Most VA homes are equipped to deal with a wide range of military related disorders, traumas and age-related problems. Family members may also be eligible to be placed into the homes.
The Veterans Administration Supportive Housing program (VASH) along with the Housing and Urban Development department (HUD) offer housing choice vouchers to qualifying veterans. Veterans who are low-income are issued vouchers which they can take to prospective landlords. If the landlord agrees to accept the vouchers and the public housing authority certifies the property as meeting the basic standards, then the veteran and his family may move into the rental unit. The vouchers do not pay all of the rent, but simply discount it to make the monthly payments easier.
Disabled veterans in SC can claim homestead exemption and a property tax exemption. The amount that is allowable in both cases is determined by the SC legislature and local representatives.
South Carolina Veterans Health Benefits
In South Carolina, Veterans and their families are afforded health care coverage. Each veteran is assigned a case manager through the W2VA program, who will communicate regularly with the veteran and keep them informed about various health benefits offered to SC veterans. Each veteran is assigned into the program by way of a priority group. These priority groups identify the veteran and his or her special health care classification. For example, some priority groups are for veterans who were exposed, or possibly exposed, to biological agents.
South Carolina Veterans Employment Benefits
South Carolina offers a preferred employment priority if the veteran applies for a state or federal governmental job. There are many reasons for this, but veterans will be given preference over someone else with similar qualifications for a job that is offered through the state job boards. The state job boards also have a veterans-only section that offers access to job seeking tools. The veteran can go into various job centers to receive assistance with employment counseling or take part in a vocational rehabilitation program if needed.
Veterans who would like to start their own business can receive assistance and access resources through several free programs offered to Veterans through the career center offices. These centers can advise veterans on programs available for veterans to receive startup funding, to learn about the licensing and permitting regulations for their new business and whether or not the business idea is viable.
South Carolina Veterans Education Benefits
Veterans who would like to go to school to further their education have many options in SC. One of the largest educational assistance programs is the GI Bill. The GI Bill covers tuition as well as other fees for the veteran. Most colleges in South Carolina accept the GI Bill. The GI Bill has several other programs under its auspices, including the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 911 GI Bill. Each have their own set of requirements and eligibility criteria. South Carolina participates in the Yellow Ribbon program which makes additional funds available to cover costs that the GI Bill cannot cover. The VA matches funds in this program so that the award amount can vary from year to year. Most veterans are offered in-state tuition rates, but must at the time of application be living in South Carolina.