2015-2016 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
Veterans & Family Support: All About the Unmet Needs Program
Veterans, service members and their families face many challenges and a big one can be unexpected financial difficulties because of deployment or other military-related activity. The program provides financial aid of up to $5,000 to assist with basic life needs in the form of a grant – not a loan – so no repayment is required. To further ease the burden, the creditor is paid directly.
Many of you have questions about the Unmet Needs Program. Read the Q&A below and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Q.: What does the Unmet Needs Program do?
A.: Unmet Needs provides grants and referrals to other organizations to active duty or recently discharged service members and their immediate families to assist with basic life needs.
Q.: Who is eligible to receive assistance?
A.: To receive a grant, the service member has to be on active duty or discharged from active duty within 72 months prior to applying, and negatively affected by their military service. Everyone is eligible to receive referrals and resource information.
Q.: How can I contact the Unmet Needs Program?
A.: The Unmet Needs Program is located in the VFW National Headquarter in Kansas City, Mo.
Q.: How do I get an application for the Unmet Needs financial grant?
A.: The application can be found online here or at the website listed above. Completed applications must be signed, have all the required documents, and can be mailed, faxed or attached to an email.
Q.: How does the Unmet Needs Process work?
A.: Once an application has been completed and submitted with the necessary documents, the Unmet Needs caseworker reviews it and contacts the applicant. All applications are verified with the Point of Contact, and all expenses are verified with the creditors. Payments are sent directly to the creditor to ensure proper disbursement of donations.
Q.: Who is the Point of Contact?
A.: For active duty members, the Point of Contact is the senior member of the service members’ chain of command, E-8 or above, family assistance center coordinator, family readiness group, or a medical hold caseworker. For those who are no longer in the military, the Point of Contact can be a social worker, case manager, VA representative, or a VFW Service Officer.
Q.: What additional documents are needed for the application process?
A.: A copy of the service member’s most recent active duty orders or DD-214 (member copy 4), copies of bills that they need assistance with, a written statement from the Point of Contact verifying the hardship, and the program’s Terms and Conditions signed by the applicant. Depending on the situation, additional documentation may be requested.
Q.: What kind of expenses does the Unmet Needs Program help with?
A.: Unmet Needs assists with any expenses that are classified as “basic life needs,” which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Housing expenses such as mortgage, rent, repairs and insurance
- Vehicle expenses such as payments, repairs and insurance
- Utilities and primary phone
- Food and Incidentals
- Children’s clothing, diapers, formula and necessary school or childcare expenses
- Medical bills, prescriptions and eyeglasses – the patient’s portion for necessary or emergency medical care only
Q.: How long does the process take?
A.: The applications are processed in the order in which they are received. The Unmet Needs office takes no more than 20 business days to process the applications after receipt of all required documentation. Caseworkers cannot move forward with a case until a completed application and all supporting documentation is received.
Q.: How many times can I apply for the Unmet Needs Grant?
A.: Applicants can apply once every 18 months, and only twice total. Second requests for assistance must be caused by a new situation or new deployment.
Q.: Does Unmet Needs assist after a natural disaster?
A.: The Unmet Needs Natural Disaster Assistance provides grants in the amounts of $300 for power loss or damage to home, or $500 for the total loss of primary residence.
Q.: How can I help?
A.: Contact your VFW Department or local VFW Post to let them know you are here to help. Monetary donations to support Unmet Needs can be sent two ways:
1. Mail you donation to:
406 West 34th St. Ste. 920
Kansas City, MO 64111
2. Text NEEDS to 90999 and $10.00 will be donated to the Unmet Needs Program.
Now that you know a little more about this program, get out there and educate other members so that we can better assist our nation’s veterans, active-duty military and their families!