In 2020, Code of Support saw a more than 200% increase in requests for our help. Cases continue to increase by 5% each week. The news from our front-line Peer Navigators remains consistent: our veterans and caregivers who live on the edge are now in danger of falling over.
HERE’S HOW CODE OF SUPPORT IS SERVING THOSE WHO SERVED US
17% of military spouses employed before the pandemic reported they had lost their job or could not find work. It is estimated that unemployment among military spouses could spike as high as 34% by the end of the pandemic.
Code of Support stands with every veteran family impacted by the pandemic. Our trained Peer Navigators continue to open new cases while at the same time employment searches on PATRIOTlink have increased five-fold since March.
Nearly 23,000 military families use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) though many eligible veterans do not apply, and others are denied SNAP benefits after income evaluation. Our Peer Navigators report that some veterans don’t meet the income guidelines by just $5.00.
Since March, Code of Support added hundreds of local food bank resources to PATRIOTlink, but many more local support resources are still needed.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND COUNSELING
Our Peer Navigators are serving veteran clients facing profound financial strains due to the pandemic and prolonged recovery. Recently, unemployment benefits were reduced, creating further financial pressures for unemployed veterans.
In addition to financial assistance, Code of Support provides certified financial coaching to support veteran families with budgeting, payment deferrals, and managing expenses. This year, requests for financial assistance have exceeded our budget by 500%.
HEALTHCARE AND MENTAL HEALTH
The single most frequent need expressed by our veteran clients is increasing feelings of loneliness and depression. Nearly half of all veterans reported needing additional mental health support in 2020. The Veteran’s Administration states that the pandemic resulted in a 65% increase in virtual mental health appointments and a startling 450% increase in telephone appointments just since April.
Code of Support works directly with veterans to access the their local VA facility, including accessing mental healthcare, but we need more local counseling options in PATRIOTlink.
Veteran suicide remains a serious issue, compounding during this difficult time. An increase in veteran suicide occurs despite billions of dollars invested by the government and tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting the military/veteran community. While all this effort should lead to better outcomes, active duty service members, veterans, caregivers, and their families are adrift in a sea of resources that remain frustratingly out-of-reach.
That is why Code of Support will always be here. The veterans, caregivers, and military families who depend on Code of Support need you now, more than ever before. This season, this year, we ask you to give if you can.