First came Hurricane Fiona slamming Puerto Rico and Atlantic Canada, then followed Ian, a category 4 hurricane that swept southwest Florida. These two storms rank among the costliest in the books of the United States, causing over $50 billion in damages. 

As the weatherman grapples with how Ian defined the storm season, it made a personal impact on the lives of many, causing the death of at least 148 people and doing away with nearly 30,000 homes. Among the many victims are veterans who served the country and still had to worry about servicing loans and staying out of debt.

Why do Veterans Need Debt Management?

A 2020 Military Financial Readiness Survey revealed that about 35% of service members could not meet their bills on time. 54% are almost living from hand to mouth, while 86% are worried about the sustainability of their finances.

The situation is direr as only 33% of the veterans are confident in their ability to service their loans. Debt management is challenging for most borrowers in the country, and the economy is not making things easier.

Many veterans sink into debt due to the following reasons:

  • Less Pay

Most service members agree that although their pay is steady, more is needed to sustain their households. They are often forced to work around tight budgets so that they can spare some in case of an emergency. Their paycheck is inadequate to service loans or pay off debt comfortably; thus, they get stuck.

  • Frequent Moves

The military demands that one goes wherever they are deployed. However, moving comes with its own share of financial stress due to the additional expenses. To add insult to injury, the housing market is taking longer to recover, thus making it harder for service members to sell their homes within the short duration they are asked to move. Thus they pay for old and new mortgages. The frequent moves also make it harder for their spouses to hold down jobs for too long.

  • The Shift of Financial Burden during deployment

Whenever deployment season arrives, roles in service members’ households shift to their spouses, who automatically take over financial responsibilities. Where communication is not done efficiently, some bills may be forgotten, thus creating an enormous debt.

  • Their Susceptibility to Credit

The steady nature of their paychecks makes veterans and other military members prey to scavenger creditors. However, these debts only limit them from maximizing other benefits that promote saving—for example, the Thrift savings program.

  • Fear of losing Security Clearance

Some service member drowns in debt because they fear seeking help for fear of jeopardizing their security clearance. Debt is often seen as a sign of one’s inability to live within their means, satisfy the debt or meet their financial obligations. All these points to poor traits such as indiscipline, untrustworthiness and other aspects of their character.

These factors often impact the financial stability of service members long after they are retired, creating the need for debt management options for both active and retired members.

Extending help to Veteran Victims of Hurricane Fiona and Ian.

Two of the deadliest storms left veterans and other residents in crisis. The unfathomable destruction left millions counting losses. Fortunately, affected veterans and their families have access to VA resources and other forms of support in their time of most need.

Affected persons can seek help thanks to the veteran’s debt relief program from their state’s VA Regional Benefits Office, which is ready to deliver services 24 hours a day.

Other remarkable resources offered to veterans in the wake of the disaster include:

  • Housing Assistance
  • Benefits Payment Delivery
  • VA Home Loans
  • GI Bill
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment
  • Mail Contingency

How will the Suspension of Debt Payment Veterans Affected by Fiona and Ian?

After Hurricane Fiona and Ian’s destruction of property and people alike, the VA is stepping in to help by offering the suspensions of debt repayments for the old hands and their family members. This gesture is set to help the masses by giving them one less thing to worry about and kick-starting their journey to restoring their lives. 

In addition to other forms of help extended by the military, the program significantly relieves them of some of the financial burdens on their shoulders as they start afresh. Veteran and their beneficiaries can ask for suspension of benefit debt and medical care and pharmacy co-payment debt by contacting the respective offices.