Military Families and Caregivers
The NYC Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) believes that veteran families have also served. We recognize the sacrifices and challenges experienced by family members who support our service members.
DVS connects veteran families, military spouses, and caregivers to the services and resources they need to live purpose-driven lives, including caregiver support programs, educational awards for military children, emergency financial assistance, and more.
Connect to services by filling out the VetConnectNYC form:
Request Services on VetConnectNYC
See below for a list of services available to military families and caregivers:
Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.
- Building Better Caregivers (BBC), is an online six-week, small group workshop designed to help caregivers of veterans with dementia, memory problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, serious brain injuries, and any other serious injury or illness. BBC offers training in how to provide better care, and it helps caregivers learn how to manage their own emotions, stress and physical health.
- Hidden Heroes serves those who care for wounded, ill, or injured veterans. The organization offers comprehensive case management support, assistance with applying for benefits, and connects caregivers to their peers. Sign up to their National Caregiver Registry for access to local events and programs, a directory of vetted resources, and peer support.
- VA's Program of General Caregiver Support Services (PGCSS) provides resources, education, and support to caregivers of Veterans. Caregivers who enroll in PGCSS have access to education and training, including courses at local VA medical centers (VAMCs). In addition, caregivers can participate in support services and take advantage of VA home and community-based care.
- The Red Cross's Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) connects caregivers to a peer support network and services.
Education Support for Children
- New York State Regents Awards (for Children), provides up to $450 per year to students whose parent(s) served in the US Armed Forces during specified times of national emergency.
- Our Military Kids offers the children of deployed and stateside activated National Guard and Reserve servicemembers, as well as combat-injured Veterans a $300 grant (per child) for funding extracurricular activities. Some of the activities the program can fund are for any sports team, music lessons, tutoring, and summer camp.
Apply: Deployed NGR Program Combat-Injured Program
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Scholarship and Essay Competition
- Voice of Democracy scholarship program: Each year, nearly 27,000 high school students compete for more than $2 million in scholarships and incentives. Students compete by writing and recording an audio essay on an annual patriotic theme. The theme for 2023-2024 is, “What are the greatest attributes of our Democracy?” All entries competing at the Post level must be in the hands of that VFW Post by midnight, Oct. 31, 2023. It is the responsibility of the student to meet this deadline by submitting their entry to the proper location by ensuring it is a participating Post. Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, state and national level. Department (State) winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington DC, to tour the city, be honored by the VFW and its Auxiliary and receive their portion of $171,000 in national awards, the top scholarship being $35,000.
- Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Competition: Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. The VFW invites you to join the more than 73,000 students who participated last year in this contest. The theme for 2023-2024 is, "How are you inspired by America?" To qualify, all entries must be submitted to a sponsoring VFW Post by midnight October 31, 2023. Prizes and scholarships can be awarded at the Post, District, State and national level. Department (State) winners receive a portion of $55,000 in national awards. National Winners will receive at least $500. The first-place national award is currently $5,000.
According to the VA, women veterans are more likely to experience Intimate Partner Violence than civilian women.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please call NYC's 24-hour support hotline at 800-621-4673. Call 911 for emergencies. For additional services visit NYC Hope. New York State also operates a domestic violence hotline that you can contact at 800-942-6906.
If you are experiencing intimate partner violence and need somewhere else to live, you can also contact the VA. Call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838). If you don't have a phone or internet, visit your closest VA medical center.
Emergency Financial Assistance for Military Families
- The Hope For The Warriors' Critical Care Coordination program offers financial support and education to post 9/11 veterans, military families, and survivors of trauma who have experienced a loss of income due to:
- Delays in disability claims processing
- Unexpected expenses
- Five Wishes offers a program to support advanced care and end-of-life planning including.
- The New York Health Care Proxy Form allows you to appoint someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. Learn more.
- New York State Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) Form is a medical order form that tells others the patient's wishes for life-sustaining treatment.
- Prepare for Your Care is an advanced care planning program that helps you put your wishes in writing.
- Death Over Dinner is an interactive guide designed to facilitate discussion on end-of-life planning.
- The Metropolitan Jewish Health System has published a digital toolkit to help caregivers care for trauma survivors and Holocaust survivors with sensitivity at the end of life.
- DVS's Final Honors Program ensures that all deceased NYC veterans - even if unclaimed or abandoned - are given military funerals with honors and buried at a National Cemetery once they are verified as eligible for military honors. A DVS official is present on the day of each unclaimed or abandoned veterans' National Cemetery funeral to bear witness to his or her sacrifice for our country.
- Veterans can learn in advance if they are eligible to be buried in a VA national cemetery by applying for a pre-need determination of eligibility. Visit the VA's Pre-Need Eligibility website to learn more about the eligibility requirements, application process, and what information you need to apply. After reviewing the website, please download and submit VA Form 40-10007. Please note, this application is for planning for your own burial in advance. Please do not complete this form if you're requesting a burial for someone after they have passed.
The Spouse Education and Career Opportunity program provides military spouses with resources to create an academic plan, search for scholarships, develop their resumes, and find the right career.
Blue Star Families Welcome Programs
Blue Star Families Welcome Programs foster and create vibrant communities of support by welcoming your family into the organization, and providing year-round opportunities for all members to connect with each other and their civilian neighbors. Blue Star Families designed these programs to meet the unique needs of your family and deliver the resources you need to feel supported — no matter where you are on your journey.
- Blue Star Museums: This program is a collaboration among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense, and museums across America to offer free admission from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Blue Star Books: With the help of partners like Disney, Blue Star Families has given hundreds of thousands of books away to military kids across the world.
- Blue Star Coffee Connects: Informal opportunities for military families to connect with one another and their larger communities through engaging in conversation and relationship building.
- Blue Star Outdoors: Blue Star Outdoors offers engaging and enriching outdoor activities at our nation’s neighborhood and national parks. Outdoor experiences provide the places for families to seek respite, explore nature, and experience joy.