Friday, March 18, 2011

The American Servicemembers And Veterans Survival Guide: Free PDF!

Free! Why not get it?
The American Veterans and Servicemembers Survival Guide is a web-based book, available free for download at  - see the link on the left side of their webpage.

As reviewed by Veterans for Common Sense (whose executive director contributed to the work):
"The new Survival Guide is a follow-up to the 1985 national bestseller, The Viet Vet Survival Guide. Just as the earlier book was a must-read for Vietnam veterans, the new book will prove an invaluable resource for the 1.7 million servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the 24 million veterans of past conflicts, and the families of all our troops and veterans. Unlike the earlier guide, the new Survival Guide is free.

The new book is as much a roadmap as a reference manual, detailing the benefits, assistance and resources available as well as the step-by-step directions for navigating the bureaucracies that serve our troops and veterans. The new Survival Guide contains 28 chapters, including 17 for veterans and their families and 11 for active-duty servicemembers, National Guard members and reservists, and their families. From legal to health services, job assistance to women’s issues, the new Survival Guide is designed to meet everyone’s needs."
You can get a sense of the work from the introduction:
"Life is unfair — John F. Kennedy

This book will help you survive in the world of the veteran. This world, like the world at large, is not a fair world. Your country asked you to take years out of your life and to risk life itself. But when you came back, it gave you some praise but little comfort. Instead, it gave you the VA.

Though there are other federal agencies that benefit the veteran, and though there are many state programs for veterans, the VA (formerly the Veterans Administration and now the Department of Veterans Affairs, but always called the VA) is more important to most vets than all the rest combined.

But the VA isn’t what it should be. It’s a bureaucracy. Full of programs that cover enough vets and programs that don’t, full of people who care and people who don’t, full of prompt responses and endless delays and full of rules, rules, rules.

VA medical care can repair your body. VA educational benefits can put you through school. VA disability compensation and pensions can pay many of your bills. VA loan guarantees can make it possible for you to buy a home.

But to get the most out of the VA, or the Small Business Administration or the veterans department in your home state, you have to know what you’re doing. You have to know the benefits to which you’re entitled, the problems you may face and how to solve them and where to go for help."

You can download the whole book as a single PDF (large)
link but it may be better to take it chapter-by-chapter, covering each topic as you need it:

Chapters include:
  • Contents and Introduction, Chapter 1: Basic Survival Skills
  • Chapter 2: The Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Chapter 3: Service-Connected Compensation
  • Chapter 4: Need-Based Pension for Low-Income Veterans or Survivors
  • Chapter 5: Explaining the VA Claims and Appeals Process
  • Chapter 6: VA Attemps to Recover “Overpayments”
  • Chapter 7: Educational Assistance and Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Chapter 8: VA Housing Programs
  • Chapter 9: VA Medical Care
  • Chapter 10: VA Programs for Veterans’ Family Members and Survivors
  • Chapter 11: Employment, Self-Employment and the Small Business Administration
  • Chapter 12: Re-Employment Rights and Associated Rights for Time Spent in Military Service
  • Chapter 13: Homeless Veteran Programs
  • Chapter 14: Veterans in the Criminal Justice System
  • Chapter 15: Upgrading Less-Than-Fully-Honorable Discharges
  • Chapter 16: Correcting Military Records and Related Issues
  • Chapter 17: Getting Your Military Records
  • Chapter 18: Early Discharge or Separation
  • Chapter 19: Disability Separation and Retirement
  • Chapter 20: Advice for Families and Caregivers of Wounded Servicemembers and Veterans
  • Chapter 21: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  • Chapter 22: Benefits for Active-Duty Servicemembers’ Families
  • Chapter 23: Voting Rights Issues
  • Chapter 24: National Guard and Reserve Call-Up Issues
  • Chapter 25: Family Law Issues for Servicemembers
  • Chapter 26: Women Servicemembers and Veterans
  • Chapter 27: Overview of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  • Chapter 28: Immigration, Obtaining U.S. Citizenship through Military Service
  • Appendix
Kudos to the authors for this notable work ... it may be available directly at but I would suggest going to the site of its host and look around - it's full of great stuff! 

(This post updates an earlier post)

No comments: