HAVE YOU EVER SERVED IN THE MILITARY?

One question can make a big difference…

SUPPORT THOSE WHO SERVE BY:

  • Engaging reluctant veteran clients in acknowledging needs for support.
  • Meeting a military family’s unique needs.
  • Coordinating services between military and civilian providers.

WHY ASK THE QUESTION?

Whether in a non-profit or a government agency, human service providers encounter service members, veterans, and military families, but they might not know it. Veterans do not always identify themselves. They can be proud and stoic, and tend to be more comfortable helping others than asking for help themselves – even when they need support. Military life can impact an individual or family in many ways that affect their access to different programs, services, and benefits. The best way to identify service members, veterans, and military families is to ASK!

When you are working with a new client applying for services,

ASK THE QUESTION:

Have you or a family member ever served in the military?

WHEN THE ANSWER IS “YES”, you may consider thanking them for their service. You may also then be able to increase your understanding of their challenges and assist them in accessing the programs and services they need by asking further questions. This will also help you to:

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability
  • Identify individual and family supports and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Read a vignette about how Social Services
providers can make a big difference!

Following are some questions that could be asked in the context of gathering information for more effective referrals and services.  Pay attention to non-verbal cues, and show respect, curiosity, and empathy.  Also be aware that responsiveness and effective follow-up are critical to building trust and rapport.

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When did you/your family member serve? What service era? Which Branch?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

What was your/your family member’s job while serving?

  • Build rapport and demonstrate interest and cultural competency
  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs

What is your/your family member’s discharge type/status?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability

In what ways may the services that you’re here for be connected to your/your family member’s military service?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability

Are you experiencing any issues or stressors related to employment or financial needs?

  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability
  • Identify individual and family supports and resources

Are you/your family member enrolled at or connected to the VA or other veteran resources or organizations for services and support?

  • Link to any needed military and veteran resources and referrals, including both VA and non-VA programs
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

Have you/your family member ever used the VA for health care?

  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services
  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits

Do you/your family member have a service-connected disability or condition?

  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to serviceexperience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services

What types of support are needed but not yet met?

  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services
  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability
  • Identify individual and family supports and resources

What reservations did you/your family member have about coming in to seek assistance? Is there anything that might be a barrier to further seeking assistance?

  • Identify any mental health, physical and/or medical issues related to service experience that are impacting access to services and benefits
  • Identify potential sources of income and assess financial stability
  • Identify individual and family supports and resources
  • Address perceived barriers to seeking support and services