Minority veterans often face a unique set of issues, and various programs have been developed to fit their needs. The VA offers much support to minority veterans and provides several services to address their specific issues.
Veteran population by race:
White, (Non-Hispanic) 80%
Black, (Non-Hispanic) 11%
Minority Veterans Program Coordinators (MVPC)
This position was implemented in assisting Directors and the Center for Minority Veterans in identifying and assessing the needs of minority veterans.
The goal of creating a MVPC is to increase the awareness of minority-veteran related issues. The goal includes developing long-term strategies to encourage their participation in VA benefit programs for those who are eligible. MVPCs can be found in all VA healthcare facilities, national cemeteries, and Regional Offices.
The duties of a Minority Veterans Program Coordinator are as follows:
• Advocating on behalf of minority veterans and recommending ways in improving delivery of services within VA facilities.
• Encouraging the use of VA programs, services and benefits by minority veterans.
• Targeting outreach efforts to minority veterans through local community networks
• Initiating activities that sensitize and educate internal staff in conforming to the specific needs of minority veterans.
The Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans
This committee helps minority veterans by offering support services from people who are educated about minority-related issues as well as people who have specialized training.
The duties of the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans are as follows:
• Advise and report to Congress how the Veteran Affairs is supporting minority veterans through the Veteran Affairs Benefits Programs. These programs consist of educational benefits, health care, the Home Loan Guarantee Program, and Surviving Spouse and family benefit programs.
• Submit annual reports to Congress for review in determining how the Veteran Affairs is serving minority veterans while making helpful recommendations for the future.
• Convene with Veteran Affairs officials and other veteran service organizations in assessing the services and programs offered to minority veterans.
• Create ways to get minority veterans to utilize and understand their earned benefits.
Veterans Business and Economic Development Outreach
There is a need to educate, identify, and inform minority veteran business owners as well as potential business owners of the opportunities available in the private sector and with the government. The need consists of information about business and contract procedures involved with these entities. The Veteran Affairs Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) provides business outreach services to target minority veterans, current minority business owners, and disabled minority veterans.
The overall goal of this organization is to address the business needs related to the following:
• Aid in identifying opportunities and benefits.
• Provide access to opportunities.
• Educate minority veteran business owners on contracting with the federal government and private sector companies.
• Sponsor entrepreneurial and business outreach conferences for minority and disabled veterans for educational purposes.
• Help business owners to understand processes involved with starting up businesses, government contracting, and financing these endeavors.
• Equip minority business owners with the knowledge of contracting, Hub Zone, 8A certifications and SDB, business legal structures, and marketing strategies.
• Emphasize the importance of networking, relationship building, and communication along with developing immediate contracts.
The duties of the Veteran Business and Economic Development Outreach Program are as follows:
• Help minority veterans to have successful businesses.
• Provide education to walk veterans through the start-up process and financing of a business.
• Obtain government contracts.
• Provide helpful knowledge of marketing strategies, business networking, contracting, and relationship building.
• Hold conferences for minority business owners who desire to expand their businesses.
The WWII Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund (FVEC)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorizes the release of one-time, lump-sum payments to eligible World War II Philippine veterans. The payments are made through the Veteran Affairs from an appropriated fund where money was invested for this sole purpose. Those who are eligible can apply for this benefit which will not affect other existing vet benefits.
The Veteran Affairs Region Office in Manila, Philippines is processing applications as quickly as possible. Two months after the law was passed, the VA established an adjudication process, accounting system, and payment and payment delivery system to issue the points of interest of the FVEC.
If you need more information concerning the FVEC benefits, you can contact the Veteran Affairs the following ways:
• In the United States call 1-800-827-1000
• Within Metro Manila call 632-528-2500
Native American Outreach
The Veteran Affairs has established a new office to directly help military veterans who are tribal descendants. The Office of Tribal Government Relations is committed to providing these minority veterans with the full range of VA programs.
The Office of Tribal Government Relations initial goal is to strengthen the relationship between the Veteran Affairs and tribal veterans by establishing strong relationships with tribal leaders. This will help VA administrators greatly with better understanding the traditional tribal beliefs that Native Americans have in relation to VA policy and or practice. This outreach office was also created in order to make access easier for Native Americans who depend on the Veteran Affairs for support.
The Deputy Secretary of Women and Minority Veterans
The Deputy Secretary of Women & Minority Veteran Affairs was implemented in 2007. This outreach office is responsible for ensuring the issues important to minority and women veterans remain a priority in the implementation of public VA policies.
The American GI Forum
The American GI Forum is dedicated to addressing the discrimination and problems endured by Hispanic veterans. The AGIF performs the following:
• Provides information to those interested in scholarships, education, and post-secondary educational opportunities.
• Established chapters of the AGIF trains youth in leadership values.
• Helps educate through trade and academic scholarships.
• Promotes better career opportunities.
• Establishes communication with job placement organizations, corporations, and businesses.
• Works with organizations, corporations, and businesses in assisting minority veterans with referrals, placement and job training.
• Ensures that organizations, corporations and businesses practice equal employment hiring practices.
• Enforces and protects the civil and human rights of Hispanics, women, and other minorities as outlined by federal and state laws.
• Works feverishly in protecting the rights of Hispanic veterans, family members, and other minority veterans.
Minority Veterans and PTSD
Continual studies have been performed in understanding how race relates to PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). One particular minority veteran group of interest is the Vietnam veterans. Through volunteer participation of these particular veterans, research studies, clinical cases, and surveys have been conducted which have helped greatly in contributing toward the understanding of PTSD in relation to these veteran populations.
Endless studies have been conducted to validate race-related stressors of minority veteran’s relation to PTSD. Ethnic relevant measures are now utilized to screen these veterans for PTSD. What does this mean for minority veterans? It means that the Veteran Affairs and other agencies are doing everything possible to help recognize stressors while providing the best diagnosis and care possible for PTSD.
If you are a minority veteran and you are wondering if you have PTSD, in order to develop this disorder you must have suffered some type of trauma. Some veterans do not recognize PTSD symptoms because they have not suffered through combat. You do not have to be a war veteran in order to suffer from PTSD. PTSD symptoms can derive from various situations experienced during your military service.
You might have suffered through a horrible car accident, or experienced sexual harassment and/or rape. You might have witnessed something traumatic, combat related or otherwise. No matter the trauma experienced, you can take a screen test to find out if you have PTSD. If the end result of the mental health screen proves positive, this means that you should be evaluated by a mental health provider.
The Vietnam Veterans Minority Affairs Committee
The Vietnam Veterans Minority Affairs Committee was established in accordance with the Constitution of the Vietnam Veterans of America. This committee identifies and develops programs of awareness to minority veterans of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The committee actively seeks expansion of membership of minorities of Vietnam veterans.
This organization ensures that the needs and concerns of ethnic minority veterans are not only valued but respected and most importantly, addressed. The VVMA promotes diversity within its own organizational structure.
The Minority Affairs Committee ensures that health care needs of minority veterans and their dependents are identified, addressed, and met by the Veteran Affairs Administration. In other words, this organization makes sure that the Veteran Affairs is doing their job.
Minority and Women Veteran –Owned Businesses
Registering Your Business
If you are a minority or woman veteran business owner or you are considering starting up your own business, you might be wondering how to register your business. In the past, the government business registration process for women-owned businesses along with minority-owned businesses were stringently monitored. Now, the government no longer monitors the affiliations associated with women or minority-owned businesses therefore regulating that all business types utilize the same registration process.
Registering your business entails filing of paperwork with the government. Filing this paperwork will help in obtaining licenses, permits, and certificates that will enable your business to operate legally in conjunction with the rules and regulations. Upon registering your business, you will be able to obtain a tax identification number, your legal business name, and any types of licenses needed in order for your business to operate.
If you plan on contracting with the federal government, it proves important to announce your business designation, such as minority veteran-owned business or women veteran-owned business for example. Why is this? There are government contracts that are placed aside for specific business designations for minorities and veteran-owned businesses. In order to be considered for these specific government contracts, your business must obtain the special certification needed to qualify.
Although the federal government does not require a formal registration or certification for minority and women veteran-owned businesses, you can still register your business with non-government organizations and other certification agencies. Every agency offers different benefits if you qualify, including networking opportunities, business fairs, financing options, and numerous beneficial training programs.