Military veterans have sacrificed a lot for their country.

As of 2021, there were more than 16.5 million military veterans living in the U.S. Many of them returned from their service very different than when they enlisted.

It’s not surprising, then, that so many of them face challenges adapting back into civilian life, including in their financial lives.

A study by Pew Research revealed that as of 2019, the latest data available, 35% of military veterans were struggling to pay their bills, particularly in the years following deployment.

Whether it’s credit cards, taxes, or other kinds of debt, any bit of veteran debt relief could go a long way.

The good news is that there is no shortage of veteran-focused debt-relief initiatives in place to ease the burden. But, too often these programs are not fully utilized, and in many cases, veterans aren't even aware of them.

Read on to explore some of the simplest veteran debt forgiveness programs—as well as other debt relief options—available to former military personnel who are in need of support.

Debt assistance programs for veterans

If there’s one place former service members should be able to go for support, it’s Uncle Sam. Fortunately, the U.S. government does offer debt relief for veterans through various initiatives, including the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

The federal SCRA program provides debt relief to veterans through state income tax benefits. This legislation ensures that former members of the military are not taxed in more than one state or jurisdiction when they relocate due to military orders.

As a result, this law protects them from facing multiple layers of taxation, thereby providing veterans with debt relief.

This law was expanded to include the spouses of former military service members so that they too are exempt from state taxes if certain conditions are met.

Those conditions are: 1) the spouse must accompany their partner to the out-of-state assignment; 2) their purpose there should be to join their military spouse; and 3) the military service member must be living in the same state.

If these criteria are met, any income earned by the civilian spouse won’t be taxed in the new state. However, this individual may still be taxed in their former state.

The Military Lending Act is a piece of legislation designed for active duty service personnel. It limits the interest rates military members can be charged on products like credit cards. The cap is a 36% Military Annual Percentage Rate.

This provision also extends to active members of the Guard or Reserve as well as to spouses.

In addition to credit cards, this act also encompasses other lending products, including payday loans, vehicle title loans, overdraft lines of credit, installment loans, certain student loans. and more. Yet another way for veterans to find debt relief.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers specialized products to help members of the military, including helping veterans purchase a home or refinance a mortgage. When it comes to home loans, you’ve got several products and programs to choose from.

Among them is a purchase loan, the benefits of which can include not having to make a down payment.

Compared to traditional mortgage loans, these loans offer more attractive interest rates, which translates into debt relief for veterans.

There’s also an interest rate reduction refinance loan, which you may qualify for if you’ve already got a VA-backed mortgage.

The interest rate reduction is meant to lower your monthly mortgage payment, or at least make the payments more stable with a fixed rate.

There is also debt relief for veterans who may be at risk of losing their homes. In this case, the VA could step in with services like free healthcare and dental care to help alleviate some of the financial burden.

If it gets to that point, they can also help a veteran find homeless shelters in their area.

Debt consolidations options

Debt consolidation is one of the most often used ways to save money, including for veterans. It doesn’t remove debt, but it makes it more manageable.

The idea is to consolidate multiple balances into a single loan with a better interest rate and more attractive terms. Because of the lower interest rates, these kinds of loans allow the borrower to pay off their debts sooner and save money.

There are debt consolidation programs available to military members and veterans, particularly those with VA mortgages.

In this case, you may be able to secure a Military Debt Consolidation Loan to make payments more affordable and provide veteran debt relief.

Additionally, there are certain banks that specialize in providing financial services to the military community and that offer debt consolidation products.

Debt settlement options

As a veteran, you also have the option to pursue debt settlement options meant to reduce the amount of money you owe to creditors. Veterans seeking credit card debt relief may find this route helpful.

There are programs designed to take the heavy lifting out of debt settlement and provide veterans with debt relief. They will go to bat for you with your creditors and negotiate to reduce the amount you owe.

You’ll still be on the hook for the remaining balance, but the payments should be more manageable.

Grants for an income boost

Among the other financial assistance programs designed to bring veteran debt relief are financial grants, which are kind of like free money.

For example, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is a veteran debt forgiveness program that supports military members who have run into financial difficulties as a result of their service to the country, including any injuries sustained as a result of serving.

The support comes in the way of grants of up to $1,500 to help with everyday expenses. The best part is that because it’s a grant, the money doesn’t have to be repaid.

Operation Family Fund is a similar organization designed for military personnel who became disabled as a result of fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Through private donations, this fund distributes grants to eligible families in the amount of $5,000, providing disabled veteran debt relief in the process.


As a former service member who has served your country and sacrificed so much for the rest of us, the last thing you need is to be held back by chaotic finances, especially with so many debt relief programs available for veterans and active duty military.

Whether you are a disabled veteran seeking credit card debt relief, or an active member of the military looking to access tax or mortgage benefits, there are a wide range of programs designed for you.

They all require you to take the first step, but once you do, there is help available and you should soon begin to feel debt relief.