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How to help veterans beyond holiday commemorations

Korean-War-Memorial_brittany-colette-zKj_cKc0fWU-unsplash
Korean War Memorial on National Mall, Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash)

11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. That moment marked the armistice between World War I's Allied forces and Germany, ending the fighting on the Western Front.

The commemoration to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served — and the 116,500 who died — in what then was called the Great War originally was celebrated as Armistice Day. In 1954, the annual Nov. 11 commemorations were rebranded Veterans Day, and the day's focus expanded to honor veterans from all eras.

But the momentousness of the event 104 years ago today wasn't forgotten. The renamed Veterans Day remains a date specific — Nov. 11 — tribute rather than being shifted to a Monday, three-day weekend holiday.

Providing more than lip service: A U.S. Census Bureau report from 2020 found that nearly 18 million veterans alive in the U.S. That count included more than 3 million veterans each of the Global War on Terror and Gulf War, 6 million veterans of the Vietnam War, and roughly a million veterans of the Korean War.

Too often, we civilians view members of the military and veterans in the abstract. Yes, we often talk about those who serve in glowing terms. However, we don't as often follow up that talk with real actions to help active service personnel, veterans, or their families.

If you're inspired to help today or any other day, you can find some military assistance organizations in my earlier posts on donating directly to military charities and honoring veterans with help beyond Nov. 11 ceremonies. Also check out this post on remembering military families.

Charity Navigator also has compiled a list of nonprofits that support wounded troops services, military social services, and military family assistance.

If you can help, thank you. And be sure to get your thanks at tax-filing time, too. I know most people don't donate simply so they can write the gifts off on their taxes. But making sure you do get a tax benefit, too, does not diminish your goodwill.

To get a tax deduction for any 2022 contributions to Internal Revenue Service-approved charitable groups, military-focused or otherwise, you'll have to itemize and claim your gifts on Schedule A.

There is a slight chance that Congress will reinstate for the 2022 tax year (and beyond) the donation option that was available on 2020 and 2021 taxes to claim a deduction — up to $300 for single filers, and as much as $600 for jointly filing married couples — directly on Form 1040.

State help, too: Uncle Sam obviously offers a variety of military benefits and veterans assistance. So do many states.

Military.com notes that state benefits range from free college and employment resources to free hunting and fishing licenses. The site has compiled a summary of the benefits each state and territory offers. Each summary page also has a link directly to the specific State Department of Veterans Affairs.

From the tax standpoint, many states offer favorable tax treatment of military retirement pay. In fact, several states don't tax military retirement at all. These are in addition to the 8 states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Washington, and Wyoming — that don't have any state income tax. Intuit's TurboTax takes a closer look at military retirement benefits and state taxes.

You also might find these items of interest:

 

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