Military and Veterans Service Alliance
of the Lowcountry South


There are multiple organizations in the Lowcountry that are dedicated to assisting veterans, retirees, and active duty service people.  Active duty service members have a chain of command that has always provided assistance and guidance.  However, for veterans and, sometimes, retirees help is sometimes hard to find.  This website is committed to providing information to connect veterans, retirees, active duty service people, and their families access the assistance they seek.  

The Navy - Marine Corps Relief Society 
has been in existence since 1904.  Its purpose is financial assistance and counseling, Quick Assist Loan (QAL), education assistance, visiting nurse, Budget for Baby, emergency travel, disaster relief, and Thrift Shop.  Financial resources and assistance are available for active duty or retired sailors and marines, eligible family members with military ID card, surviving spouses, and reservists on active duty.

In our area, Navy Relief has offices at both MCRD Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort.  Although neither of the local offices have a Combat Casualty Visiting Nurse Program, there is one in Charleston.  Her contact information is: 

Disability and Pension Claims -There are a number of organizations and individuals in Beaufort County that can or claim they can assist in filing claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for service-connected and non-service connected disabilities.  However, there are only three organizations in the county that have people who are accredited with VA, will assist in preparing and filing claims, and charge nothing for their services.  The principle one of these is the Beaufort County Veterans Affairs Office.  The MCCS Career Resource Management Center also offers claim filing services through their in-house AmVets National Service Officer. Appointments are available at MCCS offices at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, and this service is open to ALL veterans. Finally, the Beaufort chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) also provides this service on a once-a-week basis.  Also, most of the veterans organizations, such as American Legion, VFW, and AmVets, have a person who serves as Service Officer.  This person is normally not accredited with VA but can provide direction. 

Health Care - If you are military or a veteran there are multiple ways to get health care.  For active duty military and dependents, health care is provided free of charge in a military health care facility or through a special insurance-like program.  For retirees and veterans it is a bit more complicated.  Health care for military retirees is covered throughout their lives through some iteration of the Tricare Program.  Eligibility is determined by the uniformed services and reported to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).  All eligible beneficiaries must have their eligibility status recorded in DEERS.  For veterans who are not retired from military service, obtaining health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is even more complex and too complicated to cover here.  Your best source of information is the VA Healthcare Website and the Beaufort County Veterans Affairs Office.  The closest VA Health Care Clinic is located in the US Naval Hospital in Beaufort.

Mental Health/PTSDThe military and the VA are very attuned to the issues of mental health and PTSD, particularly as they relate to combat experiences and sexual abuse.  The VA has been a forerunner in the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD and is now getting more involved in the treatment of sexual abuse.  To find out more of what VA offers, go to the VA website, click on Veteran Services, and look under Health and Well-being.  Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital (Charleston, SC) operates a CBOC out of the US Naval Hospital in Beaufort. In addition to basic primary care, this facility offers mental health services. Coastal Empire Community Mental Health Center and NAMI Lowcountry (SC) both offer services specific to veterans' needs, including veteran support groups and education classes for family members.

Housing - Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is a program offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans and their families for help in obtaining housing.  Family Services Incorporated in Charleston has partnered with Crisis Ministries (a Charleston homeless shelter) to assist very low income veterans in the Lowcountry counties, including Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton) who are currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless without assistance.  Eligible veterans are assisted with securing and maintaining housing. The program provides supportive services and temporary financial assistance with the end goal of helping the veteran reach financial stability and self-sufficiency.  Contact phone number for Crisis Ministries is 843-212-8668; SSVF hotline is 843-737-8389.  Beaufort Housing Authority, Angela Childers Director - Housing Vouchers available for Veterans  (843) 525-7059  One80Place offers rapid re-housing and other support services to veterans in need of housing.  Contact 843-737-8357 or for shelter and housing assistance inquiries.  

Employment - The Lowcountry Economic Alliance and the city of Beaufort teamed up in 2012 to create the Transitional Workforce Educational Assistance Collaborative (TWEAC). Their Military Workforce Liaison is dedicated to helping veterans find job and training opportunities. The MCCS Career Resource Management Center located at MCRD Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort provides extensive transition readiness programs. In an effort to meet the needs of the transitioning Marines in support of "returning quality citizens" the Marine Corps has revised and improved their Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP). TAMP, as part of the Professional and Personal Development Program, is being integrated and mapped into the lifecycle of a Marine from recruitment, through separation or retirement, and beyond as Veteran Marines.  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Employment Services provides resource pages for veterans who are looking to enhance their educations, skills, and careers.  For veterans looking to start their own businesses, the Veteran's Guide to Starting a Small Business offers a business resource section.

Education -  Beaufort County is blessed with two institutions of higher learning with exceptional credentials.  They are the University of South Carolina with campuses in Bluffton and Beaufort, and the Technical College of the Lowcountry with campuses in Beaufort, Bluffton, Hampton County, and Colleton County.  Whale Branch Early College High School in Seabrook is also sponsored by the Technical College. There are personnel at each of these institutions dedicated to providing assistance and guidance to veterans.

Service and Emotional Support Dogs -  Studies have proven that veterans with PTSD and other psychological and emotional disabilities can benefit from a companion animal.  The VA states that such benefit has not been proven and will not fund these dogs.  There are a number of organizations that have sprung up to fill the gap.  Here in Beaufort County that gap is being filled by Operation Saving Jake.  Saving Jake finds suitable dogs, arranges for them to be trained, and matches them up with veterans in need.  Also, Companions for

Other Resources

Healing Heroes of the Lowcountry Fund
provides relief for financial needs that arise during hospitalization and recovery.

Honor Our Heroes Foundation strives to provide life assistance to service members, veterans and their families through direct support and referral services

The Independence Fund provides the tools, therapies and guidance to those veterans severely injured in the Line of Duty who are otherwise not receiving it.

Operation R & R is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping military families of service men and women and "Families of the Fallen" Gold Star spouses and parents to reconnect and reintegrate, deal with the problems of reintegration and in easing post deployment stress.  This is accomplished by providing a complimentary week's vacation in donated rental properties at various affiliate locations, to provide these deserving military families the opportunity to reconnect with their loved ones at little or no cost.

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