Chartered by Congress in 1919, the American Legion (AL) is America’s largest wartime veterans service organization. AL advocates for patriotism and honor, promotes the need for strong national security, and is committed to mentoring youth and sponsors programs in local communities.
The Legion has evolved from a group of WWI veterans into one of the country’s most influential nonprofit groups. Current membership stands at almost 2 million, with more than 13,000 posts across the world. American Legion posts are organized into 55 departments. There is one post for each state and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines.
In 1921, WWI veterans’ efforts helped create the US Veterans Bureau, which was the predecessor of the current Veteran’s Administration. Today, AL continues its origin mission by lobbying for adequate funding to cover medical, disability, and education benefits for veterans.
How Does the American Legion Support Our Military Community?
The American Legion is committed to helping veterans, and their families understand and apply for VA benefits. In addition to providing this service, the American Legion is committed to improving the quality of life of the communities where veterans reside. Unlike other veteran organizations like WWP, DAV, or even AMVETS, American Legion offers several types of youth programs, ranging from baseball to debate clubs.
Community programs sponsored and curated by the American Legion focus on how the lives of veterans and their families can be directly improved. This includes providing resources including family support, amateur radio, and others.
On a national level, American Legion is committed to advocating for veteran rights. This also includes a decided interest in flag preservation, voting programs, and citizenship lobbying efforts.
Does the American Legion Help with Veterans Benefits Claims?
American Legion provides the services that guide them to the benefit assistance they need.
Service Officers help connect veterans with appropriate resources to help them file claims.
American Legion’s benefits calculator is available to help individual veterans understand the benefits that might be available to them. State benefits calculator which lists veteran benefits by state.
Veterans Career Center helps veterans connect with employers who understand the skills veterans can bring to their new civilian roles
Education Center is a college search engine powered by CollegeRecon for veterans interested in exploring higher education
Veteran Health Center explores the services available to veterans and advocates for timely, high-quality care
Family and Support Center of the American Legion knows that servicemembers don’t do it alone and provides the following family support services:
- Operation Comfort Warriors provides comfort items, and recreational experiences for recovering servicemembers
- Family Support Network has on-hand resources for families who require financial assistance
For female veterans, the American Legion offers resources relating to military sexual trauma (MST) and gender-specific healthcare information.
Discounts for active duty and retired servicemembers and their families help veterans and servicemembers get the best prices possible for items they routinely use. These military discounts include everything from vehicle rentals to moving and relocation fees to retail discounts and travel options.
Who Is Eligible for American Legion Membership & Services?
Honorably discharged veterans who have served in the military in some capacity since December 7, 1941, or active duty servicemembers are eligible to join. Servicemembers from the National Guard and/or Reserves whose units were activated until Title 10 Orders are eligible to participate.
Each local post determines the cost of its dues. New members who join through the National Headquarters are offered discounted intro rates and are automatically placed in the State Headquarters Post in the state in which they reside. The national average for dues is around $40 annually. Find out more here.
How Does the American Legion Compare to Similar Organizations?
The American Legion is as much about helping veterans as it is about working hard to create communities. In addition to the offer of benefit assistance, the American Legion exists because of grassroots efforts to keep improving the lives of veterans and their families. While other organizations like DAV and AMVETS are directly focused on veteran assistance claims, the American Legion extrapolates on that mission and tries its best to reach veterans both when they’re in need and when they’re not.