The American Legion is America’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization. AL was founded by Congress in 1919. The organization advocates for patriotism and honor. AL promotes the need for strong national security, is committed to mentoring youth and sponsors programs in local communities.
AL evolved from a group of World War I veterans into one of the country’s most influential nonprofit groups. Current membership stands at almost two million, with more than 12,000 posts in the U.S. AL 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, World War I veterans’ efforts helped create the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which was the predecessor of the current Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, AL continues its original 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 AL is committed to helping veterans and their families understand and apply for Veterans Affairs benefits. In addition to this, the AL is committed to improving the quality of life of the communities where veterans reside. Unlike other veteran organizations like WWP, DAV or even AMVETS, AL offers several types of youth programs, ranging from baseball to debate clubs.
Community programs sponsored and curated by the AL focus on how the lives of veterans and their families can be directly improved. This includes providing resources, such as family support, an amateur radio program, an initiative for homeless veterans and more.
On a national level, AL is committed to advocating for veteran rights. This also includes a decided interest in flag preservation, voting programs and citizenship lobbying efforts.
How Does the American Legion Help with Veterans Benefits Claims?
AL provides the services that guide veterans to the benefits assistance they need.
Service officers help connect veterans with appropriate resources to help them file claims.
The AL’s benefits calculator is available to help individual veterans understand the benefits that might be available to them. There is a state benefits calculator that 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 AL knows that service members do not do it alone and provides the following family support services:
- Operation Comfort Warriors provides comfort items and recreational experiences for recovering service members.
- Family Support Network has on-hand resources for families who require financial assistance
For female veterans, the AL offers resources relating to military sexual trauma (MST) and gender-specific health care information.
Discounts for active-duty and retired service members and their families help veterans and service members 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 and Services?
Honorably discharged veterans who have served in the military in some capacity since Dec. 7, 1941, or active duty service members are eligible to join. Service members from the National Guard or Reserves whose units were activated until Title 10 orders are also 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 AL is as much about helping veterans as it is about working hard to create communities. In addition to the offer of benefit assistance, the AL exists because of grassroots efforts to keep improving the lives of veterans and their families. While other organizations, such as DAV and AMVETS, are directly focused on veteran assistance claims, the AL extrapolates on that mission and tries its best to reach veterans, both when they are in need and when they are not.