Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is AMVETS?
AMVETS is one of the nation’s foremost veterans service organizations (VSOs). It stands as a strong and influential advocate for America’s veterans on important issues such as employment and training, mandatory funding for government-provided health care and other benefits to which they are entitled. AMVETS is a 501(c)19 organization.
2. What sets AMVETS apart from other VSOs?
Unlike the other organizations, membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to present, to include those in the National Guard and Reserves.
3. Do you have to serve in combat to be an AMVETS member?
You do not have to be a combat veteran to join. All active duty and honorably discharged military personnel are eligible to become AMVETS members.
4. How much are membership dues?
Annual dues are $30/year when you join online as a ‘Member at Large’ (MAL).
5. What is a Member at Large (MAL)?
When you join online through our website, you are assigned to the state of your choice. You can be a MAL in your home state or the state you are stationed in. MALs have access to all AMVETS canteens and restaurants and can use all of our member discounts. Members at large do not have a vote in AMVETS elections. To be a voting member of AMVETS you must join a Post.
6. How can I join an AMVETS Post?
You can request a transfer from MAL status to a post. If you are ready to be actively involved in our programs to help veterans, please consider joining a post. A list of posts is on our web site under the ‘Membership’ tab in the subheading, ‘Find a Post’. From there, you can contact the post using their information as listed and complete your transfer.
7. How was AMVETS started?
When troops returned to America at the end of WW2 many used their newly earned GI bill benefit to attend college. The GI Bill helped the first generation of middle class Americans achieve a goal usually reserved for the wealthy — a college education. Veterans found they we comfortable with other veterans on campus because of their similar experiences, leading to the formation of veterans’ clubs. These veterans’ clubs became active in shaping American policy and On July 23, 1947 President Harry Truman signed public law 216 which granted a Congressional Charter to AMVETS (American Veterans).
8. My Husband is in the military can I join AMVETS?
Yes! You can join the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary. The Ladies Auxiliary works closely with AMVETS post on programs to help veterans. A link to the Ladies Auxiliary is under the ‘About AMVETS’ Family tab.
9. My Dad was a soldier can I join?
Yes! You can join the Sons of AMVETS. Many posts have sons of AMVETS working closely with the AMVETS members to help support returning veterans. Look under the About AMVETS Family tab for a link to the Sons of AMVETS web site.
10. How can I join the AMVETS Riders?
AMVETS has a strong contingent of veterans that enjoy motorcycles. Find the link for the AMVETS Riders National Headquarters under the ‘About AMVETS’ Family tab on our web site.
11. I don’t have any military members in my family, how can I help veterans?
You can donate to AMVETS through our web site. Your donation is tax deductible because we are a non-profit organization.
12. How many veterans are members of AMVETS?
Aprroximately 180,000. The organization also boasts of 39 state departments and more than 1,150 posts nationally.
13. When was AMVETS formed?
In December 1944. At that time, it was known as the American Veterans of World War II. President Truman signed the organization’s congressional charter in 1947. Since then, the charter has been amended several times to broaden membership eligibility and to change the AMVETS name to simply American Veterans to reflect this universality.
14. Who is AMVETS’ National Commander?
Commander Larry Via, click for bio.
15. Where is AMVETS located?
AMVETS National Headquarters is based in Lanham, Maryland.
16. What is AMVETS mission?
AMVETS is dedicated to supporting veterans and active military, providing community services and preserving freedom.
17. What kinds of services does AMVETS provide?
AMVETS national service officers, accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provide free claims assistance to veterans, their dependents and survivors. AMVETS members also donate countless hours to brighten the lives of hospitalized veterans and promote quality-of-life programs such as Special olympics or scouting.
18. Does AMVETS provide financial support to initiatives outside the organization?
Yes. Over the years, the organization has helped to fund the construction and/or the renovation of such national momuments as the USS Arizona Memorial and the Statue of Liberty.
19. Does AMVETS offer educational scholarships?
Yes. Each year AMVETS awards scholarships totaling $40,000 to high school seniors, ROTC students and veterans pursuing higher education.
20. What issues are important to AMVETS?
Of particular interest are issues related to veteran’s health care and other entitlements, POW/MIA accountability, national defense and flag protection.
21. Where does AMVETS stand on mandatory funding for VA?
Unlike other federal programs such as Medicare and food stamps, VA must annually request an appropriation. As a result, funding shortfalls over the years have left veterans to wonder whether the promises made to them under Title 38 of the U.S. Code would be kept. AMVETS wants to eliminate that uncertainty and make funding of veterans health care mandatory. With our co-authors of The Independent Budget, we’re also working to protect each veterans’ benefits in other areas as well.
22. What is the best way for me to contact AMVETS?
AMVETS offers many ways for you to reach us. Contact info for most AMVETS officers and staff can be found here.
23. Where do I get copies of business documents such as tax exempt information and filings for the National Headquarters?
From our Download Forms Page or from the reference CD which is sent out annually. You may also contact the headquarters finance department via e-mail to secure this information if time is of the essence.
24. What is the annual reference CD and who gets it?
The reference CD is provides key information pertinent to AMVETS for business, programs, communications, membership, etc. While only a limited surplus is printed, when available, members at large can get a disc by contacting the National Headquarters. You can also download individual files in our Download Forms Page.
25. Are their fundraising programs offered by National Headquarters?
Yes, these programs, through individual and corporate support, generate income for the AMVETS mission. For further information, please contact Stewart Hickey via the National Headquarters.
26. Does AMVETS collect monetary donations from phone calls?
Yes, at this time, AMVETS does collect monetary donations via phone calls. It is important to us that our partners try to employ veterans and their immediate family members to support our efforts. We are pleased to say we partner with The Heritage Company and Harris Connect, paid professional campaign managers who share our core beliefs, to solicit funds on AMVETS’s behalf in a secure and professional environment. The funds generated are under AMVETS sole control and both companies are paid on an hourly basis so the most benefit is delivered to veterans programs. AMVETS understands that all costs must be paid with this charitable appeal made on their behalf, including the cost of all printed material and postage, which are expenses of the appeal, as well.
Per our most current IRS form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service, 65 percent of all funds collected in this process go to veterans service programs provided by AMVETS, 30 percent to fundraising and 5 percent to management. This process has been filling a large need in AMVETS’ annual budget, keeping it in the private sector without it costing the government.
We have representatives in VA offices in almost every state to help veterans with the VA claim process and to advocate their cases. We have many programs from essential kits and DVD’s for the troops, scholarships for education, and more. Please browse our web-site for more information about AMVETS programs that assist all American Veterans and the general public and again, thank you for reaching out to us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond to requests such as yours.
You can also leave comments for the editorial staff of American Veteran Magazine on the magazine’s blog, http://amvetshq.tumblr.com, or you can subscribe to the official AMVETS group on Facebook. As online social media evolves, you will see AMVETS pop up in a variety of new places.