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At risk of losing everything

Jennifer Alvarado joined the Navy in 2001 to serve as a hospital corpsman. Unfortunately, Jennifer experienced military sexual trauma (MST) during her time of service, yet she tried her best to keep going.

“The Navy instilled in me honor, courage and commitment. And, I don’t know how to move anywhere other than forward,” she said.

After her honorable discharge from the military, Jennifer noticed how much her post-traumatic stress disorder from the MST was affecting her and her family’s everyday life. 

“When you have PTSD, it’s a physical and mental response to certain situations. I don’t care to go to the mall because it’s large groups of people and I can’t pay attention to my kids and my surroundings,” said Jennifer. 

Due to PTSD and other health issues, she had an initial disability rating and was already receiving health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Yet trying to provide for four children without employment had pushed Jennifer to the brink, and she was at risk of homelessness, unable to make her rent.

That’s when Jennifer turned to DAV for help and met benefits advocate Joe Kauffman.

“When I first started working with Jennifer, her claim was a mess and her benefits were in jeopardy of being cut off. I was able to have her claim flashed for homelessness. The increase in benefits allowed her to remain in her residence,” said Kauffman. “Helping Jennifer regain financial stability was one of the most rewarding things I have done. She has faced so many challenges in her life since her time on active duty, and I was happy to remove some of the burdens she carries.”

A lighter load has helped Jennifer focus on raising her children and continue to heal—and now be a voice for other disabled veterans.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t have the help and support that they need,” she said. “I’m at a point where I am still healing my trauma, you know, still on my healing journey. But I want to use my voice and my story to encourage and support other veterans like DAV has supported me.”

Disabled veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness like Jennifer Alvarado have sacrificed in service to our country.

Will you join DAV to help our nation's heroes access the benefits they need and deserve? Give today at

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