Active-duty, Guard or reserve service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn deserve a smooth transition back to civilian life. To thank service members for their sacrifice, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides a variety of services and benefits, such as:
- Ongoing medical insurance
- Tuition assistance
- Options to keep your life insurance
- Readjustment counseling
If you’re a separating combat veteran, take advantage of the VA’s new outreach program and make sure you’re well informed about your benefits.
Find out about the VA’s services through the Transition Assistance Program, which offers classes to keep transitioning service members up to date on VA information and other benefits. Spouses are invited to these classes, too. Contact your installation Transition Assistance Program office for class schedules and information. Military OneSource also offers the Transitioning Veterans specialty consultation and the Military Spouse Transition Program to further assist service members and their spouses.
Special service member and veteran groups can get information about VA programs through:
- Transition assistance for Guard and reserve members. The VA is reaching out to transitioning Guard and reserve members at their demobilization sites. Veterans trained by the VA to be National Guard Bureau liaisons are in every state to help veterans transition back to the life of a civilian. VA’s Returning Service Members website has tips and suggestions for adjusting.
- Disabled Transition Assistance Program. For transitioning service members with medical disabilities, the VA’s Disabled Transition Assistance Program covers disability compensation, medical services and vocational rehabilitation. Visit the program’s website for details.
- Transition assistance for wounded service members and their families. For severely injured service members, the VA provides special liaisons at military hospitals who have information on health care, disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation and employment. Before discharge, coordinators help smooth the transition from the military medical center to VA services closest to the veteran’s home.
Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans can access medical benefits through the VA for up to two years after discharge, including hospital care, outpatient health care, preventive care and nursing home services. The Returning Service Member website will tell you more. The program extends to seriously injured service members at hospitals and medical centers so that all service members are kept informed.
Other services for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn veterans include:
- Readjustment counseling. Mental health teams at VA medical centers focus on early identification and management of stress-related disorders. Combat veterans work as readjustment counselors to help service members with military-related transitions. Visit the Vet Center Program website for details.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder program. The VA’s PTSD programs around the country help veterans cope with any symptoms of PTSD or combat stress. These counseling programs provide easy access to services not directly connected to traditional VA medical centers. Visit the National Center for PTSD to see what’s available near you.
People who care for injured service members and veterans need support, too, and they can find it through VA Caregiver Support service. Resources include a caregiver toolbox, tips and information on the challenges of caregiving, a caregiver support line, and guidance for finding local caregiver support. Special services are available for caregivers of post 9/11 veterans. Check out Services for Caregivers of Post 9/11 Veterans for more details and to see if you qualify.
Other Veterans Affairs benefits and services
Many VA benefits and services extend to both service members and veterans, regardless of your disability status. Here you’ll find a listing of VA benefits and services. Also, be sure to check out VA programs for service members with disabilities.
You earned your benefits through your service. Take advantage of these programs to successfully transition to your civilian life. Start by visiting the Transition Assistance Program website.