The United States Department of Veterans Services, otherwise known as the Veterans Administration defines a service-connected disability as an injury or illness that was caused or exacerbated during active military duty. These disabilities can be physical, mental, or a combination. Of course, veterans with disabilities, like all people, need to take care of many aspects of their lives.
If a current or former service member believes they have a qualifying service-connected disability, the Veterans Administration goes through a process to determine how disabled the veteran is and what the likely causes of the disability were. During the process in which the VA confirms that the disability is service-connected, and after, the veteran must navigate the paperwork and bureaucracy of obtaining their benefits.
This article will outline the different types of assistance available to veterans with service-connected disabilities, including organizations that help them find and obtain their benefits.
The Veteran’s Administration is the place to start when it comes to veteran benefits. They are American veterans’ primary health care, disability payment, and pension provider. The VA is the veterans’ hub for health care. The VA has staff who help its clients with their benefits.
However, often veterans, especially those with service-connected disabilities, need more help than the VA can give. Knowing what needs to be done, when, and how, to fully access the services a vet needs can be tricky. Organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Military Order of the Purple Heart provide free assistance in coordinating and filing claims with the VA.
- The Veterans’ Administration. 800-698-2411.
- American Legion. 800-433-3318.
- VFW. 406 W. 34th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. 833-VFW-VETS.
- Military Order of the Purple Heart. 31 Hopkins Plaza #1237, Baltimore, MD. 410-230-4460.
Coping with stress and mental health is a real issue for veterans, especially those who received a service-connected disability. For some, mental struggles are more challenging than physical ones. Fortunately for veterans, there are many services, both inside and outside of the VA, for those who need counseling and support.
The Veterans’ Administration runs Vet Centers around the country. Although these clinics do provide counseling and psychological therapy, the centers are non-medical settings. The staff at these facilities specializes in the issues and traumas most common among those who have served in war such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or military sexual trauma (MST).
Other organizations, like the Wounded Warrior Project as well as other national and regional organizations, provide mental health counseling for veterans outside of the VA system. Charities like K9s for Warriors train service dogs who become partners with their veteran owners coping with mental health issues.
If you are a veteran in crisis, please call for help now. Dial 988 for a crisis line. Vets4Warriors is available 24 hours a day at 855-838-8255 to offer peer support for current and former military members.
- Vet Centers. Call 877-927-8387 for location information.
- Wounded Warrior Project. 1120 G Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC. 877-TEAM-WWP.
- K9s for Warriors. 904-686-1956
Some veterans need to decompress, reconnect with the world back home, and feel more grounded after their tour or service is completed. There are organizations ready to help veterans and their families with their mission to feel like themselves. If you are looking for help with the spiritual aspects of living as a veteran, look at organizations like Operation Restored Warrior, National Center for Healthy Veterans, and We Honor Veterans.
Project Sanctuary, for example, is a retreat for military members and their families. The National Military Family Association offers supportive services, such as help with child care and camp for children of military members.
- Project Sanctuary. P.O. Box 1563, Granby, CO 80446.
- National Military Family Association. 2800 Eisenhower Ave. Suite 250, Alexandria, VA. 703-931-6632.
- Operation Restored Warrior. 6660 Delmonico Drive, Suite D, Box 477, Colorado Springs, CO.
- National Center for Healthy Veterans. 980 Wards Road, Altavista, VA. 888-317-4677.
Every adult has to take care of an assortment of general responsibilities. From managing money to maintaining a home to getting an education, to obtaining work, there are resources out there for vets. Many of the organizations that assist veterans with their medical concerns, like the VFW and American Legion, also provide services for other life issues. Even if those organizations do not provide the assistance you need, they can often provide a referral to an organization that does.