Veterans of the U.S. military may need specialized care to deal with common health issues as they age. To help these brave men and women, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has established dozens of programs and services exclusively for veterans.
Outside of the VA, many health care organizations focus on the well-being of veterans. While not affiliated with the government, these organizations provide healing and support to those who served in the military.
Veterans have a wide range of options when seeking health care. Depending on their needs, they can choose to seek traditional medical help from doctors and medical facilities. There are also specialized treatment facilities for various health conditions, such as cancer and mental illness.
It may be difficult for veterans to find doctors and treatment centers that tailor to their needs specifically. That is where veteran support organizations can be a lifeline. These organizations work with veterans to help them access mental and physical care.
Non-profit organizations help connect veterans to mental and physical health care programs, fellow veterans, and additional resources for those who are struggling.
Founded in 1944, this volunteer-based organization helps connect veterans to health care through its HEAL program.
For over 100 years, the American Legion has helped veterans receive medical aid and get associated benefits. The organization has over 2 million members today.
Veterans may need specialized help as they work toward recovery. Fortunately, there are many programs designed for specific veteran groups, such as women, African-Americans, or those who have serious conditions such as mesothelioma.
This VA-affiliated organization — led by former veterans — highlights the contributions that minority veterans have made and seeks to help them receive the best medical care possible.
The Center for Women Veterans (CWV) provides health service information about topics such as menopause and maternity care while showcasing the lives of powerful female veterans.
Support groups allow veterans to work through mental and physical health problems with those who share similar experiences, such as living with PTSD or coping with a disability.
Outside of standard medical care and support organizations, U.S. veterans are entitled to health care benefits through the VA. Veterans have served their country with honor and dignity, and VA benefits are a way for the government to give back.
The VA offers a wide range of health care resources to help veterans and their families. These resources can assist veterans through nearly every stage of their post-service life. The services a veteran qualifies for will depend on their unique needs.
Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are a widespread issue among military veterans. The VA offers medical services to help veterans overcome these specific problems.
Veterans can set up an appointment with a VA mental health provider through their doctor. Free family and one-on-one counseling are available at veterans centers across the country for those who experienced combat.
The VA offers many digital resources to help veterans, including training services, smartphone apps, and a program to connect with mental health counselors online.
Benefit offices help veterans file for VA benefits so they can receive medical care. They also provide information on other services veterans may qualify for.
VA medical centers provide intensive health care and treatment of serious issues. There are roughly 175 primary VA medical centers across the United States.
Doctors, specialists, and other medical staff provide medical care to veterans and their families. However, other important VA personnel can also help veterans get the care they need.
Patient advocates address a veteran’s questions or concerns as they receive medical care. They serve as the connection between veterans and medical providers. Patient advocates can be found at every VA health care center.
Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are agents who can help veterans receive health benefits. These officers are licensed through the VA and usually work for government or veterans organizations. VSOs help veterans file paperwork correctly, organize and collect necessary medical records, and answer questions.
Some attorneys are licensed by the VA to help veterans pursue, file, and appeal health claims. These attorneys do not work for the VA, but they can be just as helpful as a VSO. A VA-accredited attorney may also be able to access care options that you may not have even known about.
Military veterans risked their lives to defend America’s freedoms. They deserve honor, respect, and high-quality medical treatments if they are sick or struggling. Thankfully, the VA allows those who have served in the military to receive care specifically tailored to veterans’ issues.
For the services that the VA does not cover, veterans can seek treatment from traditional health care providers. There are also veteran-centered therapy programs, support groups, and advocacy organizations to help in all aspects of recovery.
If you or someone you love has served in the military — and is now facing mental or physical health issues — these resources can help you get back on their feet.