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Connecting with VA
Resources to Support the Care You Provide to Veterans

A woman selecting a resource on a virtual screen.VA has many resources available to support Veterans in many areas of their lives. We encourage you and your client to work together to identify what information could be most helpful to him or her. To do this, we have provided a brief Resource Plan that you can complete with your client to assess potential needs and match resources. We have included contact info on many of the services listed below on the resource plan itself so that it can be used as a quick reference tool.

Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

OEF/OIF/OND Program Teams and Managers

If you have questions regarding additional resources available to Veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF), Iraqi Freedom (OIF), or New Dawn (OND) you can contact the OEF/OIF/OND care management team at your nearest VA Medical Center. The OEF/OIF/OND care management teams often have a wealth of knowledge about the resources (for example, financial and how to file for service connection or benefits) for which your client may be eligible. You can work with the care management team members to access these resources for your client.

Find out where your local VA OEF/OIF/OND Team is located. For additional information on programs available to OEF/OIF/OND Veterans please see: http://www.oefoif.va.gov/. You can also call the VA Health Benefits Line for more information: 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

There are also programs that provide support for family members of returning Veterans:

Support at Vet Centers (Readjustment Counseling Services)

If a Veteran has served in ANY combat zone, local Vet Centers can help the Veteran and his or her family with readjustment counseling and outreach services for free.

The central role of peer counseling and differences in confidentiality policies can be aspects that make the Vet Centers an attractive referral for individual or group counseling.

Established by Congress in 1979, Vet Centers are community based and part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. There are 232 community-based Vet Centers. The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible Veterans in order to help them make a satisfying post-war readjustment to civilian life. Generally, combat Veterans and Veterans who have experienced military sexual trauma (combat and non-combat related) are eligible for care at the Vet Centers. Vet Centers are also often staffed by a number of recently separated Veterans who have served in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn.

Support for Family Caregivers of Veterans

Each VA medical center offers a menu of services and resources for Family Caregivers of Veterans including home care, respite, support, and training. A Caregiver Support Program, coordinated by a Caregiver Support Coordinator who serves as the clinical expert on VA and non-VA supports and resources for Family Caregivers, is also available to provide Family Caregivers with support and link them to appropriate resources. Additional benefits and services are available to Family Caregivers of eligible post 9/11 Veterans, injured in the line of duty.

For additional information, please contact your local Caregiver Support Coordinator, visit http://www.caregiver.va.gov, or contact the Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274.

Coaching Into Care (Support for Family and Friends of Veterans)

Coaching Into Care provides a "coaching" service for family and friends of Veterans who see that their Veteran needs help. Coaching involves helping the caller figure out how to motivate their Veteran to seek services. The service is free and provided by licensed clinical social workers and psychologists. The goal of the service is to help the Veteran and family members find the appropriate services in their community.

For additional information, please visit http://www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching/index.asp, or contact the Coaching into Care Call Center at 1-888-823-7458(M-F, 8AM-8PM EST).

Disability/Service Connection

Veterans that you see in your practice may also be eligible for service connection: benefits related to sustaining an injury related to their military service. To pursue service connection, a Veteran can file either online or with his or her local Veterans Service Organization (VSO) at the local regional office. Below we have listed these agencies with contact information.

The Pre-Discharge Program:
A joint VA and Department of Defense (DoD) program that affords Service Members the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full time National Guard or Reserve duty.

The VONAPP (Veterans On Line Application) The eBenefits website is an official VA web site that enables Service Members, Veterans and their beneficiaries, and other designated individuals to apply for benefits using the Internet. Apply at your Local Regional Offices.

VA regional offices can assist you with filing the appropriate VA forms.

Housing Needs and Homelessness

Housing needs can be urgent. Below are National VA resources to help Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We also suggest contacting your nearest VA Medical Center and requesting to speak to either the point person for the homeless Veterans program or to a mental health provider to discuss possible additional local VA or community housing or homelessness resources.

Veterans and care providers can call 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838) for information and aid. This information is also available at http://www.va.gov/homeless/nationalcallcenter.asp.

Download the National VA Homeless Resource Guide MS Word / PDF .

Women Veterans experiencing homelessness: The Department of Labor recently released Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers. At the back of this "Trauma Guide" is a resource list that includes resources for homelessness.

Student Veterans

If the Veteran that you are working with is a student, there are additional resources specifically for this group. The post-911 GI Bill has resulted in increased numbers of Veterans attending colleges and universities.

The Student Veterans of America (SVA) have also created materials for creating a Veteran friendly campus.

My HealtheVet

My HealtheVet is the VA's Personal Health Record. It was designed for Veterans, active duty Service Members, their dependents and Caregivers. It also allows the Veteran to communicate securely with his or her primary care doctor.

Other VA Online Resources

Make the Connection
Make the connection covers a range of symptoms and conditions that Veterans may experience such as insomnia, anger, depression, pain, and PTSD. Veterans and providers can watch videos of Veterans telling their stories, download information materials on these signs and conditions, and can learn more about connecting to care.

Learn about posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from Veterans who live with it every day. Hear their stories. Find out how treatment turned their lives around.

National Center for PTSD
This website is a goldmine of information and resources on readjustment and PTSD for Veterans and their families and providers. It includes informational handouts, assessments, and video trainings (some which provide CEU credit).

PTSD Coach -- Smartphone App
The PTSD coach is a phone application for iphone and Android. It was developed by the National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense and provides tools for assessing and coping with PTSD symptoms.

DoD Online Resources

After Deployment
This website provides information and resources on conditions impacting Veterans and their families. Veterans can engage in workshops on various conditions, learning more about how to assess and cope with symptoms. There is also a provider portal that provides information on conditions, assessments, and materials for working with a range of mental health conditions. In addition, it provides information on resilience and fostering resilience as well.

Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP)
The Center for Deployment Psychology provides materials and information on deployment related behavioral health services and treatment for military Service Members and their families. They also provide online coursework on treatments.

DCoE for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury
The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) is a groundbreaking collaborative effort that includes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), civilian agencies, community leaders, advocacy groups, clinical experts and academic institutions that are dedicated to expanding the state of knowledge of psychological health and TBI. The DCoE website provides clinicians, warriors, families, and Veterans with information and resources about psychological health and traumatic brain injuries. The joint goal of this center of excellence is to maximize opportunities for warriors and families to thrive through a collaborative global network to promote resilience, recovery, and reintegration.

Military OneSource
Military OneSource is a free service provided by the Department of Defense to Service Members and their families to help with a broad range of concerns including money management, spouse employment and education, parenting and child care, relocation, deployment, reunion, and the particular concerns of families with special-needs members. They can also include more complex issues like relationships, stress, and grief. Services are available 24 hours a day -- by telephone and online. Many Military OneSource staff members have military experience (Veterans, spouses, Guardsmen, Reservists), and all receive ongoing training on military matters and military lifestyle. The program can be especially helpful to Service Members and their families who live at a distance from installations.

"We encourage you and your client to work together to identify what information could be most helpful to him or her. "