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South Central VA Health Care Network


Returning Combat Veterans

Welcome Home and Thank You for Serving!

Picture of soldier holding American flag.

South Central VA Health Care Network (VISN 16) is grateful to the men and women who risk their lives to fight terrorism in Afghanistan, Iraq and many other places around the world.

VISN 16 is honored to serve our nation's Veterans and offer a wide range of health care services for returning combat veterans. VA Medical Centers will provide two years of free health care after discharge from active service for any health problem possibly related to service in designated areas of military conflict.

If you are a Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom and live near a VISN 16 medical center, please visit the VA nearest you and enroll for health care.

We want you to know about the VA services available to you and to help you access the OEF/OIF point of contact for your area. VISN 16 has the following designated OEF/OIF points of contact for Veterans at each facility to help with the application process.

VISN 16 is proud to assist in the health care needs of our Veterans.

The first step after returning home from deployment is to: Register with the VA

Why register with the VA?

Medical and Mental Health Benefits

Veterans, including activated Reservists and members of the National Guard, are eligible for VA care if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. Health benefits include cost-free VA health care and medications provided for conditions potentially related to combat service for 5 years after discharge. VA provides general and specialized health care services to meet the unique needs of Veterans returning from combat deployments. You get access not only to health care but also to vocational help, family counseling, contact with vet support groups, and other medical or mental health support when you need it.

Dental Benefits

Veterans who served on active duty 90 days or more are eligible to receive one-time VA dental benefits if they make an application to VA within 180 days post discharge from active duty and if their discharge form (DD Form 214) does not indicate necessary dental treatment had been provided within 90 days of release from active duty.

Non-Health Benefits

Other benefits available from the Veterans Benefits Administration may include: financial benefits, home loans, vocational rehabilitation, education, and more.

Why a mental health appointment?

We know that duty in a combat zone can be very stressful and sometimes the effects of that stress carry over into civilian life. Some Veterans are aware themselves of having adjustment issues; others hear about it from those close to them. Whether it is difficulties with transitioning home or over using substances, like alcohol, to numb the distress, we want to provide you with a safe, confidential setting where you can talk about any of these kinds of issues and get help for them if you need it.

What can I expect at my mental health appointment?

You can expect a comprehensive interview by a mental health professional who has been specially trained about the issues facing newly returning Veterans. You can expect to be listened to in a caring, respectful way. You can expect clear information about whether your problems are expectable, temporary ones or whether they are more complicated. You can expect a definite plan to get you the help that you need.

What other information should I know?

Contact the Veterans Affairs Regional office to file claims for combat-related illnesses and injuries at 1-800-827-1000.

The Veterans Crisis Line

* Some Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs web site. VA is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.