Returning Service Members
Our Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) / Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) / Operation New Dawn (OND) program is tailored to meet the specific health care needs of our newest Veterans. Some of the many services OEF/OIF/OND Vetearns can access through this program include:
- Primary Care
- Dental Care
- Vision Care
- Behavioral Health Care
- Psychological Services
- Family Benefits Counseling
- Referral Assistance
Veterans have five years from their date of discharge to receive free health care for any combat-related condition. After the five years, a co-payment status will depend on whether your illness or injury is found to be service-connected.
Combat Veterans—including activated Reservists and members of the National Guard—are eligible if:
- they served on active duty in a theater of combat operation during a period of war after the Gulf War, or in combat against a "hostile" force during a period of hostilities after Nov. 11, 1998.
- their discharge classification was honorable, general or under honorable conditions.
- they were ordered to active duty by federal declaration, served the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty, and have separated from active military service on honorable, general or under honorable conditions.
- they were discharged from active duty before Jan. 28, 2003, and applied for enrollment on or after Jan. 28, 2008 (they are eligible for these enhanced benefits until Jan. 27, 2011).
Helping Our Heroes Return Home
Dedicated VISN 4 staff are available to help returning Servicemembers obtain the health care and support they need when transitioning back to their homes and civilian lives. Watch DJ's story below to learn more about available services.
William Cress | 724-496-6770
Transition Patient Advocates
Bill Smathers | 412-551-9651
Every VISN 4 VA medical center supports a team of medical experts devoted to helping OEF/OIF/OND Veterans adjust to civilian life. For more information, contact the program coordinator listed below for the facility closest to you.
Veterans can also receive care at one of the network's 11 VA Vet Centers. These centers offer adjustment and outreach services to any Veteran who served in a combat zone. The centers also aid family members struggling with military-related issues.
To learn more or locate a VA Vet Center nearest you, go to www.vetcenter.va.gov
- Military service documentation that reflects service in a combat theater
- Receipt of combat service medals
- Receipt of imminent danger, hostile fire pay or tax benefits
Special Eligibility and Coordination of Care for Combat Veterans Serving in Combat Theater After 11/11/1998- Returning Servicemembers (OEF/OIF/OND)
VA is ready to provide health care and other medical services to our nation's returning OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers. The VA Healthcare-VISN 4 has a team ready to welcome OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers and to help coordinate their care. For more information about the various programs available for recent returning service members, log on to the Returning Servicemembers web site.
Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations also have special eligibility for VA health care. Under the "Combat Veteran" authority VA provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6 or higher for 5 years from the date of discharge or release from active duty, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group.
Combat Veterans who enroll with VA under this enhanced Combat Veteran authority will continue to be enrolled even after their enhanced eligibility period ends, although they may be shifted to Priority Group 7 or 8, depending on their income level, and required to make applicable copays. Additionally, for care not related to combat service, copays may be required depending on their financial assessment and other special eligibility factors.
NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these Veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.