Dems Fight to Make VA Health Care Enrollment Easier for New Veterans
From the American Prospect,
CHRISTOPHER FRYER/NEWS AND TRIBUNE VIA AP
Army veteran Matt Thomason, who suffered from PTSD after serving in Afghanistan, stands by the Global War on Terrorism memorial at Wilkerson Park in downtown Sellersburg, Indiana, June 2016.
When men and women leave the U.S. military, the road back to civilian life can be bumpy. Some have major readjustment challenges, which can leave some of them unemployed, homeless, or suicidal due to untreated medical conditions.
Over the past two decades, Congress has tried to make this transition smoother. The Department of Defense (DOD) is now required to offer job search counseling before soldiers leave the service. All former military personnel who served in combat in post-9/11 wars are guaranteed five years of free medical care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In offices co-located on the military installation, congressionally chartered veterans service organizations (VSOs) help eligible veterans access these and other VA benefits.
Thousands of veterans would transition more smoothly from combat to civilian life if they were automatically enrolled for VHA medical care when they leave the DOD payroll, while remaining responsible for later proving their individual eligibility for continued VHA care, which is based on low income, a service-related medical problem, or other qualifying fact