The Nathan Hale Veterans Outreach Centers 
Plymouth and Middleboro

NEW TO THE VA WEBSITE

http://www.va.gov/opa/newtova.asp

New to VA

Welcome to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and thank you for your service to our country. The VA was established for one purpose

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan…"– by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.

Abraham Lincoln

Benefits and Services Available

VA provides a wide range of benefits including, Disability, Education and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Home Loan Guaranty, Dependant and Survivor Benefits, Medical Treatment, Life Insurance and Burial Benefits. VA Benefits in Brief is a printable document that provides an at-a-glance description of VA benefits, as well as contact phone numbers and locations.

Eligibility for VA Benefits

You may be eligible for VA benefits if you are a:

  • Veteran, Veteran's dependent
  • Surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased Veteran
  • Uniformed service member
  • Present or former reservist or National Guard member

How to Apply for VA Benefits

VA has several ways to apply for your benefits depending on your category and status.

  • 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 (Titles 10 and 32). Read more on the Pre-Discharge Program.

  • The VONAPP (Veterans On Line Application)

  • The VONAPP web site 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. In addition VSO's (Veteran Service Organizations) can assist you as well by answering general question and even petitioning on your behalf for services they believe you are qualified to receive.


RETURNING HOME 

 

What should I keep an eye out for after transitioning from service?

Take the next step – Make the connection.

Returning to civilian life presents new opportunities—and challenges—for Veterans. Many Veterans look forward to life after the military because they can spend more time with family and friends and no longer have to worry about military structure or deployment. At the same time, transitioning out of the military may raise a lot of questions. You may wonder what you are going to do with this new phase of your life, or whether you will be able to find a job. You may think about going back to school, but not know where to start. Or you may miss the order and discipline of military life (compared with civilian life) and wonder if you will be able to adjust.

If you are a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you may be worried about transitioning from military service back into a civilian workplace. Will you return to the same position with the same responsibilities? Will your colleagues understand what you’ve been through and welcome you back?

Your experiences in the service—both positive and negative—may have made you a different person than you were before you entered, and changed the way you look at things and deal with people. If you were in combat or experienced stressful or traumatic situations, you may have developed habits that helped you cope in those situations, but could be misunderstood or problematic in civilian life.

“I definitely have a lot more freedom in civilian life but at the same time I feel some instability.     

Without the structure, order, and camaraderie I had with my unit, I felt exposed.               

 It was a bumpy road back but the Vet Center has really helped me adjust.”


As you adjust to your transition from the military, you may:

  • Feel uncomfortable with the lack of structure and goals compared with military life

  • Miss the adrenaline rush of physical and life-challenging situations

  • Worry about your finances

  • Push yourself to be perfect in work and other areas of your life

  • Become annoyed with others who seem more easy-going or less detail-oriented than you

  • Feel isolated and alone, as if no one understands you

There are steps you can take to help you cope with the challenges you may face during your military to civilian transition. A healthy lifestyle can go a long way to helping you stay physically and emotionally fit and improve your overall well-being.

What should I keep an eye out for after transitioning from service?

Most Veterans go through some period of adjustment while transitioning from service and military life, but ultimately find their new roles fulfilling. Some people deal with the transition in ways that make it difficult to enjoy life or to be successful in the civilian world. Some Veterans experience the following:

It’s unrealistic to think that those of us who have spent time in the military can instantly readjust to civilian life. Recognizing that was very helpful for me as I was getting out.”

Frequently feeling on edge or tense

Having difficulty concentrating

Feeling angry or irritable

Having trouble sleeping

Feeling down for weeks or months

Some of the challenges that come with transitioning from the military can be difficult or stressful and can put a strain on your relationships. You might find it hard to enjoy the things you usually like doing. You may be having a tough time dealing with the death of friends with whom you served. Chronic pain or other medical conditions may pose additional challenges.

What can I do about issues related to transitioning from service?

Going from something familiar, like military life, to something new and different can be challenging, but there are things you can do to help you be successful.

Remember to:

  • Reach out to other Veterans or Veterans’ groups for social support

  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy meals

  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing

  • Recognize that others may not always agree with you or understand your military service; agree to disagree

  • Be prepared for insensitive questions or topics of conversation; practice how to respond ahead of time

  • Respectfully decline to talk about things that make you uncomfortable

  • Have a plan of action for your adjustment that includes a list of goals for your transition, your future, and your personal life

  • Try to get a good night’s sleep

  • Avoid unhealthy “quick fixes” that you think may help you cope, such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking cigarettes

  • In addition, for National Guard members and Reservists, there are a few things you can do to help ease the transition back into your job:

  • Contact your supervisor before you return to work and discuss your responsibilities, changes in personnel, and new policies or projects

  • Anticipate changes and be patient

  • Avoid taking charge, and realize that your co-workers had to take on some of your responsibilities while you were away

  • Talk to other National Guard members or Reservists to learn how they handled their return to work

  • Make sure you understand your health coverage and get any benefits reinstated promptly

Talking to your family and friends about your experiences can be helpful as you deal with your transition. They will get a better understanding of what you are going through and may be able to provide you with support.

Take the next step – Make the connection!

Every day, Veterans who served in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard connect with proven resources, services, and support to address the issues impacting their lives. If transitioning from service is interfering with your health and well-being or getting in the way of your relationships, daily responsibilities, work or ability to study, you may want to reach out for support.

Consider connecting with:

  • Your family doctor: Ask if your doctor has experience treating Veterans or can refer you to someone who does

  • A mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor

  • Your local VA Medical Center or Vet Center: VA specializes in the care and treatment of Veterans

  • A spiritual or religious advisor

Explore these resources for helping Veterans

address transition-related issues.

Learn more about the possible associations between transitioning to civilian life and other concerns such as feeling on edge, relationship problems, posttraumatic stress, and depression.

VA GI Bill Website
This website is the home for all educational benefits provided by VA. It offers tools and resources to help Veterans pursue college degrees, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or nondegree programs.
http://www.gibill.va.gov/

Moving Forward: Overcoming Life’s Challenges
Moving Forward is a free, online educational and life-coaching program that teaches problem-solving skills to help you better handle life’s challenges. While it’s designed to be especially helpful for Veterans, Service members, and their families, Moving Forward teaches skills that can be useful to anyone with stressful problems.
http://www.startmovingforward.org/

afterdeployment.org
Discover resources especially for Veterans and Service members related to job performance, making the transition to civilian life, and recognizing other issues you may be dealing with.
http://www.afterdeployment.org/topics-work-adjustment

Real Warriors
Featuring real stories of Service members who have reached out for support, this campaign was launched by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery, and supporting reintegration of returning Service members, Veterans, and their families.
http://www.realwarriors.net/

In Transition
This voluntary program provides be­havioral health care support to Service members and Veterans as they move between health care systems or providers. Enrollment in the program only takes one toll-free phone call to 800-424-7277. Personal coaches, along with resources and tools, assist Service members and Veterans during the transition period, empower them to make healthy life choices, and are available 24/7. The program helps those returning from deployment; transitioning to or from active duty; Service members separating from the military or temporarily relocating; wounded warriors transitioning back home following care at military treatment facilities, VA facilities, or Warrior Transition Units; and those changing health care systems or providers due to a permanent change of station.
http://www.health.mil/inTransition/default.aspx

Vet Center
If you are a combat Veteran or if you experienced any sexual trauma during your military service, bring your DD214 to your local Vet Center and speak with a counselor or therapist—many of whom are Veterans themselves—for free, without an appointment, and regardless of your enrollment status with VA.
http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter_flsh.asp

VA Medical Center Facility Locator
Some problems that arise after you transition might be signs of health-related conditions that need attention. This link will allow you to search for VA programs located near you. If you are eligible to receive care through the Veterans Health Administration, you can enroll in one of VA’s treatment programs.
http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp?isflash=1

Related Symptoms

Guilt

Feeling on Edge

Stress and Anxiety

Relationship Problems

View all Signs & Symptoms

Related Conditions

PTSD

Depression