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step 2: Go get your VA card now

“My out-processing was much shorter and briefer than the usual classes so I lost a lot of info. One thing I remember they didn’t say was to check in at the

For additional information on the transi-

VA hospital at once. Location of Vet Centers would have been useful since

tion process for military families, check out

they have all the info we needed” (Anonymous, 2007).

this guide put out by the National Center for PTSD in 2006. You can download or print the

At the time that I got out of the military, you didn’t

your nearest VA hospital or Vet Center and register.

see many young vets. When I went to the VA hos-

Remember: Most VA outpatient clinics do not allow

pital everybody assumed I was a dependent or a

you to register there. The outpatient clinics are best

spouse. To get my VA card I had to literally scream at

for follow up appointments and are often found in

the VA hospital worker because she was refusing to

rural communities. It is best to go to a VA hospital

give it to me. Yelling a medical diagnosis at the top

or Vet Center to register and/or set up counseling

of your lungs as proof that you need medical servic-

appointments. You can find the medical center near-

es is not fun. I did get my card; but I struggled over

est you by going to: http://www1.va.gov/directory/

the next few years with speaking up for myself and

guide/home.asp?isFlash=1 .

being my own advocate. The care that I received, however, was very good and I would not be where I

VA Healthcare is your right. You earned it. If you

am today if I hadn’t made myself register.

have serious health problems, you may find that you have to really fight to get all of the treatment you

The initial steps can be hard, but once you get

deserve. The wait time may also prove frustrating.

through the registration, screenings, and wait time,

Passionate individuals are out there trying to change

there are people there to help you with your health

the system and policies to make this process easier

problems. You may think you are fine, are in perfect

and honestly, more fair.

health, or just hate the government. Go get your card anyway. You have a small window of time to register and then you lose your eligibility or postcombat related healthcare. Poof. Gone. So go into

PDF at http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/ncmain/ncdocs/ manuals/nc_manual_returnwarz_gp.html. It is only eleven pages and very well done.

Profile for Swords to Plowshares

You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are: A Straightforward Transition Manual  

A straightforward manual for veterans transitioning out the U.S. military.

You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are: A Straightforward Transition Manual  

A straightforward manual for veterans transitioning out the U.S. military.

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