VA Free Programs Supporting Military Sexual Trauma Victims

VA’s National Theme in April 2014 is:

“You are not alone: VA supports survivors of military sexual trauma.”

You Are Not AloneVA health provider screenings found that about one in four women and one in 100 men seen in VA facilities report having experienced MST– sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect Veterans’ physical and mental health for many years.

To assist recovery, treatment for MST-related physical and mental health conditions is available at every VHA facility, free to Veterans, regardless of service-connection status.

In other words, any U.S. Veteran may receive this free MST-related care, even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Every Veterans Health Administration facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a point person for Veterans and staff.

Veteran caregivers have the power to encourage Veterans to seek help simply by responding sensitively, remaining knowledgeable about VA’s MST-related services, and ensuring confidentiality.

To learn more about MST and VA MST Treatment Services, visit the: 

Military Sexual Trauma  Mental Health

VA to Cover Remaining 2014 Semester for VRAP Students

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program  VRAPThe VA announced this week that they have taken steps to extend payments for participants in the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). 

Currently enrolled participants will now receive payments to cover them from April 1, 2014 through the conclusion of their current enrollment semester/term or through June 30, 2014, whichever is earlier.

VRAP was passed as a part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 and was specifically designed to cover veterans who were not eligible to receive GI Bill educational benefits.  Originally, coverage was set to end on 3/31/14.  The program has helped 76,000 veterans to date.

For more detailed information on the VRAP program extended assistance, please visit: whitehouse.gov 

Covering Veterans Retraining Assistance Program Participants through June The White House

VA Announces 2014 Roll Out of New, More Secure Veteran Health Identification Cards

vhicVA has announced the roll out of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards (VHIC) in 2014.

Similar to a typical health insurance card, the new VHIC will display the veteran’s member ID, a new unique identifier, and a plan ID, reflecting the veteran’s enrollment in VA healthcare.

The new card replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC), which was introduced in 2004. The new “phased” rollout began on February 21st, 2014.  For now, the card will only be issued to newly enrolled and other veterans who have not yet been issued a VIC.

In April 2014, VA will begin a three-month effort to automatically issue the new & more secure VHIC to more than 4 million current VIC cardholders. VA recommends Veterans safeguard their VIC as they would a credit card, and cut up or shred the card once it is replaced.

The new VHIC is personalized to display the emblem of the Veteran’s branch of service. It also provides features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired Veterans, and the printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the cards.

“VA is committed to providing high quality health care while ensuring the personal security of Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation’s heroes from identity theft and other personal crimes.”

Important!!  Veterans who are already enrolled should ensure the address on file is correct to assure they receive their new card in a timely manner. To update or to confirm your current address on file with the VA, please call 1-877-222-VETS (8387).  If the post office cannot deliver your VHIC, the card will be returned to the VA.

Enrolled veterans can get more information about the new VHIC by speaking with their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator, visiting the website www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

Veterans not enrolled in the VA healthcare system can apply for enrollment at any time by visiting

VA Launches GI Bill Comparison Tool and GI Bill Complaint System for Student Veterans

GI Bill Comparison Tool

student veteranThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched two new systems in 2014, each designed to help Student Veterans get the maximum potential out of their Post 911 GI Bill.

The first system, the GI Bill Comparison Tool, is designed to help students find a career field and then compare approved institutions that offer degrees or courses in that field.

This easy to use “start-to-finish” tool helps new student veterans complete the initial application for Post 911 GI Bill benefits, and then guides them step by step through the decision making process.

Prospective student veterans will also find several handy downloadable help guides, like:

The GI Bill Comparison Tool also links to other VA help sites, such as the eBenefits Jobs portal, to help new or returning student veterans find employment in their chosen college area.

The second system is the long awaited VA GI Bill Feedback System.  Student veterans who have a complaint about their educational institution can use the GI Bill Feedback System to report specific issues.  Student veterans may submit a complaint if their school or employer is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence. The VA will review the following types of complaints:

  • Recruiting and Marketing Practices
  • Accreditation
  • Quality of Education
  • Grade Policy…see all

Reporting these types of issues helps the VA get a better idea of problematic schools and employers, which may not be the best for veterans.

New student veterans looking to find schools that participate in the Principles of Excellence program can use the VA’s school locator tool.  The school locator tool is the best method for finding an educational institution that is currently approved for VA education benefits..

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