National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Access Mental Health Care and Other Health Services

An overview of the Veterans Administration (VA) and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Services

Recently the Veterans Administration changed the rules regarding claims related to PTSD. To get the most up-to-date information see the statutes on pensions, bonuses and veteransí relief online.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides health care and other services to veterans. Once veterans are determined to be eligible, they qualify for inpatient and outpatient care. Eligibility is generally determined through a verification of discharge, length of service and financial status.

Determine your eligibility for veterans' benefits.

What is the difference between the VA and VISN services?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the department of the U.S. government dedicated to the needs of war veterans. It handles issues such as benefits, health care and employment assistance.

The Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs is divided into 21 different health system networks called Veterans Integrated Service Networks, or VISNs which are distributed in different regions of the country and are usually located in more than one state. They contain medical centers, vet centers and outpatient clinics offering primary and specialized care. Their site features a map linking to all 21 VISN networks.

Primary Health Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides information on veterans benefits programs, including disability compensation and pensions.

The military health system administered by the U.S. Department of Defense is known as TRICARE. This site contains information on available plans, how to determine eligibility and tools to find a provider. Some mental health services may be covered under TRICARE benefits.

The Veterans Benefits Network is a veteransí forum for discussing benefits claims and connecting with other veterans.

View a summary of the TRICARE benefits available to National Guard and reservists. Generally reservists become eligible if they serve on active duty, while National Guard members become eligible if they are activated for federal duty.

NAMI has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions for veterans and their families who are trying to obtain benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a directory of VA facilities by state. With each state, you will find links to facilities for health care, benefits and cemetery administration.

Social Security

The Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors site from the Social Security Administration provides information on benefits for disabled veterans, including a FAQ section.


The U.S. Office of Personnel Managementís website provides information for veterans seeking employment, including information on the special rights and privileges veterans for veterans within the federal civil service.

USAJOBS has multiple tools and valuable resources for all U.S. veterans. The site posts links to job opportunities, forms, benefits and program information as well as training assistance for private sector employment.

The Key to Career Success website is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor through the CareerOneStop project as part of the department's assistance to service members, military families, employers and the workforce staff serving them. Much of the content in Key to Career Success is based on U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored resources and has been customized to meet the needs of recently separated military personnel.

The Los Angeles Times explored the all-expenses-paid boot camps for former soldiers offered by six universities hoping to adapt their military skills into running businesses.

Vet Centers

The Department of Veterans Affairs Vet Center program is a system of 207 community-based counseling centers staffed by multidisciplinary teams of providers, many of whom are veterans. The centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to veterans who served in any combat zone.

Other Resources

The Veterans Resource Network Association educates veterans about their rights to benefits from the Veterans Administration and other assistance programs.