Iraq War Veterans
Iraq-era war veterans face a set of challenges similar to their predecessors when they return home. Homelessness, substance abuse and mental illness are all issues facing veterans struggling to regain a sense of normalcy after discharge.
Thankfully there are numerous organizations ready to step in and assist Iraq war veterans in successfully returning to civilian life and which outline Iraq war veterans’ benefits.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the first and largest nonprofit dedicated to helping those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans can join the community for free and participate in programs such as The Rucksack, which connects veterans with great rewards such as concert tickets and discounts on business wear.
Founded in 2004 by an Iraq veteran, the group’s 30,000 members and supporters aim to empower new veterans and their families through programs for health, education, employment and community-building, all while raising awareness about veterans’ issues. IAVA focuses on community, assistance, advocacy and awareness and supports relevant legislation on both the federal and local levels.
Iraq Veterans against the War (IVAW)
Founded in 2004, the IVAW was established to call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, while also seeking the removal of occupying forces from Afghanistan. With members across the nation, IVAW aims to educate the public about these conflicts, in the U.S. and abroad. Active duty, members of the National Guard and reservists who’ve been in service since Sept. 2011 are welcome to join IVAW. To learn more, visit www.ivaw.org.
Established to assist Iraq and Afghanistan veterans cope with the psychological trauma of war, Vets4Vets is a non-partisan organization that utilizes support systems to reach its goals. Weekend workshops are provided to members for free to foster the discussion of personal experiences and hardships in a confidential setting. More than 2,000 veterans have utilized Vets4Vets services over the years, and there are groups across the nation that hold weekly meet-ups. Learn more about Vets4Vets here, at www.vets4vets.us.
Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation
Service members who’ve experienced a traumatic injury can visit a therapeutic retreat in Montana through the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation. The organization brings wounded warriors to the retreat every year for a six-day getaway that includes recreational activities like fly fishing. The foundation provides transportation to the retreat, accommodations and meals, in addition to other amenities. For more information on participation or ways to donate to the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, visit www.warriorsandquietwaters.org.
Help for Iraq War Veterans: OEF, OIF, OND
For vets who served during Operation: Enduring Freedom, Operation: Iraqi Freedom or Operation: New Dawn, the VA offers 5 years of free healthcare to treat any condition related to their service. Veterans may also apply for free one-time dental care within 180 days after their separation date from active duty. The VA also offers resources for finding family support and vet centers, which can help with the readjustment process.
To learn more about benefits available to Iraq War veterans, visit Returning Service Members on the VA’s website.
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