Resources for Veterans and Active Duty Military

Last updated April 12, 2017

The Brain and Spinal Trust Fund Commission does not warrant the accuracy of this information and provides this information as a convenience to its users. This information is subject to change without notice.

Traumatic brain injury has become the "signature wound" of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Soldiers are also sustaining spinal cord injuries.

The Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission has worked with the Georgia National Guard (Army), Georgia National Guard Family Foundation, the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators, and the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Atlanta to review the resources currently available.  Please check this page frequently, as we will continue to update this information.

The services below are in the following order:  Medical Care, State and Federal Programs, Cognitive/Memory Skills, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Family and Caregiver Support, Employment/Vocational Rehabilitation, Support Groups, and Housing/Food/Other Necessities.

The VA's Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255 then Press 1. 

BENEFITS - ONLINE APPLICATION

The Veterans Administration has implemented a new, online system to allow veterans to apply for benefits via computer.  The system, VONAPP, is available at www.va.gov/onlineapps.htm.

VETERANS SERVICES - WEBSITE 

MEDICAL CARE

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) , the Primary TBI Operational Component of the Defense Centers of Excellence, assists with obtaining services in the following areas.

Each local facility provides brain injury evaluations. Individuals evaluated at a DVBIC site receive a comprehensive assessment that may include any of the following examinations.  The actual treatment may occur at our DVBIC facility, or the patient may be referred to a local provider or providers to facilitate timely care.

  • Neurological
  • Neuropsychological (including comprehensive neuropsychological testing)
  • Laboratory (Blood work)
  • Psychosocial - counseling, managing emotions and behaviors
  • Audiologic (including formal audiometry) - hearing
  • Electroencephalographic (EEG) - testing brain activity

Additionally, people admitted to inpatient TBI rehabilitation programs at a VA site receive:

  • Physiatric assessment - physical medicine and physical therapy
  • Occupational Therapy - independence in activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Rehabilitation Nursing
  • Physical Therapy - rebuilding muscles, gaining balance, improving coordination, etc.
  • Speech Therapy
  • Cognitive Therapy - recognizing written words, problem-solving, improving memory
  • Psychology
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Other rehabilitative therapies as indicated

Who can refer someone with TBI to Defense and Veteran Brain Injury Center?

Defense and Veteran Brain Injury Center website.

People with TBI who are served by TRICARE or VA benefits may be referred to DVBIC by primary care and other physicians/health care providers, family members, or by self-referral.

How can you refer a patient to a DVBIC site?

You can either contact the sites directly to begin the referral process, which includes a review of all related medical documentation, or you may contact headquarters at 1-800-870-9244 or info@dvbic.org. Headquarters will direct your referral to the appropriate staff member.

The Southeast contains the following US Army Hospitals:

  • Martin Army Community Hospital (Fort Benning, GA - Columbus area) - 1.888.293.2148 - Neurology Clinic and Occupational Therapy and more available onsite
  • Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (Fort Campbell, KY) - 270.798.4677 - Behavioral Health, Occupational Therapy and more available onsite
  • Moncrief Army Community Hospital (Fort Jackson, SC) - 803.751.2160 - Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Substance Abuse Treatment and more available onsite
  • Fox Army Health Center (Redstone Arsenal, AL) - 800.223.9531 - Behavioral Medicine, Physical Therapy, and more available onsite.
  • Lyster Army Health Clinic (Fort Rucker, AL) - 334.255.7000 - Physical Therapy, Substance Abuse Treatment, Behavioral Health
  • Winn Army Community Hospital (Fort Stewart, GA - Savannah area) - 912.435.6837 - Behavioral Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Orthopedics, and more onsite
  • Eisenhower Army Medical Center (Fort Gordon, GA - Augusta area) - 706.787-5811 - Neurosurgery, Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse Treatment, Physical Therapy, and more available onsite.  NOTE that families of servicemembers being treated at Eisenhower may be able to stay at The Fisher House, which provides temporary lodging.
  • The Southeast contains the following Veterans Administration Treatment Sites and Polytrauma Hospitals:
  • James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (Tampa, FL) - POLYTRAUMA CENTER - 813.972.2000 - Spinal Cord Injury Center, Traumatic Brain Injury Center, Intensive Care Units, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment, Rehabilitation Medicine, Speech Pathology, and more available onsite
  • Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Richmond, VA) -POLYTRAUMA CENTER - 804.675.5000 - Spinal Cord Injury Center, Traumatic Brain Injury Center, Prosthetic Treatment Center, Regional Audiology Center and more available onsite
  • Atlanta VA Medical Center - (Decatur, GA) - 404.321.6111 - Audiology Speech Pathology, Intensive Psychiatric Community Care Program, Mental Health Primary Care, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinical Team Unit, Substance Abuse Treatment and more available onsite.
  • Carl Vinson VA Medical Center (Dublin, GA) - 478.272.1210 - Intensive Care Unit, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment, Mental Health Clinic, and other services available onsite.
  • Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta, Georgia) - 706.823.1717, 1.800.836.5561 - Neurology, Spinal Cord Injury Center, Spinal Cord Injury Hospital-Based Home Care, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment, Active Duty Rehab Unit, Long-Term Psychiatric Care, Respite Care, Restorative Nursing Home Care, Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Vocational Rehabilitation Program, and more available onsite.
  • Athens Outpatient Clinic (Athens) - 706.227.4534 - operating hours 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday - general outpatient care, various medical screenings, referrals for services available at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center and more available onsite.

STATE AND FEDERAL PROGRAMS

Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors their website is https://www.ssa.gov/people/veterans/  "Wounded Warrior" does not require the individual to have sustained a battle injury.  Also, making an appointment is highly recommended instead of showing up at the local office without speaking with someone first.  

You will need to have the following:  birth certificate or proof of US citizenship, Form DD214 (if discharged from military service), W-2 Form or income tax form from the previous year, military or worker's compensation form to show proof of payment, Social Security Numbers of spouse and minor children, checking or savings account number if you have one, name/address/phone number of a contact person in case you are unavailable, and your medical records.

Social Security and Disability Resource Center - Many veterans at some point will file for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security and Disability Resource Center website (ssdrc.com) explains what benefits are available, how to apply and also provides answers to many questions that veterans typically have, but often have trouble finding answers to.

Food Stamps - monthly benefits for low-income households to assist with the cost of food. 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/Welfare - monthly cash assistance program for low income families with one or more children under age 18.  Receipt of cash assistance has a lifetime limit of 48 months.  

Georgia's Department of Labor - Vocational Rehabilitation offers work-readiness training, vocational and technical job training, and supported employment for persons with a disability who wish to utilize that service.  For additional assistance specifically for returning servicemen and servicewomen, please e-mail Senita.Thorne@dol.state.ga.us.

Georgia Department of Veteran's Services - The GDVS mission falls into two basic tasks: informing veterans and their families about veterans benefits, and directly assisting and advising veterans and their families in securing the federal and state benefits to which they are entitled. Please feel free to contact a representative at 404-656-2300.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

The Armed Forces Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides direct financial support to Service Members and their families for essential living expenses, psychological health and traumatic brain injury outreach, hospital outreach, military children's events, etc.

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)

The Department of Defense's National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder has a fact sheet that details PTSD symptoms and treatment.

FAMILY/CAREGIVER SUPPORT

Operation HomeFront supports the families of active-duty soldiers.  The Wounded Warrior Wives and Spouse Group Support programs are available statewide.  They also work to provide home and car repair, holiday events, vision care, financial assistance, and other services.  Call 770.973.0014 for more information.

Our Military Kids supports the children of active-duty National Guard and military reserve soldiers and severely disabled National Guard and military reserve veterans.  Grants are available to fund athletic and artistic activities.  Call 703.734.6654 for more information.

EMPLOYMENT/VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program where veterans can find more information on job services and employment accommodations, as well as services to help veterans prepare for a new career.

U.S. Department of Labor

  • America's Heroes at Work - Supporting the Employment Success of Returning Service Members with TBI & PTSD - a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) project that addresses the employment challenges of returning Service Members and Veterans living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Georgia's Department of Labor - Vocational Rehabilitation offers work-readiness training, vocational and technical job training, and supported employment for persons with a disability who wish to utilize that service.  For additional assistance specifically for returning servicemen and servicewomen, please e-mail Senita.Thorne@dol.state.ga.us.

SUPPORT GROUPS

All individuals with a brain injury, and their families, are welcome to participate in the Brain Injury Association of Georgia (BIAG) support groups around the state.  Military members are welcome. Visit website to find a support groups, its contact, and its meeting schedule in your area.  The following Georgia cities have BIAG support groups:

  • Albany
  • Athens
  • Atlanta
  • Augusta
  • Blue Ridge
  • Columbus
  • Conyers,
  • Decatur
  • Fort Oglethorpe
  • Griffin
  • Lawrenceville
  • Macon
  • Marietta
  • Riverdale
  • Rome
  • Roswell
  • Savannah
  • Thomasville
  • Waycross

Brain Injury Support groups for minor brain injury have been formed in Fort Oglethorpe, Stone Mountain, and Atlanta.  

The Atlanta VA Hospital hosts a brain injury support group.  Please contact Dr. Inge Thomas, 404.329.4654, for more information.

HOUSING, FOOD, OTHER NECESSITIES

To find affordable, accessible rental housing in Georgia, go to http://www.georgiahousingsearch.org/

Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans Program 

Domiciliary care was initially established to provide services to economically-disadvantaged Veterans, and it remains committed to serving that group. The Domiciliary has evolved from a "Soldiers' Home" to become an active clinical rehabilitation and treatment program for male and female Veterans. Domiciliary programs are now integrated with the Mental Health Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs (MH RRTPs). Visit the Domiciliary Care website or you can call 1-877-424-3838 to access VA's help for homeless veterans.

The Georgia Dream Welcome Home program offers homebuying opportunities to members of the Georgia National Guard (Air and Army) who purchase a home in Georgia.  The Department of Community Affairs has personnel available to "walk you through the process."

Members of the National Guard/Reserve may apply for emergency assistance (housing, utilities, etc.) from the Georgia National Guard Family Foundation.

Army Emergency Relief's allows active duty Army soldiers and their dependents, widows/orphans of soldiers, and veterans who retired due to disability or extended service to apply for emergency assistance.  The closest AER office to Georgia is in Alabama.  Individuals unable to travel to Alabama may call their closest Red Cross office in Georgia for assistance with the application.

The Air Force Aid Society allows active duty Air Force personnel and their dependents, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel on extended duty, and children/widows of Air Force personnel who died on active duty or in retirement to apply for Emergency Assistance Funding.  This emergency funding may also include medical expenses not covered by TRICARE.  

The website for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Fund  can help active duty and retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel, eligible family members, reservists on active duty, and others.  Services include interest-free loans or grants for emergency needs, education loans and grants, and lifetime benefits information assistance.

Operation Home Front's  work with the families of active-duty military - emergency assistance, food assistance, auto repair, Vision services, Communications with the deployed family member.

Emergency assistance - housing, power, food, and water - may be provided by USA Cares.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Unmet Needsorganization recently active or active service personnel and their families are eligible to apply.  Examples of the types of help that have been given include home repair, auto repair, medical deductibles, travel expenses, childcare expenses, mortgage, and rental assistance.

Patriot Paws trains service dogs for disabled American veterans.  Service dogs can get help in an emergency, open and close doors and cabinets, help with chores, provide companionship, and much more.  

Easter Seals offers a variety of services to veterans.