The United State Government launched the OEF in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and primarily focused on combating terrorism in Afghanistan. OEF veterans played a vital role in the mission to dismantle terrorist networks, remove the Taliban from power, and support establishing a stable democratic government in Afghanistan.
As a result of their service and its impact on their health and well-being, OEF veterans may be eligible for various benefits, including healthcare, disability compensation, and even educational assistance.
These veterans face unique challenges related to their service, so it is important to recognize and support their contributions to the mission.
This post discusses some of the benefits an OEF veteran can receive.
What are the common experiences of OEF veterans?
Many OEF veterans experienced combat during their deployment, which may have involved exposure to gunfire, explosions, and other traumatic events.
OEF veterans may have been exposed to hazardous materials, such as burn pits, which could have long-term health effects.
The stress of being deployed in a combat zone for an extended time can also significantly impact mental health and well-being.
They may have sustained physical injuries during deployment, such as traumatic brain injuries, amputations, or other disabilities.
What are the common physical health conditions faced by OEF veterans?
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): OEF veterans may have sustained a TBI due to exposure to blast waves from explosions, resulting in headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
Hearing loss: Exposure to loud noises during combat can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, or other auditory problems are also some of the OEF health issues.
Musculoskeletal injuries: OEF veterans may have sustained injuries to their bones, joints, or muscles due to the physical demands of combat, leading to chronic pain or limited mobility.
Respiratory problems: Exposure to burning pits or other environmental hazards may cause respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Infectious diseases: OEF veterans may be infected with diseases while deployed, such as malaria, hepatitis, or tuberculosis.
What support and resources are available for OEF veterans?
The government provides support and resources for OEF veterans to help them transition back to civilian life and address their unique needs. Some of these resources include:
VA healthcare: OEF veterans are eligible for medical treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which provides various medical and mental health services to those eligible active service members.
Disability compensation: OEF veterans may be eligible for disability benefits through the VA for any injuries or illnesses related to their veterans service.
Education and job training: The VA provides education and job training programs, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, to help OEF veterans pursue higher education and job opportunities.
Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs): Many VSOs support and advocate for OEF veterans, such as Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Mental health services: OEF veterans can receive mental health services through the VA, including counseling and therapy, to help address issues such as PTSD and depression affected by active duty military service.
Career counseling and employment services: The VA and other organizations provide career counseling and employment services to help OEF veterans find and maintain employment after leaving the military.
Disability Benefits Available to OEF Vets
You may qualify for the following:
5-year free healthcare: starting from the discharge date, you may be eligible to receive five years of healthcare service at no cost.
180-day dental benefits: starting from the discharge date, this covers six months of full dental care to fix issues caused by the above service.
Vet center support: the VA may link you up with centers that can offer additional support to boost the quality of your life.
How does the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) help OEF veterans?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides a wide range of services and VA disability rates to help OEF veterans with their healthcare, education, employment, and other needs. Some of the ways the VA helps OEF veterans are through:
Healthcare: OEF combat veterans are eligible for VA health care services and treatment, including medical and mental health services and access to specialized care for conditions such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Disability compensation: OEF veterans who have suffered injuries or illnesses related to their service may be eligible for disability compensation from the VA healthcare program.
Education and training: The VA provides education and training benefits, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, to help OEF veterans pursue higher education or job training.
Home loans: The VA offers programs to help OEF veterans buy, build, or refinance homes.
Vocational rehabilitation and employment: The VA provides vocational and employment services to help OEF combat veterans find and maintain employment after leaving active service.
Survivor benefits: The VA benefits and services are provided to military families of OEF veterans who have died or were injured due to their military service.
What are the benefits available to OEF veterans under the GI bill?
Veterans service will qualify OEF veterans for education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The disabled veteran benefits under this program include the following:
Tuition and fees: The GI Bill pays up to 100% of tuition and fees for in-state students attending public colleges or universities and a specified cap for private or out-of-state schools.
Monthly housing allowance: OEF veterans who attend school full-time may be eligible for a tax-free monthly housing allowance based on the cost of living in their area.
Books and supplies stipend: The GI Bill provides a stipend of up to $1,000 per year to help cover the cost.
Transferability: OEF veterans who meet certain eligibility requirements can transfer their GI Bill benefits to their spouse or children.
Yellow Ribbon Program: The Yellow Ribbon Program can help cover the cost of tuition and fees that exceed the GI Bill cap for private or out-of-state schools.
Vocational training and apprenticeships: The GI Bill can pay for vocational training and apprenticeships in healthcare, technology, and aviation.