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The Transition House, Inc.

What to do while you’re waiting to get into the VA

VA medical benefits

The Veterans Affairs office has a notorious reputation for long entry times. Frustration can develop while waiting for entry, but there are actions you can take to improve your life in the meantime.  We’ve comprised a list of seven tips that can help keep you on a positive path while you're waiting to get treatment.

  1. Go to the Vet Center

The Osceola County Veterans' Services office is a great resource for information or answers to questions you might have about your VA process.They specialize in compensation, education, and home loan services. They also handle stages 2 and 3 in the VA Appeals process. Stage 2 consits of filling a notice of disagreement, there after a statement of the case (explanation of why your claim was denied) will be sent to you via mail. Stage 3 is when you can file a substantive appeal. During this time you can choose to have an optional hearing before a Veterans Law Judge. 

  1. Join a support group

Whether you seek out a strictly-veterans support group or a peer support group, meeting with others who have experienced trauma can help immensely. Connecting with others and realizing that you aren’t alone is an important step in recovery. Sharing your story may help you feel more comfortable talking about your trauma. Or it may help to listen to other people discuss their experiences with similar trauma. You may learn to deal with emotions such as anger, shame, guilt, and fear if you open up to others who understand.

  1. Family counseling

The experiences of military life can affect veterans in ways that may impact their relationships. Many veterans are dealing with stress related to military family life or challenges that are common to many families. Relationships can be strained by these situations even if family and friends are also a source of happiness and support. Counseling is a great way to bridge the gap and keep communication open with family members.

  1. Connect with other veterans

Talking with other veterans who are going through similar issues can be a tremendous help. This will reduce the feelings of isolation that so often drive veterans to substance abuse or dependence. MakeTheConnection.net is a VA-sponsored forum that is creating ways for veterans and their family members to connect with resources to help them confront the challenges of transitioning from service life, and helps with the complexities of daily life as a civilian.

  1. Volunteering

Volunteering is good for your mind and body. When we take the time out of our daily lives to give back, it benefits not only others, but ourselves, too. Volunteering provides individuals with increased self-confidence, a sense of purpose, and can help combat depression.  Donating your time to a community soup kitchen is a great place to start. 

  1. Monitor your substance use

While waiting for treatment, it’s important to watch your substance use. Self-medicating is never the answer. Be mindful of your triggers to abuse alcohol or drugs, and try to avoid putting yourself in these circumstances.

  1. Monitor your emotions/anxiety levels

This goes hand-in-hand with monitoring your substance use. Increased levels of anxiety and emotion can lead to substance abuse. Talk to a loved one or support group about issues that might be causing an increase in your anxiety levels. Manage your anxiety with deep breathing exercises and physical activity.

Following these seven steps while you’re waiting to get in the VA will positively affect your life and the lives of others around you. Once you are enrolled in the VA, you will feel more confident and prepared to tackle any treatment you might receive.  

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