Updated by Holly DeCarlo-White, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
Original article by Chris Cannon, Fort Riley Public Affairs
The Veterans Administration has evolved and adapted to the modern-age veteran.
Veterans now have 24-hour access to primary care providers and health records, as well as access to benefits paperwork, such as the Montgomery Government Issue Bill and veteran preference letters.
Transitioning out of active duty to the civilian world can be daunting, but by connecting with the available resources well in advance, it is possible to have an easier time with the transition process. It is important to do the research and take the time to follow up on the paperwork.
The process should start 24 months before separation. The U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Transition Assistance Program advises service members to begin the process of separation by attending the preseparation, and scheduling an appointment with the VA. Briefings are available in a classroom, or electronically through the Army Knowledge Online portal or the Joint Knowledge Online portal.
The USAG Stuttgart Transition Assistance Program is available to all branches of active-duty service members, veterans and their spouses. Spouses are vital participants as they too need to understand how to use the VA system.
Classes cover important aspects of life, such as how to build a budget, write resumes, dress for success and how to have a successful interview.
The VA counselors are also available to help service members with evaluations for a service-connected disability and with future primary care providers. Service members can file for financial compensation and medical care upon separation.
Contact the VA office in Kaiserslautern at DSN: 483-6205/6007 or civ. 0631-411-6205/6007. VA representatives often visit USAG Stuttgart. Check with ACS for the next scheduled VA advisor visit.
Once separated from the service
Go to the nearest medical facility with a DD-214 to apply for eligibility. The veteran can choose whether they want to receive medical care through the VA and receive an appointment with the appropriate care provider.
Service members should ask questions about what category they are in as well as any questions based on their individual needs.
To find out more about being rated for disability, speak with doctors about regular physicals and any major medical questions.
In Stuttgart, there is one health clinic located on Patch Barracks. The next nearest health providers are located in Landstul, Ramstein and Kaiserslautern, which is approximately two-to-three hours from Stuttgart by car.
This website allows veterans to access their medical records, communicate with healthcare providers via a secure e-mail server, renew prescriptions and schedule appointments.
My Health-e-Vet is the portal for My e-Benefits. Through this portal, veterans can access their service records and keep track of how much disability they have. They must visit the My e-Benefits portal to access their disability rating if they are applying for government jobs and if they want to access other government forms employers request. Create a username and password for My Health-e-Vet during the time at The Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. If a member has already separated, visit www.myhealth.va.gov and click, “Register” to sign up for a basic or advanced account and use the basic functions of the website.
To obtain a Premium account, which allows the veteran to access their health records, order prescriptions and message primary care providers, the veteran must do an in-person authentication at a VA medical center or community-based outreach clinic.
The important message for service members and veterans to know, remember and understand, is the process for a smooth transition starts with ensuring all paperwork is taken care of before separation from the service is complete.
All injuries must be documented and the service member must complete all examinations prior to separation. Veterans must make sure they read the fine print and ask plenty of questions. If you need help with finding a job, ask to get in touch with someone who can help at the Stuttgart Army Community Service on Panzer Kaserne through the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. Stuttgart also hosts veteran service outreach events on-post each year in the fall surrounding Retiree Appreciation Day where veteran organizations provide representatives onsite for current veteran and transitioning service member needs.
For more information about the VA, visit www.va.gov. To contact the Transition Assistance Program advisors in Stuttgart, call DSN: 431-2191/07031-15-2191 or visit Building 2915, Room 416 Panzer Kaserne.