Women Veterans Health Care
Women have always served their country. Those who served in the active military are Veterans. In recent years, more and more women have chosen to contribute their skills and talents serving in our nation’s military. Currently, women have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts in unprecedented numbers making up eight percent of U.S. Veterans. Currently, women account for 20 percent of new recruits, 14.5 percent of the active duty force (1.4 million), and 18 percent of the 850,000 reserve force. About 280,000 women have served in Afghanistan or Iraq since September 11, 2001.
Yet, when you returned you may have felt isolated, unacknowledged and invisible in a civilian society that either couldn’t fathom what you’ve been through, or discounts your military experience as somehow less challenging than that of male Veterans. In a recent study, only 37% of women Veterans indicated they felt "recognized, respected and valued as Veterans in civilian life." One respondent described her personal experience after identifying herself as a Veteran to others, "It's a regular thing to be told I'm too pretty to have served in the military, let alone at war. I've been told I couldn't possibly have any issues relating to war since I was a female and couldn't possibly have experienced anything but rainbows and sunshine while deployed. I've been called a liar."
Both in deployment and at home, female Veterans face challenges their male counterparts don’t.[¹] One of the most significant problems female Veterans overlook is addressing their health care needs. According to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) report, 20 percent of female Veterans have gone without needed health care and continue to underutilize VA care largely because of a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services.
Today, women Veterans of the United States Uniformed Services are eligible for a broad range of programs and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Two VA administrations highlight benefits that are available for Veterans and their families. The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) focuses on general VA benefits available for Veterans, and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) focuses on health care benefits for Veterans.
Veterans Benefits Administration
VBA provides a variety of benefits and services to Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve Service members, Veterans, and their families. Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. For National Guard and Reserve Service members, the length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits.
Benefits offered by VBA include:
- Compensation and Pension
- Education and Training
- Home Loans
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
- Burial and Memorial Services
- Additional Services and Benefits
Learn more about benefits you qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration.
VA Health Benefits
Women are becoming the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. VA Health Benefits include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore women Veterans health. VHA medical facilities provide a wide range of services including traditional hospital-based services such as surgery, critical care, mental health, orthopedics, pharmacy, radiology physical therapy, gynecology and maternity care.
VA provides a full spectrum of medically necessary services, based on the judgment of your VA primary care provider and in accordance with generally accepted standards of clinical practice. These services include:
- Preventive Care Services
- Primary Care Services, including all women's health primary care
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Inpatient Care Services
- Ancillary Services
- Specialty Care Services
- Emergency Care
- Mental Health Care
- Additional VA Health Care Services
- Non-Medical Veteran Services
Participate in VA health benefits explorer to learn what VA health care benefits you could receive as an enrolled Veteran. Afterwards, take advantage of the VA health benefits you qualify for by applying for enrollment.
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About Women Veterans
Women are now the fastest-growing subgroup of U.S. Veterans. The number of women Veterans is expected to increase dramatically in the next 10 years, and VA health care services are in high demand by the women Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Department of Veterans Affairs understands the health care needs of women Veterans and is committed to meeting these needs. Women Veterans served and they deserve the best quality care. Learn more about VA health care services for women Veterans.
 Kaplan, Susan. (2012, March 19). Returning women Veterans face challenges in a system designed from men. PRI. Retrieved from http://www.pri.org/stories/2012-03-19/returning-women-veterans-face-challenges-system-designed-men
 Innes, Wendy. (2014, October 10). Report: Female Veterans face serious challenges when returning home. IVN. Retrieved from http://ivn.us/2014/10/10/report-female-veterans-face-serious-challenges-returning-home/
 Piccoli, Sean. (2015, July 21). 5 top issues women Veterans face when returning home. Newsmax. Retrieved from http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/women-veterans-issues-returning-home/2015/07/07/id/653933/
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