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VA New Jersey Health Care System

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Returning Service Members

OEF/OIF/OND Program StaffWelcome Home and Job Well Done!

We value your service and sacrifice and the sacrifice of your families who also serve.  Now it's our turn to serve YOU!

You have 5 years from your date of discharge to receive free health care for any condition that may be related to combat service.  Whether or not you choose to use VA health care after separation, you must enroll with VA within 5 years to get health care benefits later on. After the 5 years, a co-payment status will depend on whether your illness or injury is found to be service-connected.


Your NJ Transition and Care Management (TCM) Team


Alexander Herzog, LCSW Alexander Herzog, LCSW (Bio)
Program Manager
East Orange: 7th Floor, Suite A
(973) 676-1000 x1720
Robin Baptiste Robin Baptiste, TPA (Bio) 
Transitional Patient Advocate
Lyons: Building 4
(908) 647-0180 x4094
Kaydeen Bishop  Kaydeen Bishop,LSW/LMSW (Bio)
Care Manager
E Orange & Hackensack CBOC
(973) 676-1000 x1463
Carol Cashin Carol Cashin, LCSW (Bio)
Polytrauma Care Manager
Lyons & Brick CBOC
(908) 647-0180 x4788
Christine Betros, LCSW  Christine Betros, LCSW (Bio)
Care Manager
Lyons: Building 4
(908) 647-0180 x4093
Louis Derrico

Louis Derrico, RN (Bio)
Clinical Care Manager
E Orange: 7th Floor, Suite A
(973) 676-1000 x1464

Jennifer Garcia Jennifer Garcia, LCSW (Bio)
Care Manager
Brick & Hamilton CBOC
(732) 206-8900 x6106
Barbara O'Hanlon Barbara O'Hanlon, LCSW (Bio)
Care Manager
Lyons: Building 4
(908) 647-0180 x4398
Sangeun Lee Sangeun Lee, LCSW (Bio)
Polytrauma Care Manager
E Orange & Hackensack CBOC
(973) 676-1000 x1577
Fran Michaels Francine Michaels, LCSW (Bio)
Polytrauma Care Manager
E Orange: 7th Floor, Suite A
(973) 676-1000 x1447
Catherine Neville Catherine Neville, RN (Bio)
Clinical Care Manager
E Orange & Tinton Falls CBOC
(973) 676-1000 x2383

VA Services for Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn

Returning Service Members From Active Duty:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) are working as partners to meet the needs of our newest veterans – the men and women who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn – by creating a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life.

VA’s goal is to ensure that every seriously injured or ill serviceman and woman returning from combat receives priority consideration and worldclass service. Together VA and DoD are finding ways to move records more efficiently between the two agencies; share critical medical information electronically; protect the health of troops stationed in areas where environmental hazards pose threat; process benefit claims as one shared system; and, in every way possible, hold open the doors to an uncomplicated passage from soldier to citizen.

Enhanced Employee Awareness

Throughout the nation, VA officials work with military disability retirement lists staffs to identify service members from Iraq or Afghanistan for special outreach efforts. Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn coordinators at each VA benefit office and medical center coordinate with DoD discharge staff to ensure a smooth transition to VA services at locations nearest to the veteran’s residence after discharge. Through this coordination, the veterans are known at the local VA facilities which process their benefits claims and continuity of their medical care, including medications and therapy, is assured.

Benefits and Services

Every active duty service member, Reservist or National Guards member who serves in a theater of combat operations is eligible for hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for injuries or illnesses he or she believes is related to combat service for a period up to five years beginning on the date of discharge or release from service. This five year eligibility for medical care is available even if there is insufficient medical evidence available to conclude that the veteran’s illness is the result of combat service. At the end of the five year period, these veterans have the same eligibility for VA medical care as veterans of earlier conflicts.

VA offers a spectrum of health care and benefit programs for veterans of the war on terrorism, including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, prosthetic services, life insurance, pension, education benefits, specially adapted housing and automobile grants, and survivor and burial benefits. Many VA services are provided at a higher priority or on an expedited basis for this newest generation of combatdisabled veterans. VA programs for veterans with a serviceconnected injury or illness apply equally to those who served in the regular active duty forces and to National Guard members or reservists returning from federal activation.

Additional Resources

VA Location Finder
VA NJHCS Phone Directory
Accredited Veterans Service Officer Search
Search VA Forms

Mental Health
VA Mental Health Program
National Center for PTSD
VA Polytrauma (TBI) Program
VA Vet Centers
VA Substance Abuse Resources
VA Support for Families
VA Caregiver Support

Education and Employment
VA Education Benefits
Post 9/11 GI Bill
VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service Employment Search Tools

Housing and Community Services
VA Homeless Resources
Military Homefront
New Jersey 2-1-1 (Community Resources)
Social Security Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors
VA Veterans Transportation Program

Special Eligibility and Coordination of Care for Combat Veterans Serving in Combat Theater After 11/11/1998- Returning Servicemembers (OEF/OIF/OND)

VA is ready to provide health care and other medical services to our nation's returning OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers. The VA New Jersey Health Care System has a team ready to welcome OEF/OIF/OND Servicemembers and to help coordinate their care. For more information about the various programs available for recent returning service members, log on to the Returning Servicemembers web site.

Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations also have special eligibility for VA health care. Under the "Combat Veteran" authority VA provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6 or higher for 5 years from the date of discharge or release from active duty, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group.

Combat Veterans who enroll with VA under this enhanced Combat Veteran authority will continue to be enrolled even after their enhanced eligibility period ends, although they may be shifted to Priority Group 7 or 8, depending on their income level, and required to make applicable copays. Additionally, for care not related to combat service, copays may be required depending on their financial assessment and other special eligibility factors.

NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these Veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.