The number of women veterans and female VA users is expected to double again in the next decade. To that end, the VA has created a number of outreach programs geared towards female veterans.
Women have served in the military from the American Revolution to the present. Unfortunately, women have been historically underrepresented in utilizing the benefits provided for them, and have often been more reticent in claiming their veteran status. Women now make up 15% of active duty and 18% of Guard/Reserve service members.
Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women vets and female VA users is expected to double again in the next decade. To that end, the VA has created a number of outreach programs geared towards female veterans.
Women Veterans Hotline
While the number of women VA users continues to grow, women comprise only 6% of VA’s total patient population. Women vets underutilize VA care and benefits, largely due to a lack of knowledge about VA benefits and available services. In response, the VA has established a Women Veterans hotline—855-VA-WOMEN (829-6636) to receive and respond to questions from women vets, their families, and caregivers across the nation about available VA services and resources.
VA Benefits and Programs for Women Veterans
Women vets are entitled to the same VA benefits as male veterans. Gender-specific services and benefits — including breast and pelvic examinations — and preventive care such as contraceptive services, menopause management, pap smears, reproductive counseling, and mammography are also available. VA health care professionals are trained to provide counseling and treatment to women suffering the effects of personal and sexual assault/harassment during military service. Care is available for any injury, illness or psychological illness resulting from such trauma.
To ensure the privacy of women vets, the VA medical centers have introduced a variety of structural changes. Women Veterans’ Coordinators are available at all VA facilities to assist women vets in seeking treatment and benefits. VA also has a program known as the Center for Women Veterans. (continue reading)