Veterans’ Services and Other Resources
Legislation, programs, services, and recreational opportunities for veterans who are blind, have low vision, or have a different disability.
- APH Directory of Services—You may not realize how many helpful services are available. Servicemen and their family members can search for local agencies that can help.
- Blinded Veterans Association—The Blinded Veterans Association is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans and offers many services to help veterans and their families meet the challenges of blindness. BVA was and is the only veterans’ service organization dedicated to serving America’s blind and low-vision veterans.
- Blind Rehabilitation Services, Veterans Affairs. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides Blind and Visual Impairment Rehabilitation Services to eligible Veterans and active-duty Service members. VA is the only national healthcare system to integrate rehabilitation services for patients with vision loss into its health benefits. They provide a variety of benefits listed on their site. Veterans and active duty Service members with vision loss that cannot be corrected with regular eyeglasses and having difficulty with one or more tasks should contact the VIST Coordinator in the VA medical center nearest their home. Information can also be obtained by contacting the Blind Rehabilitation Service Program office at (202) 461-7317 or: to schedule an eye exam, contact your nearest VA medical facility. To find the VA medical center closest to you, use VA’s facility locator. Enter your ZIP code, and a list of the nearest healthcare facilities will be at your fingertips.
- Cortical Visual Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Neurological Vision Loss—Information about vision loss caused by damage to the brain rather than by conditions or diseases of the eye. As wounded soldiers who have survived grievous injury fighting foreign wars have returned to this country, the incidence of visual impairment tied to neurological causes has risen in the United States. Cortical visual impairment (CVI), and cerebral visual impairment (CVI), are terms often used to describe visual impairment that occurs because of injury or damage to the brain, as are neurological vision loss, brain-damage-related visual impairment, and vision loss due to traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Disabled American Veterans—With more than 1.4 million members, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is an organization of disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families. DAV provides free assistance to veterans in obtaining benefits and services earned through their military service. It is fully funded through membership dues and public contributions. It is not a government agency and receives no government funds. DAV’s largest endeavor is the National Voluntary Service Program. In 88 offices, a corps of 260 National Service Officers (NSOs) and 26 Transition Service Officers (TSOs) directly represent veterans with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. This free service is available to all veterans.
- Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans nationwide. Established in 1974, LSC operates as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes more than 90 percent of its funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with more than 800 offices.
- Mental Health Support/Veterans Crisis Line—Many veterans with polytrauma injuries also need mental health support. One can have trouble readjusting to civilian life, have trouble sleeping, or experience mood swings, depression, or other signs of extreme stress. In that case, this crisis line offers free or low-cost assistance and care. For immediate help, call the National Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is confidential and can also be anonymous. Or, you may have a confidential online conversation with a professional on the National Veterans Crisis Line Web Chat site.
- National Association of Blind Veterans—The National Association of Blind Veterans (NABV) is a group of veterans whose blindness is both service-connected and not service-connected and who are concerned about the welfare and well-being of other blind veterans. NABV is a division of the National Federation of the Blind.
- National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) Lawyers Serving Warriors® (LSW) Program. This program offers pro bono (that is, free) legal help with disability issues to veterans from all eras. Their current pro bono initiative is to assist veterans with two types of disability claims — applications for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and applications to the Physical Disability Board of Review for an increase in the military disability rating.
- Polytrauma System of Care (PSC)—The Polytrauma System of Care (PSC) consists of 5 regional TBI/Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRC) located in Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Palo Alto, CA, and San Antonio, TX. As veterans recover and transition closer to their homes, the PSC continues to provide a continuum of integrated care through 4 Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Programs (PTRP), 23 Polytrauma Network Sites (PNS), 87 Polytrauma Support Clinic Teams (PSCT), 38 Polytrauma Points of Contact (POC), located at VA medical centers across the country.
- Southeastern Guide Dogs —The program provides guide dogs to blind or low-vision soldiers. The program also places companion and therapy dogs with soldiers.
- Stateside Legal. LSC granted this organization funds to provide a website to focus exclusively on federal legal rights and resources important to veterans, service members, and families.
- Sun Valley Adaptive Sports—Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) offers programs for children, teens, adults, and veterans that cover a wide range of disabilities: physical, emotional, developmental, and learning. Programs include alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, biking, running, martial arts, skeet shooting, fly-fishing, yoga, theater, swimming, and hot springs. SVAS also offers a skiing program for blind veterans previously wounded in Iraq. All programs are free to participants.
- TCAssociates—TCoombs & Associates LLC is an 8(a) certified, Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) owned small business, home-based in the Washington DC Metro area. It is owned and managed by a group of experienced veterans and supported by other IT, telecommunications, security, healthcare, and logistics professionals. TCAssociates sells a full range of products to assist individuals who are blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, and have other disabilities. They also provide on- and off-site training for software and products developed to assist people with disabilities.
- Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Health.mil—The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence Defense (TBICoE) supports, trains, and monitors service members, veterans, family members, and providers who have been or care for those affected by traumatic brain injury.
- United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs—The mission of the Veterans’ Healthcare System (VHA) is to serve the needs of America’s veterans by providing primary care, specialized care, and related medical and social support services. Approximately a quarter of the nation’s population—approximately 70 million people—are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members, or survivors of veterans. The mission of the VA Blind Rehabilitation Service is to coordinate a healthcare service delivery system that provides a continuum of care for blinded veterans extending from their home environment to the local VA facility and the appropriate rehabilitation setting.
- Wisdom 4 Blinded Veterans-A website created for veterans as an informational portal dedicated to keeping blind and low-vision veterans updated on various topics. This information is available via the Internet, smartphones, phones, e-mail, text messaging, and Amazon’s Alexa.
- Wounded Warrior Project—Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) serves military service members who incurred service-connected wounds, injuries, or illnesses on or after September 11, 2001, and their families. With advancements in battlefield medicine and body armor, an unprecedented percentage of service members survive severe wounds or injuries. With the mission to honor and empower Wounded Warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve recent triumphs. Offering various programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury—from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.