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Funding ends for uninsured veterans

Many veterans and their families lack insurance for behavioral health treatment, said Dan Fox, director of the clinical program at Lutheran Community Services of the Northwest (LCSNW) in Spokane.

A veteran, exposed to trauma in Iraq, returned recently to his wife and children.  His return triggered disruptions at home, Dan said.  As the family struggled to adjust, one child started having behavior problems. Overwhelmed, the wife and child had nowhere to turn. They had no insurance. 

A grant LCSNW had to help uninsured veterans and families ended.  Its veterans program still serves insured vets and families, specializing in treating trauma, sexual assault and children, helping families cope with issues from military trauma, Dan said.

Mike Wilson, a counselor and veteran with experience working with veterans and military culture, is on staff.  He said veterans who served 20 years on active duty qualify for military retirement benefits, which include medical insurance. That’s 15 percent of those who join. 

Those on active duty receive benefits with medical coverage. 

Those who fulfilled service in active duty or the reserves, but did not serve long enough for retirement benefits need help.

A veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury can file for benefits and be eligible for care, but that doesn’t always happen. 

Those who served a year in Iraq or Afghanistan, did many patrols, came home tired of the military and walked away without documenting anything may face difficulty a few years later, when they start having the shakes or struggle with jobs and family.  Spouses and children need help as often as the veterans.  

Funding dried up, but the need remains,” Dan said. 

So LCSNW seeks funding to rebuild the program through grants, events and donations.

“Our motivation is to heal victims.  If traumatized veterans come to us for help, we will find a way to help them,” says Dennis McGaughy, regional vice president for LCSNW.

For information, call 747-8224.



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