I’m not convinced the general public understands the complexity of types of veterans there are and the impact that has on what types of services they qualify for.
We have veterans from different wars- WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) . We also have Peace Time veterans, some of whom were in covert operations (Nicaragua for example).
To complicate matters further, just because a veteran was in, for example, during the Vietnam era doesn’t mean he spent anytime in Vietnam; I know of one who spent his entire 2 year enlistment in England.
We have some veterans who were harmed in combat and others who were harmed in a non combat accident. I met a young man who lost a leg in a hit and run accident while he was in training. Also, there are those who have no visible signs of being wounded and yet they have a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The next layer of complexity comes from the type of discharge a veteran receives– general, honorable, other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable. As the following National Public Radio story shows, the type of discharge can have impact on the types of services a veteran receives Other Than Honorable Discharge burdens like a scarlet letter. Veterans can apply for a discharge upgrade. I would strongly recommend having the help of Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to help with that. There is a misconception that they work for the Veterans Administration (VA) but, they do not. In Oregon, each county has a Veterans Service Officer who can assist a veteran with a variety of claims. Claims take time, sometimes a lot of time. Sometimes they get rejected and the veteran has to appeal. Sometimes the deadline to appeal is so short and the veteran can’t get in quick enough to see the VSO for help they miss the deadline and have to start over. Meanwhile the veteran waits… and waits.
The point I am trying to make is, veterans seeking services from any government agency must qualify for each individual program. Just because they qualify for one doesn’t mean they will qualify for another. And, guess what? Who qualifies for different programs changes based at least partially how much money is available. And, nonprofits who help veterans have to go by federal guidelines if they are using a federal grant to assist. If they are not using any kind of federal grant money, they still have to decide what types of veterans they will assist and what types they will not.