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Pam Hallman to Meet with the U.S. Congressional Brain Injury Task Force13-Oct-2017

On October 25, our own Pam Hallman has been chosen to represent domestic violence and brain injury survivors across the country in front of the U.S. Congressional Brain Injury Task Force at a brie.. Read More...

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Veterans

A veteran and his service dog

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

- President George Washington

Early in 2007, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan created a Veterans Program to specifically help our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with complex TBI issues. Our goal is to provide answers and avenues of support for all Michigan residents living with brain injury. If you are a veteran who has or believes you have a brain injury, or if you are the loved one of a veteran with similar concerns, the Association encourages you to contact us at 800-772-4323 or 810-229-5880.

You are not alone.

Women Empowering Women Group

In a partnership with Women Supporting Women Veterans, we offer a special monthly support group for women and women veterans living with a brain injury which offers an environment that fosters trust and hope.By mobilizing together, we provide opportunities to explore life enhancing strategies through peer-to-peer discussion, supportive relationships, and education.

If you are interested in learning more or attending a meeting, contact Diane Dugan. If you are in need of transportation, please call (800) 444-6443. To see when the next Women Empowering Women group meeting is, visit our event calendar.

Veterans Travel Assistance Program

One of the most significant obstacles to accessing health care for brain injury survivors is transportation to and from medical appointments. Many survivors are unable to drive themselves, do not have access to a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible, or are unable to afford to own a vehicle and are reliant upon family, friends, or public transportation. Depending on the community, access to public transportation (bus, taxi, Uber/Lyft) is often limited or entirely unavailable.

With the Veterans Travel Assistance Program (VTAP), BIAMI will reimburse veterans who have a confirmed brain injury diagnosis with a one-time grant of up to $250 for transportation and travel expenses to and from TBI-related treatment. To qualify, one must:

  • Must be a U.S. veteran
  • Have a confirmed brain injury or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, as verified by a qualified physician
  • Be at or below an annual income level of 500% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

Reimbursement expenses must be directly related to medical appointments and include:

  • Mileage to and from medical appointments (reimbursable at 50% of the Federal Mileage Reimbursement rate
  • Tolls
  • Car rentals
  • Taxi fair
  • Bus fair
  • Uber/Lyft
  • Independent transportation company fees

For those interested in applying, the application process entails the following:

  • Veterans will submit a completed application for review by designated BIAMI staff
  • Within one (1) week of receiving an application, BIAMI staff will notify veterans of acceptance status
  • Veterans who have been accepted into the program will receive a copy of the guidelines, as well as forms to be completed in order to receive travel reimbursement
  • Once a reimbursement form has been submitted, BIAMI staff will review the submission within one (1) week
  • Pending approval, BIAMI staff will submit a check request to the bookkeeper, seeking reimbursement

Other Resources

Brain injury awareness presentations are made to returning soldiers and their families at post deployment health assessment workshops. We believe the most important part of our message is that these wounds are “Invisible” and “Treatable”.

Our Veterans Support Services provide information and resources to our returning service members, as well as their families and caregivers.

  • Family Helpline: Call our Family Helpline (800-444-6443) if you have questions about information and resources available to veterans or active, Guard, or reserve personnel and their families.

  • eLibrary and Library: If you'd like to learn more about unique characteristics of service-related brain injuries, see our ePublications. You may check out books and/or videos in the BIAMI Library in our Brighton Office.

  • Support Groups: Support groups are an excellent way to connect with other individuals with brain injuries and their families. These groups provide opportunities to learn from others who have gone through similar situations, to share personal experiences, and to make new friends. Veteran-to-veteran support groups may be available in your area, contact our office for more information.

No brain injury is too small to ignore or too severe to lose hope.


About TBI

Invisible Wounds ↓

TBI is the “invisible wound” because it can be a very serious injury that can be sustained without visible indicators. Veterans returning from combat may have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by:

• Improvised Explosive Devices - IEDs
• Mortars
• Vehicle Crashes
• Grenades
• Bullets
• Mines
• Falls

Shock wave blasts from improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and land mines are the leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in combat zones. Reports indicate that up to 20 percent of returning veterans exhibit symptoms of having sustained traumatic brain injury.

Estimates point toward as many as 320,000 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) eventually sustain traumatic brain injury. However, it is not only recently returning vets who are living with brain injury. Many veterans of past conflicts are living with the effects of undiagnosed brain injuries, not realizing that avenues exist for them and their families to find answers.

It is difficult to return home from an intensive combat environment. It takes a lot of understanding and patience on the home front as our troops adjust to their previous lives. In many cases, they may never be completely the same. It is even tougher for those who have sustained a TBI during their combat tour, especially if they do not seek diagnosis and treatment. It is critical that family members, close friends and co-workers of troops returning from combat understand and watch for TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

TBI Symptoms ↓

• Headaches
• Irritability
• Sadness
• Memory Loss
• Emotional (more or less)
• Mood Changes
• Nervousness
• Vomiting
• Balance Problems
• Dizziness
• Fatigue or Drowsiness
• Sleep (more or less)
• Trouble Sleeping
• Sensitivity to Light
• Numbness / Tingling
• Sensitivity to Noise
• Dazed or Stunned
• Difficulty Remembering Conversations
• Difficulty Concentrating
• Difficulty Making Decisions
• Slow Response to Questions
• Ringing in the Ears
• Mentally Foggy
• Feeling Slowed Down

Click here to download the Resources for Veterans brochure.

Medical systems throughout the U.S., especially Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VA), are seeing an increase in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan.

Most people who sustain a TBI will experience temporary or permanent physical, cognitive, or emotional changes. The VA is helping polytrauma survivors reintegrate into civilian life through a newly created polytrauma system of care. This system is centered in four Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (Minneapolis, Palo Alto, Richmond, and Tampa).

Additional Resources

You can reach the State of Michigan's Veteran Hotline at 1-800-MICH-VET or 1-800-642-4838.
Returning from the War Zone ↓

Returning from the War Zone, A Guide for Military Personnel is a guide is for service members returning from deployment. Reintegration is an adjustment for all involved. This information aims to make reintegration as smooth as possible and covers:

• A description of the common reactions that occur following deployment to a war zone
• Information about possible problems to watch out for, including PTSD
• How expectations about homecoming may not be the same for service members and family members
• The effects that war zone stress can have on your family and work life
• What you can do to help yourself with readjustment
• What help is available and what it involves

Remind.org ↓

After sustaining a brain injury from a roadside bomb in Iraq, Bob Woodruff, journalist for ABC News, became committed to assisting injured service members and their families.

ReMIND.org is a program of the Bob Woodruff Foundation to educate the public about the needs of injured service members, Veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities and empowers people everywhere to take action.

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center ↓

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center serves active duty military, their beneficiaries, and veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs. DVBIC collaborates with the military, VA and civilian health partners, local communities, families and individuals with TBI.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs ↓

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established on March 15, 1989, succeeding the Veterans Administration. It is responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their families. Headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second largest of the 15 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs for health care, financial assistance and burial benefits.

Department of Defense Compensation and Benefits Handbook ↓

The Department of Defense has developed a comprehensive handbook describing compensation and other benefits service members and their families would be entitled to upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness. Additionally, there are references to assistance provided by other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

Social Security Wounded Warrior - Disability Benefits

After a brain injury, there are often difficult decisions to make. Fortunately, there are many resources available to assist with the rehabilitation process. Michigan has 18% of the nation's total CARF accredited TBI neurocognitive rehabilitation facilities and over 2,500 certified brain injury specialists. Please ask for help.