Some assistance ends Jan. 1 for Vietnam vets

Some assistance ends Jan. 1 for Vietnam vets January 1, 2000, signals an important cutoff date for Vietnam era veterans seeking assistance at one of 206 Vet Centers nationwide. Vet Centers offer readjustment counseling for combat veterans as a primary part of their mission.

Public Law 104-262 passed on October 1996 phases out Vet Center eligibility, effective Jan. 1, for Vietnam era veterans who did not serve in the war zone (era is 5 Aug. 1964 to 7 May 1975). Era veterans who seek help before Jan. 1 can continue counseling after the deadline. Phase out of eligibility on Jan. 1, 2000 affects only Vietnam era veterans who did not serve in the war zone and who have never used Vet Center services.

Vietnam combat veterans and all existing Vet Center clients remain eligible, along with combat theater veterans form World War II, the Korean War and all post-Vietnam combat zones.

Vietnam era veterans who desire assistance should visit or call the nearest Vet Center now. Trained staff, many who are veterans themselves, are ready to assist and answer questions. Vet Center services include:

* Readjustment Counseling

* Job counseling and placement

* Referral for benefits assistance

* Group readjustment counseling

* Marital and family counseling

* Substance abuse information and referral

* Sexual trauma counseling and referral (all veterans regardless of era or war zone service)

* Community education and liaisons with community agencies.

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