VA OCONUS Connection

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VA OCONUS Connection

From the Director's Desk

suicide prevention

September is Suicide Prevention Month. This month — and every month — you can take action to help prevent suicide. You don’t need special training to show a Veteran you care. Even simple actions of support can make a real difference to someone going through a difficult time.  I encourage you to try one of these two sources to Make the Connection.

Rallypoint:  Nearly 2 million current and former members of the US military gather to discuss military life, share information, and exchange stories through the RallyPoint Community. Tap into a rich network of highly engaged members discussing all facets of life during and after military service.

VetFriends: Find your service-time buddies and search over 2,583,359 VetFriends members. Chances are your service-time buddies or family members may already be a part of VetFriends. All you need is a first and last name!


The worldwide COVID 19 pandemic continues to impact disability claims processing. Compensation related examinations have been delayed significantly as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions; however, examinations are now resuming in many countries.  The exam provider will contact the Veteran/Service member as soon as the required exams are able to be scheduled. As compensation exams begin to be scheduled in additional countries, they will be added VA's compensation examination website:

For more information about how VA is dealing with COVID-19, click here.  

Status of Operations: Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) Offices

Our Germany and Korea BDD offices are temporarily closed for in-person assistance, however, we're still open for business to help you by email. Contact information is provided below for your location. Benefits and services, like payments, will continue to be delivered. Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting our website at Veterans with claims specific or other questions may request information via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) or telephone at 1-800-827-1000, or 412-395-6272 for Veterans outside the US.

Update: Overseas Military Service Coordinators

Due to COVID-19, Overseas Military Services Coordinators (OMSCs) will be extending virtual support operations to overseas Veterans, Service members, and their dependents until March 31, 2021. OMSCs will be responding to e-mails and arranging phone interviews for those seeking assistance with all VA benefits.

We invite all Veterans, Service members, and dependents who would like to speak to a VA representative about VA benefits to send your contact information to the email address listed for your location to set up a virtual appointment with an OMSC. 

If your specific location is not listed below, Veterans residing in other areas of Europe may utilize one of the email addresses listed for Germany, UK, or Italy; Veterans residing in Asian countries may refer their inquiries through the mailboxes listed for Japan.  


OMSC E-mail

Hours of OMSC Active Monitoring

Kaiserslautern, Ramstein, Wiesbaden, Baumholder, Sembach, Spangdahlem, Belgium, Netherlands, France





11:00am to 12:30am (Europe)

Stuttgart, Vilseck, Grafenwoehr, Ansbach, Garmish, Bavaria Region



11:00am to 12:30am (Europe)

Italy and Spain to include Aviano, Vicenza, Naples, Sigonella, Camp Darby, Rota



11:00am to 12:30am (Europe)

United Kingdom to include Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Alconbury, Croughton



11:00am to 12:30am (Europe)

Okinawa to include Camp Foster, Kadena AFB


7:00pm to 8:30am (Japan)

Yokosuka, Misawa, Yokota, Camp Zama, Atsugi, Camp Fuji


7:00pm to 8:30am (Japan)

Iwakuni, Sasebo, Yokota, Camp Zama, Atsugi, Camp Fuji


7:00pm to 8:30am (Japan)

OCONUS Connection FAQs

In every issue of the OCONUS Connection, we ask your for your feedback.  We try to address the feedback provided by the selection of topics in subsequent editions, as we strive to address the topics of interest to you.  We appreciate your perspective and welcome the opportunity to better serve you.  To more specifically address the feedback you provide, we will be addressing commonly asked questions in our new FAQ section of the OCONUS Connection. 

  • What does "OCONUS" mean? 
    • OCONUS= Outside the Continental United States
  • What is the contact information for VA in Korea?
    • The Camp Humphreys, South Korea office can be reached by email at or by phone at DSN 757-2914 (or commercial 050-3357-2914).
  • Veterans' Spouse Help?
    • Dependents may contact one of the OMSC mailboxes listed above, as well as the BDD Korea or Germany offices (contact information also included above).   Additionally, Dependents may contact VA by phone at 412-395-6272 or via  Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS).
  • Can I submit a claim for eye exam and eye glasses?
    • If you have an eye injury or disease related to your military service, you may submit a claim to establish service connection for this condition.  VBA will determine if this condition is service-connected and the extent of the disability.
    • For  more information on whether the Foreign Medical Program will cover the expenses of an eye exam and eye glasses, please contact them by phone or email.
  • Although what you have provided is great for locations where there are military facilities, but what about France, the largest country in Europe without an American facility? There are many retired Veterans and other Veterans who have no place to go or a person to contact.
  • Having my medicines shipped to me in Romania? 
    • Due to the international restrictions associated with the shipment of prescription drugs, FMP does not offer a pharmacy mailout program.  Physicians should only prescribe medications that are legally available within the Veteran's country of residence and are accepted by VA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • What about a few retired Veterans in Norway? In which scheme do we fit in?
    • Veterans residing in Norway may direct their inquiries to an Overseas Military Service Coordinator in Europe, as listed above.
  • Information on retired vs. VA benefits such as Tri-Care overseas vs. FMP
    • The Foreign Medical Program published an online guide containing important information on FMP benefits.   FMP and the use of other health insurances are addressed.  For additional questions related to FMP, see the contact numbers provided below.
    • Please visit Tricare's website for answers to your Tricare questions.
  •  What is the CARES Act Stimulus Payment status for Veterans living abroad?
    •  VA partnered with the Department of Treasury to ensure Veterans and survivors are able to receive their Economic Impact Payment automatically.  On April 26, 2020, VA successfully submitted data on 5.6M Veterans and survivors living within the United States and its territories to IRS, to include those who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.  Upon completion of this validation effort, IRS generated the delivery of payment to those Veterans and survivors they determined as eligible.   For more information, please visit the IRS website:

      Check on the status of your Economic Impact Payment

Keep Your Info Up to Date!

Always keep VA informed of changes to your contact information, including your mailing address, phone number, and email.  VA may utilize any of all of these means to contact you.  And it's easier now than ever to update your information!   Users may choose from various options for updating their information, including:

  • Self-service portals, including eBenefits and VA.Gov
  • By phone: (1-800-827-1000, or 412-395-6272 for Veterans outside the US)
    PO BOX 4444
    JANESVILLE, WI 53547-4444
  • By Fax: TOLL FREE: 844-531-7818 & 248-524-4260 (Utilized for Foreign Claimants)

As your claim or appeal is processed, you can expect to be contacted via mail, phone, and/or email by a VA representative.   Please note, VA will not contact you directly via social media (i.e. Facebook or associated programs, such as FB Messenger; Instagram, Twitter, etc). 

Even if you do not have a currently pending claim or appeal, please maintain updated contact information so that VA may notify you of changes in legislation, provide annual benefits summary, and more.

How Do I File a Disability Claim?

To learn more about how to file a claim for disability compensation or increased disability compensation, visit How to File a Disability Claim.   The website walks you through the steps of the process, including:

  • How do I prepare before starting my application?
  • What evidence will I need to provide to support my claim?
  • Various avenues available for actually submitting my claim?
  • What happens after I file my VA disability claim?

What Other Benefits are Available to Me?

Many Veterans and their family members are not aware of all of the benefits available.  VA developed a benefits eligibility matrix to outline some of the additional benefits you may be eligible for that are based on a favorable decision for a VA benefit or based on special circumstances.  Take a look!  Please note that there are some restrictions to eligibility for Veterans residing abroad. 

How Do I Obtain My Military Records?

Veterans living outside the United States should fill out SF-180 requesting their Military Records.

How to Obtain Standard Form 180 (SF-180) to Request Military Records

There are several ways to obtain an SF-180. You can:

You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives' National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Be sure to use the address specified (either in the instructions on the SF-180

Improved Processing Time for Retrieving Foreign Private Treatment Records

 As of end of month July, the cumulative Average Days to Complete (ADC) a foreign private medical record request was 20 days, as compared to 60 days plus days approximately a year ago.  New solutions continue to be piloted to help further reduce processing time, like emailing a link/passcode to the provider to view and download electronic medical records in a designated portal, which is expected to help further reduce ADC and increase success rate.


Significant Days & Observances

US Coast Guard


August 4th marked the 230th Anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard!  



Air Force Day - August 1

Air Force Day was established on August 1, 1947, by President Truman "in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintained our nation's air strength." August 1 was chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment, in 1907, of the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army.

Air Force
Purple Heart

Purple Heart Day

August 7th commemorated the establishment in 1782 of the Badge of Military Merit, an award created by George Washington to honor soldiers for their distinguished action in battle.


 Marine Forces Reserve Birthday

August 29, 2020

Marine Corps Reserve Birthday
Patriot Day


Patriot Day

Patriot Day is observed on September 11 to remember those who were injured or died during the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001.



POW/MIA Recognition  Day

September 18, 2020

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is an observance that honors those whose who were prisoners of war (POW) as well as those who are still missing in action (MIA). It is observed on the third Friday in September. 

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was proclaimed by the United States Congress in 1998. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the flag is flown on the grounds of major military installations, Veterans memorials, government agencies, federal national cemeteries.

In the armed forces, a single table and chair draped with the POW/MIA flag are displayed in mess halls and dining halls. Such installation symbolizes the hope for the return of these who are missing in action.

Gold Star Family Day

Gold Star Mother's & Family's Day

September 27, 2020

A day set aside to honor the families of our nation's fallen service members. 


Navy Birthday

October 13, 2020


Military Retiree Resources & Publications

Military retiree publications contain a wealth of information.  We have compiled a list  of retiree publications for each of the five branches of service.  These publications are a great way to stay informed and connected.  You can find news about retiree appreciation days, seminars, reunions, legislative changes, and much more!

Army: Soldier for Life Community

Soldier For Life engages and connects Army, government, and non-government organizations in order to influence policies, programs, and services that support Soldiers, Veterans, and Families build sustainable relationships and outcomes, and reinforce the Soldier For Life (SFL) mindset throughout the entirety of the Soldier Life Cycle (SLC).

Army Echoes informs Retired Soldiers, surviving spouses, and their Families about changes to their benefits and entitlements, developments within the Army, and how they can continue to support the Army. 

Air Force Retiree Services

Afterburner is produced twice a year.  Visit the link to review the current edition, as well as archived issues.  The Afterburner website also contains a variety of quick contact links, including links to the Air Force Podcast, Facebook, and Twitter posts, to help you stay connected with your AF community.  

Marine Corps

The Retired Services and Pay Office, Separation and Retirement Branch, Manpower Management Division, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, assists retired Marines, to include those transitioning into retirement, and their dependents, as well as surviving beneficiaries, with a broad array of services and support. Among other things, they manage the establishment of your Retired Pay account at DFAS Cleveland, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), assist retirees and dependents with ID card matters/DEERS, publish the Semper Fidelis Newsletter , administer the Secretary of the Navy Retiree Council, and publish the Retirement Guide.


Shift Colors The Spring-Summer edition is currently available online.

Coast Guard

The Long Blue Line Retiree Newsletter Current Issue is available online, along with archived past editions.


Transitioning Service Members

Service members should contact their respective service TAP leads to connect with a remote VA Benefits Advisor.  Service members who have not participated in the mandatory VA Benefits and Services course may access a highly interactive virtual version of the course through the Department of Defense's Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) platform and register for “TGPS-US006: VA Benefits and Services."

Transition Assistance

Upcoming Live Virtual Events

A variety of virtual outreach events are being held in September.




Tele-counseling is another option for you to receive services. You may request tele-counseling for your initial appointment as well as follow up appointments throughout your participation in the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VRE)program.

This allows you to effectively communicate with your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) without meeting in person.   You will only need a webcam in your computer or mobile device to use this option. If you are interested in tele-counseling, please contact your VRC. Your VRC will work with you to schedule an appointment and will send a link to you to access the meeting.

VA Welcome Kit

Whether you’re just getting out of the service or you’ve been a civilian for years now, the VA Welcome Kit can help guide you to the benefits and services you’ve earned.

Based on where you are in life, your VA benefits and services can support you in different ways. Keep your welcome kit handy so you can turn to it throughout your life—like when it’s time to go to school, get a job, buy a house, get health care, retire, or make plans for your care as you age.

Feel free to share this guide with friends or family members who need help with their benefits too. Download your VA Welcome Kit and print out copies for yourself and others!

Planning Your Legacy: VA Survivors & Burial Benefits Kit

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers this survivors and burial benefits kit as a source of pre-need planning information and record storage for Veterans and their families.  This kit is intended to be used a supplement to the Summary of VA Dependents and Survivors' Benefits.

Check Your Claim Status at VA.Gov

In November 2018, VA began migrating VA websites into a single, unified, Veteran-centric platform under a name Veterans recognize:  Many Veterans are likely familiar with eBenefits, which is still available during the migration During this time, Veterans may utilize eBenefits or

VA is continuously updating and adding more functionality to the website. With just one click, you can reach the top information Veterans need and will have one location to securely log in to access personalized information.


  • The top navigation on every page will allow you to log into your existing accounts using your MyHealtheVet, DS Logon, or an credential. If you do not have an existing account, you can create an account using, a secure VA approved identity credential.


  • redesigned the view of claim status to make the process simpler to follow, to easily identify information requested, and to allow users to quickly review the status of their claim. While it looks different than claim status in eBenefits, the information about your claim is accurate.
  • VA.govclaim status functionality displays the information differently than eBenefits does, yet both sites contain correct information. eBenefits displays an eight-step claim process, whereas displays the status in five steps.


  • The telephone number is 1-844-698-2311.

Veterans Crisis Line

Crisis feels different for everybody and can be caused by a wide range of situations before, during, or after military service.  The Military Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified responders from VA — some of whom have served in the military themselves.

Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through the Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), online chat and text (838255).

You can visit this link to see how Veterans, Service members or their loved ones can reach VCL from Europe, Korea and Afghanistan.

  • In Europe call 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118 *
  • In Korea call 0808 555 118 or DSN 118
  • In Afghanistan call 00 1 800 273 8255 or DSN 111

* In Europe, toll-free service may not be available through all carriers or in all countries

Foreign Medical Program (FMP)

The Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits program for U.S. Veterans who are residing or traveling abroad and have VA-rated, service-connected disabilities. Under FMP, VA assumes payment responsibility for certain necessary health care services received in foreign countries and associated with the treatment of service-connected disabilities, or any disability associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected condition. Additionally, VA may authorize necessary foreign medical services for any condition for a Veteran participating in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program (38 U.S.C. 31). For more information, to include submitting claims for reimbursement, please visit here.

Help Us Spread the Word

Please encourage Veterans residing abroad with whom you come in contact to subscribe to “Veterans Abroad” to receive bulletins and information specific to Veterans residing abroad. 

Subscribe here

Feedback Requested

We’d love to hear your feedback regarding the VA OCONUS Connection!  We want to provide the information you need - please tell us what topics you would like addressed in the future.

*The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Veterans Affairs of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized VA activities, the Department does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links are provided with the intent of meeting the mission of the Department. Please let us know about existing external links which you believe are inappropriate and about specific additional external links which you believe ought to be included.