Wounded Warrior Program
The US Army Wounded Warrior program provides one-on-one service to severely wounded soldiers and their families.
"We assist and advocate for severely wounded soldiers and their families for as long as they need us, wherever they are located," said Army Col. James Rice, the Wounded Warrior program's director.
The Wounded Warrior program is for soldiers who are rated 30 percent or more disabled, by the Army disability system, to ensure their families receive all the benefits and support they are entitled to.
The 30-percent threshold is based on the level of disability rating above which soldiers and their families can maintain the Tricare retirement benefit, explained Rice.
Almost 2,400 injured soldiers are enrolled in the program. Each is assigned a soldier-family management specialist – the equivalent of a case manager – "who gives them personalized recovery assistance in navigating government and nonprofit organizations on their behalf to ensure they get the help and support their families need," Rice said.
"We make the connection as soon as that soldier arrives at a treatment facility, and our soldier-family management specialist – our care manager – establishes a relationship with that solider and family that continues as long as it takes," he explained.
Support continues even after the soldier leaves the hospital and either continues on active duty or departs the service. "We're still with them to help them through vocational rehabilitation, through the education process and ensuring that they are fully employed to the greatest extent possible so that they're integral members of their community," he said.
The program's staff of about 100 includes soldier-family management specialists who are dispersed throughout the United States to accommodate soldiers and families in person. "Wherever there is a significant population of wounded warriors, we have a soldier-family management specialist on the ground," Rice said.
This decentralization of the Wounded Warrior program is its most significant change in recent years.
The program was created in 2004 as the "Disabled Soldiers Support System," and previously provided support only from its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
The Wounded Warrior program is part of a larger Army initiative focused on providing more comprehensive medical services to soldiers and their families.
Thanks to Kristen Noel, American Forces Press Service
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