U.S. Marines prepare to board ship at Danang in 1970 for trip back to U.S. under withdrawal orders. On Tuesday, a federal court ordered VA to award presumptive disability benefit status to thousands of Vietnam veterans who served on ships in the waters around that country. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants simply because those vets served in the waters off the country’s coastline, and not inland.
The ruling marks a major victory for so-called “blue water” Navy veterans who have fought the department for years over the denials. VA officials have said the existing scientific evidence doesn’t justify the presumption of toxic exposure for the group and have strongly opposed legislative efforts to overturn their decision.
My name is Mike Maguire, and it is my honor and pleasure to be named the new Service Platoon leader for the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF). Let me state up front that I am not a Veteran, but I am a life long American citizen, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for all our Veterans.
I believe that we as citizens, and the beneficiaries of the service and sacrifice that these brave men and women, and their families, have willingly given for our freedom and liberty, must never forget them. LCVFSF is run by Veterans for Veterans, but they also firmly believe that a partnership between civilians, and Veterans is vital to their primary mission of providing assistance to ALL Veterans, in areas ranging from employment, health and family issues, housing, any many others. I know by the fact that you have all signed up to participate in this service that you all feel the same way.
Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns. In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.
On Feb. 8, thousands of mourners filled the United States Naval Academy’s chapel in Annapolis, Md., to pay their respects to Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, 35, who was killed by a suicide bomber at a restaurant in Manbij, Syria, last month, along with three other Americans. Kent was stationed at Fort Meade, Md., where she was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, a Navy unit that supports the National Security Agency and military special operations forces. She was supporting the latter at the time of her death.
During the ceremony, a bugler played taps. The Navy hymn “Eternal Father” rang from the pipe organ. But the memorial service departed from most of those that the Academy chapel has hosted in the past — in more ways than one.
IRS has Resources for Veterans, Current Members of the Military
The Internal Revenue Service is committed to helping all Veterans. We work with community and government partners to provide timely federal tax-related information to Veterans about tax credits and benefits, free tax preparation, financial education and asset-building opportunities available to Veterans.
The Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) office within the Wage & Investment Division has built a network of national and local partners. Organizations include corporate, faith-based, nonprofit, educational, financial and government. With so many tax benefits available today, taxes can serve as the starting point for many people's dream of stronger financial security.
Partnership with VA
The IRS and US Department of Veterans Affairs entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015. The primary focus of the MOU is to provide free tax preparation services to Veterans and their families.
Partnering organizations prepare tax returns free of charge for low- to moderate-income taxpayers. Also check out the partner Outreach Corner for links to newsletter articles, podcasts, widgets and other electronic products to help reach out to customers with timely tax news. If you represent a Veterans organization, why not look further to see how you can become involved?
Dear Veterans and Stakeholders,
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to team up to combat illegal robocalls targeting Americans, including Veterans and their families.
Each year, the FCC receives more than 200,000 complaints about unwanted calls. While this may seem like a big number, it pales in comparison to the millions of robocalls being made each day. The calls interrupt dinners and family time; they flood landline and mobile phones. Scam calls frequently solicit money for fake charities, including ones claiming to support America’s Veterans - some even claiming to be VA representatives.
Prairie State Legal Services is pleased to launch its telephone legal advice line for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault who live in the counties served by PSLS**
The Legal Advice Line is open:
Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays
9am to 1pm
6 p.m. to 8 pm
Victims Legal Advice Line
844/388-7757 (toll free)
We provide bilingual staff or interpreters for limited English proficient callers.
The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 became law on August 23, 2017 (Pub L. 115-55). It is also known as the Appeals Modernization Act. You can read the law in full on Congress.gov.
The need for a Modern Appeals System Rapid Appeals Modernization Program
Frequently Asked Questions
- VA's Implementation Plan
- Opt-in Letter with election Form
- Multimedia Materials
- RAMP Overview Video
- Benefits of RAMP Video
- RAMP Fact Sheet
- RAMP Infographic
- RAMP Poster
- RAMP Brochure
The new law will:
Modernize the current claims and appeals process
Include three review options for disagreements with decisions.
Require improved notification of VA decisions
Provide earlier claim resolution.
Ensure you receive the earliest effective date possible
What are the new options for review?
You have three options for review:
Option 1: Higher-level Review
Your claim is reviewed by a more senior claims adjudicator and involves:
A higher-level de novo review (new look) of the decision
No submission of new evidence allowed
The possibility of overturning the decision based on:
A difference of opinion
A clear and unmistakable error
The reviewer, who identifies or learns of a duty to assist error, can return the claim to the regional office for correction. You or your representative can request an informal phone call to identify specific issues.
Option 2: A Supplemental Claim Lane
You can submit or identify new and relevant evidence to support your claim. VA will provide assistance in developing the evidence.
Option 3: Appeal Lane for Appeals to the Board
This option allows you to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You can choose between three options:
- Direct review: You have no new evidence and do not want a hearing.
- Evidence submission: You have new evidence, but do not want a hearing.
- Hearing: You have new evidence and want to testify before a Veterans Law Judge.
For more information go to: https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp