Bill to Extend Veterans Choice Program Approved

on Sunday, 23 April 2017.

A presidential order extended the Veterans Choice Act on Wednesday to set the stage for a push in Congress to expand the program and allow more access to private care for veterans.

Signed in an Oval Office ceremony, the bill continues the Choice program, which was to expire on Aug. 7, and allows for the expenditure of the remaining $950 million in the program.

The Choice Card program allowed Vets facing lengthy wait times at Veterans Administration facilities or living more than 40 miles from the nearest VA to seek care in the private sector. Those already in the program will not need to re-apply under the bill signed by Trump, VA officials said.

Law Signed Declaring National Vietnam War Veterans Day

on Friday, 31 March 2017.

An act of Congress honoring Vietnam veterans with a day of recognition was signed into law by President Trump on Tuesday, per a White House press release. March 29 is now designated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day by the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 according to Gateway Pundit. The U.S. flag is to be flown in commemoration of those who served in Vietnam.

The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. The bill passed the Senate last month and the House last week.

Vets In Need Program

on Monday, 31 October 2016.

Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation works every day to support the 57,000 Service Members in Lake County, Illinois. Our Vets are sometimes faced with critical emergency financial needs and they come to us for temporary assistance. We respond and help when we can.

We need your help to do the right thing. One $20 donation can buy a simple meal for a Vet, provide a night of shelter, transportation to an assisting agency or any number of other needs.

Veterans Day and the season of giving reminds us of how much our Service Members, both current and past, have unselfishly served the Greater Good for the benefit of all of us living and enjoying life in the United States.

Please consider a $20 donation to the LCVFSF Vets In Need Program. Every penny of whatever you donate will go directly to a Veteran so the entire amount is tax deductible. Just click on the images above or below to be taken to the secure PayPal site to make your donation.

We thank you for your continuing support!

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VA’s Modernization of Claims Process Continues

on Friday, 24 March 2017. Posted in News

More than 300,000 digitalized inactive-claim records removed to improve process service

March 20, 2017
Early this year, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) began extracting hundreds of thousands of inactive-claim records from regional offices east of the Mississippi for digital conversion. Inactive-claim records are claim files that have been settled and have remained inactive for a number of years. The initiative will help reduce processing time for thousands of new claims associated with inactive records.

VA Amends Enrollment Regulations

on Wednesday, 01 March 2017. Posted in News

The VA has amended its enrollment regulations to allow veterans to complete applications for enrollment in VA health care by telephone without the need for a signed paper application.  The change is effective immediately for combat veterans and will be effective July 5, 2016, for all veterans.

This phased implementation accelerates VA's effort to enroll all combat veterans with pending applications as part of its ongoing Veterans Enrollment Rework Project. The VA is working to complete the review and rework of all pending health enrollment records for living and deceased veterans this summer. Veterans can view the amended regulation on the Federal Register website.

Proposed G.I. Bill Change to Help Post 9-11 Vets

on Monday, 06 February 2017.

If the first bill proposed by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) since he took office January 3 becomes law, it will help veterans enter the workforce and assist the employers who hire them.

Schneider and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) introduced the GI Internship Program Act January 31 in the House of Representatives in Washington adding an on the job training component to the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) meets with a former member of the armed forces on Veterans Day. 

Rather than receive college tuition, some veterans using the GI bill can take advantage of this law to receive a stipend while getting on the job training in manufacturing or some other pursuit, according to Schneider. The payment enables the employer to pay less during the learning period. It is designed to last from six months to a year.

“The GI who is about to come into the workforce can earn a living wage and the employer can offset the cost of hiring and training'” said Schneider. “It’s a win win.”

VA Will Offer Mental Healthcare to Vets with "Bad Paper"

on Friday, 10 March 2017.

WASHINGTON – Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin while testifying in a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on March 7, 2017, announced his intention to expand provisions for urgent mental health care needs to former service members with other-than-honorable (OTH) administrative discharges. This move marks the first time a VA Secretary has implemented an initiative specifically focused on expanding access to assist former OTH service members who are in mental health distress and may be at risk for suicide or other adverse behaviors.

“The president and I have made it clear that suicide prevention is one of our top priorities," Shulkin said. “We know the rate of death by suicide among Veterans who do not use VA care is increasing at a greater rate than Veterans who use VA care. This is a national emergency that requires bold action. We must and we will do all that we can to help former service members who may be at risk. When we say even one Veteran suicide is one too many, we mean it.”

VA Disability Rates for 2017

on Monday, 05 December 2016.

The following tables show the 2017 VA compensation rates for veterans with a disability rating 10 percent or higher. (Effective Dec. 1, 2016)

Dependents Allowance:
In addition veterans entitled to compensation whose disability is rated as 30 percent or more, are entitled to additional compensation for dependents as follows (monthly amounts):

Without Children:
Disability Rating: 30% - 60%
Disability Rating: 70% - 100%

With Children:
Disability Rating: 30% - 60%
Disability Rating: 70% - 100%

VA Memorial Benefits for Veterans and Family Members

on Thursday, 06 April 2017.

Pre-Need Application Form

VA takes special care to pay lasting tribute to the memory of Veterans who served and sacrificed and that of their families. VA meticulously maintains 135 VA national cemeteries in 40 states and Puerto Rico and is working to increase access to accommodate Veterans and eligible family members close to home. In a few years, 95 percent of Veterans will have a burial option in an open VA, state or tribal veterans cemetery located within 75 miles of their home. Some benefits are also available for Veterans who choose burial in a private cemetery.

Bankruptcy Becomes an Option for Some Borrowers Burdened by Student Loans

on Thursday, 29 December 2016.

Argument that focuses on legal definition of student loan is at crux of efforts to discharge debt

Some who owe on student loans are arguing in bankruptcy court that their debt wasn’t made for an ‘educational benefit.’ Above, the entrance to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in lower Manhattan, N.Y.

By SARAH CHANEY

Borrowers are beginning to win battles to erase some student loans in bankruptcy court, overcoming stiff obstacles that have generally blocked that path except in extreme cases of financial hardship.

Since March, several bankruptcy courts have allowed borrowers to cancel private student loans with a new legal argument that relies on vague wording about the legal definition of a student loan.

Bankruptcy law says that, without proving extreme hardship, a borrower can’t discharge a loan made for an “educational benefit.” This language has opened a window to cancel loans for students who argue their loans falls outside this category of debt. Such reasoning has been applied to loans obtained to attend schools without accreditation or to study for a bar exam.

The argument applies only to a slice of the private student-loan market, which makes up less than 10% of the more than $1.3 trillion in outstanding student debt. The federal government dominates the student-loan market and isn’t as vulnerable in bankruptcy proceedings.