Ruck March Takes Center Stage

on Tuesday, 20 June 2017.

Teams and Individuals Register NOW!

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All Registered Participants Will Receive the Commemorative Ruck March 2017 Wristband 

There’s an important opportunity ahead for you, your family members, your friends, your co-workers, even your employer to help Veterans and their families.

The September 23rd Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF) event in collaboration with the Student Veteran Club of the College of Lake County seeks to address two critical needs: lowering Veteran suicides and raising funds to keep the Foundation’s work on behalf of Veterans and their families going strong.

 

Great Cause!

(Veterans Suicide Prevention)

Hard Work!

(Only 22 KM)

Fun! Competition!

(Team and individual)

Awards!

Click Here to Register Immediately!

Service Members with PTSD Get Back On Course Through Golf

on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.

FILE PHOTO - The pin on the 6th hole casts a shadow across the green in Augusta, Georgia, U.S. April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The pin on the 6th hole casts a shadow across the green in Augusta, Georgia, U.S. April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Sylvan Olivieri, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Marine, is among dozens of veterans who have sought therapy on the golf course.

Olivieri, who is completely new to the game, told Reuters he learned of the Professional Golfers' Association's (PGA) Helping Our Patriots Everywhere (HOPE) program through his PTSD group.

"The first time was rough because I was making some minor mistakes but the instructors got me straight," Olivieri said at the West Point Golf Course, just steps from New York's prestigious U.S. Military Academy. 

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.

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.

Connect Your Health Records Now

on Thursday, 22 June 2017.

Make your health records work for you. "Connect Your Docs" with VHIE Health. Get started now.

Would you like to make your doctor visit easier and faster?

Dear Veteran,

Connecting your docs with the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE), also known as the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health program shares important parts of your Veteran health record between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and your community health care providers who participate in this program.

This allows your health care providers to access important information about your health and provide you the best possible care. This exchange occurs over a secure and private network known as the eHealth Exchange.

Watch the video to learn more:

A Veteran talking with medical staff.

Ready to get started?

This program is free and voluntary for Veterans, but VA needs your consent to share your health records (VA Form 10-0485). If you have technical difficulties, please call 1-800-983-0937 for assistance. If you have not already joined, you must first sign up on the eBenefits website (it's free)!

Get started now

Thank you for agreeing to share your VA health data with your providers and, as always, we thank you for your service!

Sincerely,

The VLER Health National Program Office

Free Bikes for Jobs and Job Interviews

on Wednesday, 16 August 2017.

Lake County Bike ProjectArmy veteran Regina Crump was able to secure new bicycles for her sons, Djion Curry, 14, and Gary Poyser, 8.

When bicycles belonging to the sons of Army veteran Regina Crump were stolen a few months ago, she said she couldn't afford to buy them new ones.

But this month, her sons Djion Curry, 14, and Gary Poyser, 8, were pedaling around their Waukegan neighborhood.

 

Changes to MST-Related PTSD Claims Processing Means More help for Veterans

on Sunday, 02 July 2017. Posted in News

Image of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) poster

Women are disproportionately likely to have experienced sexual harassment and/or assault during their military service. This trauma, referred to by VA as military sexual trauma (MST), can result in conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as a cascading impact on all aspects of life. (Click here for more information on military sexual trauma and treatments available for resulting conditions from VA.)

Due to increased awareness of this problem and the challenges of providing corroborating evidence in many cases, VA has taken a number of steps over the years to better serve MST survivors applying for disability compensation for conditions caused by MST, beginning with relaxing evidentiary standards in 2002. Because events involving sexual trauma are not always officially reported, VA looks for “markers” (i.e., signs, events or circumstances) that provide an indication the traumatic event happened, which include but are not limited to records from rape crisis or mental health counseling centers, tests for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, statements from family members or roommates, transfer requests, deterioration in work performance, episodes of depression or anxiety without an identifiable cause and relationship issues – a longer list is available here.

In response to an identified gap in the percent of claims granted for PTSD caused by MST compared to other causes, such as combat-related PTSD, additional changes were made. These include conducting special training for VA regional office personnel who process MST-related claims beginning in 2011 and offering specialized training to medical examiners who provide input on these cases in 2012.

How effective have those efforts been? The table below shows the percent of PTSD issues granted for MST-related and non-MST related claims. In FY11, there is a substantial gap: 59.5% of non-MST related PTSD claims were granted, compared to only 35.6% of MST-related PTSD claims, a nearly 24 point gap. Three years later, in FY14, the gap had shrunk to less than six points, with grant rates of 54.1% and 48.5% respectively. So far this fiscal year, the gap is only around one point, with grant rates of 54.6% for non-MST related claims and 53.4% for MST-related claims.

Impact of Changes to MST-Related PTSD Claims Processing

The dramatic narrowing of the gap, from over 20 points six years ago to virtually indistinguishable today, shows the success of those efforts. The Veterans Benefits Administration and the Center for Women Veterans will continue to analyze data to sustain these improvements in equitable decision-making.

For help with disability compensation related to MST, read more here and contact the MST coordinator at your local Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office.

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.”

Equine Therapy for Veterans Available in Lake County

on Wednesday, 31 May 2017. Posted in News

 
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Ashti Dawson, a member of the Illinois Army National Guard, talks about how she was helped by equine therapy, offered by the Equine Assited Growth and Learning Association. 

By Amanda Marrazzo
Special to the Tribune 

Emotional issues that veterans might find too big to tackle in a therapist's office can sometimes be worked out with a little help from a friendly horse, experts say.

Offering an alternative aimed at helping active duty and retired veterans and their families cope with such problems, members of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association hosted a demonstration Monday in Elgin.

"They are not used to talking about their feelings," Hayley Sumner said of many veterans struggling with emotional and mental health issues. Sumner works with an equine therapy program for veterans in Massachusetts. "They are very hands on."