VA Unveils Claims Submission Option That Promises to Complete Claims within 30 Days

on Saturday, 09 September 2017.

WASHINGTON — Today, as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) continued efforts to improve timeliness of services for Veterans and their families, VA unveiled the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) initiative, a disability claims submission option with accredited Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) that promises to deliver faster claims decisions to Veterans and their families.

“The DRC initiative is a collaborative effort between VA and VSOs to help Veterans receive faster decisions on disability claims,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “VA works closely with participating VSOs to make sure they are properly trained in this new process and given the tools they need to participate successfully in the program on behalf of the Veterans they serve.”

Taking Steps to End Veteran Suicide

on Thursday, 28 September 2017.

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By: Michele Leivas

Record-breaking heat didn’t stop the group of 119 people who participated in the first annual Lake County Ruck March hosted by the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF) on Saturday.

Equal parts fundraiser and social movement, the march was organized to raise awareness of the national endemic of veteran suicide. It began at the Veterans Memorial Park in North Chicago and led participants on a 15-mile walk to Dryhootch, LCVFSF’s drop-in center located in Grayslake.

Congressman Brad Schneider, a prominent and active figure in the military and veteran community of Lake County, presided over the march’s opening ceremony, citing the statistic that 20 veteran lives are lost each day to suicide.

Vets Who Didn’t Serve in Vietnam Can Claim Benefits for Agent Orange

on Tuesday, 07 November 2017.

For direct online access to VA benefits and resources, create an account here.

From 1961 to 1971, almost 20 million gallons of a combination herbicide were dispersed over nearly a quarter of the country of Vietnam in hopes that it destroy foliage, thus revealing before-hidden pathways of the enemy: the guerrilla Viet Cong, otherwise known as the National Liberation Front.

The defoliant chemical, Agent Orange, killed plants and other vegetation, but it also proved toxic to the United States military members serving on the lands it touched, then and decades after.

And it wasn’t just Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia. Unfortunately, the compound substance harmed vets serving outside of this combat area — sometimes reaching hundreds and thousands of miles away.

If you or a loved one served and was affected by the poisonous affects of Agent Orange, but didn’t serve in Vietnam, it’s still possible to claim benefits or compensation (payments) for this contact.

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."

Free Legal Resources Available for Veterans

on Wednesday, 06 September 2017.

 

In the summer of 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a study that answered a troubling question: what was the major reason vets were losing their homes, and become homeless?

Legal aid. A lawyer. They can’t afford it.

The research covered more than 6,000 veterans either living in the streets or in a shelter, many the victims of yet another unfortunate fact: five out of 10 programs leading to homelessness cannot be solved without legal help. They cited fighting evictions, upgrading military discharge statuses as well as restoring a driver’s license as issues that most often led to losing that essential thing that every human should have, every night — a roof over your head.

Thankfully, there are resources and centers that can find veterans free legal aid. Here’s a list of them:

Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation Gold Star Living Legacy Scholarships

on Thursday, 02 November 2017. Posted in News

ABOUT THE SCHOLARSHIP

One initiative of the Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation is to honor the Fallen by helping their children pay for their education through the awarding of Gold Star Living Legacy scholarships.

Our scholarships are provided to Gold Star Children of an underserved group, those whose parent sacrificed their life in the service in the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, or one of the five Reserve components, (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard).

This underserved group of surviving Gold Star Children are not eligible for the Fry Scholarship and/or Chapter 35 DEA Program (Dependents Educational Assistance). Our Gold Star Living Legacy Scholarships award amount is needs-based with a maximum award amount of $2,500 per academic year.

Check Out the 2018 Changes to TRICARE

on Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

Please be sure to visit https://www.tricare.mil/About/Changes,  and review the attached documents to see if any of the upcoming TRICARE changes affect your benefits.

This link is to the Frequently Asked Questions on TRICARE: https://www.tricare.mil/About/Changes/FAQs, 

Please contact TRICARE for any questions, comments, or concerns you have regarding your TRICARE benefits. This link provides multiple ways to contact
TRICARE: https://www.tricare.mil/ContactUs.


 

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.

Employment and the Holidays

on Thursday, 02 November 2017.

Veterans, Don't Quit Job Searching During the Holidays

For veterans traveling home on leave, winter break is a great time to sit down with potential employers.  Most offices aren't completely empty during the holidays, and managers may have more time for informational interviews.

By Peter A. Gudmundsson

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"I guess that I will have to take the holidays off."

"It is impossible to conduct a job search during the holidays when no one is working."

How often have you heard one of these comments from someone engaged in a job search? Like so many assumptions about career transitions, this conjecture is unequivocally wrong. The ill-informed conclusion that job search activity is suspended through holidays is based on many factors, chiefly a misunderstanding of the role of networking in career development.