Remarkable Impact of Yoga Breathing for Trauma

on Sunday, 01 April 2018. Posted in News

"Military guys doing yoga and meditation?"

Emma Seppala 

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I've been asked in disbelief. It's true that when they first arrived to participate in my study (a yoga-based breathing program offered by a small non-profit organization), the young, tattoo-covered, hard-drinking, motorcycle-driving all-American Midwestern men didn't look like your typical yoga devotees. But their words after the study said it all: "Thank you for giving me my life back" and "I feel like I've been dead since I returned from Iraq and I feel like I'm alive again." Our surprisingly positive findings revealed the power that lies in breath for providing relief from even the most deep-seated forms of anxiety.

As many of us know, there is an unspoken epidemic that is taking 20 lives a day in the U.S.

Who is impacted? Those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in protection of others: Veterans.

How? Suicide.

Why? War trauma.

Average age? 25.

VA Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (Ramp) launched

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

What is RAMP?

In November 2017, VA launched Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) with the goal of providing eligible Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disability compensation claim.

Initially started as an invitation only program. On April 2, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded RAMP, by removing the requirement that Veterans first receive an invitation from VA in order to elect participation in the program.

RAMP is voluntary and will provide eligible Veterans the opportunity to enter the new, more efficient review process outlined in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 before the law becomes effective in February 2019.

The Veterans Employment Program of Lake County, Illinois

on Wednesday, 25 November 2015.

CathChar

The Veterans Employment Program of Lake County (VEP) was created by Catholic Charities with two goals in mind:

  1. Help our local unemployed U.S. Military Veterans (and military spouses) find employment.
  2. Help our business community find qualified people to fill their employment needs.

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.


 

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

on Monday, 02 April 2018. 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.

The Ruck March of Lake County

on Monday, 10 September 2018.

Charity takes aim at killer of 20 vets a day

September 9, 2018 the Daily Herald, Burt Constable

If an elite enemy assassin were sweeping through our nation, killing 20 of our military Veterans a day, people would demand an end to that horrifying carnage. Since that killer is suicide, our outrage isn't as focused.

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"It's one thing if ISIS or the Taliban shoot one of us. It's another thing if we take our own lives," says Bob Gorman, a 73-year-old Vietnam Veteran from Barrington who serves as a Veteran peer specialist with the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (http://lakevetsfound.org/), a not-for-profit charity in Grayslake.

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.

2018 VA Disability Rates

on Friday, 09 February 2018.

The 2018 VA Disability rates saw a 2.0% increase effective December 1, 2017 and is the largest increase since 2012. The 2017 VA Disability rates saw a small increase of 0.3 percent. This is after seeing no increase in 2016.

VA disability rate tables for veterans with a disability rating of 10 percent or higher. Eligible veterans with disabilities can receive up to $3,527.22 per month as a tax free monetary benefit. Veterans with disabilities can use the following VA disability charts to determine how much financial assistance they are eligible for.

Lake County Sheriff Veteran Ambassador Program Launches

on Monday, 28 May 2018.

Sheriff

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC), the Lake County States Attorney’s office and LCVFSF celebrated the official launch of the Lake County Veterans Ambassador Program (2.0) on Armed Forces Day, May 19.

The program was created to address Veteran homelessness and suicide in a concrete way, providing transport to shelters and crisis care programs as needed for Veterans needing help from law enforcement community. After a safe night’s sleep, the VAC works with the Veteran to determine eligibility for VA benefits and community resources then connects them as appropriate.