Veterans Treatment Courts Continues Successful Record

on Wednesday, 04 October 2017.

Veterans Treatment Courts — Helping Vets Seek Justice
By Lindsey Getz
Social Work Today
Vol. 17 No. 5 P. 22

[Editor's Note: Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation is one of the founding parties of the Lake County Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court (VTAC) in Waukegan. It continues to be a key part of the specialty court process. To that end, at the conclusion of the following article, please read the information on working and supporting VTAC.]

The specialty court you may not have known existed is helping vets across the country.

Problem-solving courts take a specialized approach to working with participants in addressing the underlying problems that are contributing to their criminal behavior. It's become a big trend in the United States, as we've seen the emergence of drug courts and domestic violence courts that aim to reduce reoffenses and address substance use and other issues at the heart of illegal behavior.

Similar to problem-solving courts, Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) have emerged as a type of specialty court that help address the underlying needs of veterans who wind up facing criminal charges. It's estimated that there are currently around 350 of these specialty courts across the country, and they differ in terms of how they run or what types of charges they adjudicate. But the overarching goal is the same: getting veterans the help they need to stay out of jail and reintegrate with society.

Pentagon Plans Changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability

on Saturday, 25 November 2017.

Defense officials are considering changing the rules under which troops may transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members. Army photo

Military.com | 20 Nov 2017 | by Amy Bushatz

A rule allowing troops to transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their children or spouse may soon see changes, a Defense Department official said in testimony submitted to lawmakers last week.

"The Department of Defense intends to issue a policy change to the 'Post-9/11 GI Bill' regarding the transferability of benefits to eligible family members," Anthony Kurta, acting deputy under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement.

"Effective one year from this change, the ability to transfer benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total service," he wrote.

Currently, service members can transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a dependent family member if they have at least six years in service and agree to serve an additional four years.

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.

PTSD in Military Veterans Causes, Symptoms, and Steps to Recovery

on Tuesday, 22 August 2017. Posted in News

Soldier with therapist

For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may be having a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly be feeling on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But no matter how long the V.A. wait times, or how isolated or emotionally cut off from others you feel, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and there are plenty of things you can do to start feeling better. These steps can help you learn to deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.

What causes PTSD in veterans? Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sometimes known as shell shock or combat stress, occurs after you experience severe trauma or a life-threatening event. It’s normal for your mind and body to be in shock after such an event, but this normal response becomes PTSD when your nervous system gets “stuck.”

Your nervous system has two automatic or reflexive ways of responding to stressful events:
Mobilization, or fight-or-flight, occurs when you need to defend yourself or survive the danger of a combat situation. Your heart pounds faster, your blood pressure rises, and your muscles tighten, increasing your strength and reaction speed. Once the danger has passed, your nervous system calms your body, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, and winding back down to its normal balance.

Immobilization occurs when you’ve experienced too much stress in a situation and even though the danger has passed, you find yourself “stuck.” Your nervous system is unable to return to its normal state of balance and you’re unable to move on from the event. This is PTSD.

Recovering from PTSD involves transitioning out of the mental and emotional war zone you’re still living in and helping your nervous system become "unstuck."

National Guard Scholarship Announced

on Friday, 09 February 2018.

NatGuard 2

Leonardo DRS Guardian Scholarship Fund
Administered by The National Guard Educational Foundation

APPLICATION CRITERIA AND INFORMATION

Eligibility Criteria for ALL Scholarship Grants

1. A scholarship applicant must be a dependent son or daughter of a National Guard member who died in an operational or training mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.
2. All scholarship grants are to help cover the cost of tuition, applicable room and board, fees, and books.
3. All educational institutions to be attended by scholarship recipients must be geographically located within the SO United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Guam.
4. All scholarship applicants or previous scholarship recipients must apply or re-apply each year no later than June 30.
5. Send scholarship applications and required documentation to:
    The National Guard Educational Foundation
    Attention: Leonardo DRS Guardian Scholarship Fund
    One Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001
6. Scholarship recipients will be notified no later than August 1.
7. All scholarship grants awarded will be paid directly to the educational institution to be attended by the scholarship recipient.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Special "Quilts of Valor" Presentation

on Friday, 20 April 2018.

 
April 20, 2018, Waukegan County Court House         
Mentors for the Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court (VTAC) of the 19th Judicial Circuit were presented with their own Quilt of Valor in recognition of their dedication and service to the VTAC program. The quilts are normally presented to court graduates upon completion of the program as a symbol of the care, warmth and security the VTAC will always provide the graduate.

Judges Christie Bishop and Christopher Stride, the presiding judges of VTAC, broke with the tradition of Quilts of Valor protocol to honor the mentors in addition to only court graduates. The quilts were presented in a solemn ceremony in front of more than 80 spectators to underscore the importance of the mentors in the success of VTAC.

LCVFSF Veteran mentors Kirby Wagner (far left) and Bob Gorman (third from left) were two of the very proud recipients.

To learn more about VTAC, call 847-986-4622.