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.

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’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.

DoD Clarifies Liberal Consideration for Veterans' Discharge Upgrade Requests

on Thursday, 31 August 2017.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2017 — The Defense Department released guidance today to clarify the liberal consideration given to veterans who request upgrades of their discharge saying they had mental health conditions or were victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The new guidance clarifies that the liberal consideration policy includes conditions resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual harassment, said Air Force Lt. Col. Reggie Yager, the acting director of legal policy in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

The policy is meant to ease the burden on veterans and give them a reasonable opportunity to establish the extenuating circumstances of their discharge, Yager said.

Cases involving invisible wounds such as PTSD or other mental health conditions, whether from combat or sexual assault, are some of the most complex and difficult cases to review, he said.

Tax Season Tips for Military

on Friday, 10 November 2017.

IRS has Resources for Veterans, Current Members of the Military

As the nation prepares to celebrate Veterans Day, the IRS reminds them that they may be eligible for certain tax benefits. There are also tax benefits that can affect current members of the military.

The IRS has resources for both these groups. The following tools will help military members and veterans navigate tax issues:

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.”

Military Members Get Free Tax Assistance

on Monday, 06 February 2017.

The IRS offers free tax help to members of the military and their families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA is available both on and off base including sites for military members overseas. Here are five tips to know about free tax help for the military.

Armed Forces Tax Council. The Armed Forces Tax Council oversees the military tax programs offered worldwide.

Certified Staff. Military VITA certified employees staff their sites. They receive training on military tax issues, like tax benefits for service in a combat zone. They can help you with special extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes or with special rules that apply to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

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

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.

More Tax Assistance Information

on Wednesday, 01 March 2017.

Issue Number: IR-2017-51

WASHINGTON –– The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers today that they may be eligible to receive free tax help at nearly 12,000 preparation sites nationwide. The sites, generally located at community and neighborhood centers, provide tax assistance to taxpayers with low- and moderate-incomes and the elderly.

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to individuals who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly and individuals with limited English proficiency who need assistance in preparing their taxes. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 and older. The IRS certified VITA and TCE volunteers are trained to help with many tax questions, including credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.