The VA Program For Veteran Caregivers You May Not Know About

on Tuesday, 22 March 2016.

VA caregiver benefits provide financial, medical, and peer help for family members that support veterans.

Roughly 5.5 million people serve as caregivers for veteran family members. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a lesser known benefit for these family members. Known as Caregiver Support Services, these benefits aim to help family members who are tasked with the primary care of a disabled veteran.

The services available include access to a caregiver support line, support coordinator, peer support for caregivers, adult day health care centers, and home care, among other things.

Check Out the 2018 Changes to TRICARE

on Tuesday, 21 November 2017.

Please be sure to visit,  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:, 

Please contact TRICARE for any questions, comments, or concerns you have regarding your TRICARE benefits. This link provides multiple ways to contact


Judge Christopher Stride Joins Board

on Sunday, 04 March 2018.

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The Honorable Christopher R. Stride was elected to the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation Board in November as Board Vice President. 

He is the Circuit Court Judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit of the State of Illinois appointed in 2016 by a unanimous vote of the Illinois Supreme Court. He is the Presiding Judge of Problem Solving Courts (Mental Health Court, Drug Court, and Veteran’s Treatment and Assistance Court).

Judge Stride holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Valparaiso University and a Juris Doctor of Law from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Veterans Choice Program Not Included in New Spending Bill

on Saturday, 24 March 2018.

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Veterans Admistration Secretary Nominee, Ronny Jackson

The $1.3 trillion spending bill signed in March by President Donald Trump left the Veterans Choice Program in limbo and rejected a major expansion of the caregivers program that provides stipends to family members of severely disabled vets.

"Everyone in Congress constantly brags that taking care of veterans is a nonpartisan issue, so I have to ask why Congress wouldn't support improving the VA Choice Program, or allow more family caregivers to access VA support programs," Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander Keith Harman said in a statement.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, had been pushing for inclusion of proposed legislation, called the Caring For Our Veterans Act, in the overall spending bill. The provision would have funded Choice and eased the fears of veterans groups that expansion of the program would lead to the "privatization" of VA health care.

Peer Support Specialists Help Heal America's Veterans

on Tuesday, 02 December 2014.

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In April 2012, Berg was the battalion guide for the change of command ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. He was in Security Platoon, General Support Motor Transport (company), 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Division. This was about a year after coming out of the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment and returning to duty.

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.

Mundelein Cup-A-Joe Gets New Home

on Sunday, 25 February 2018.

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Since the original Cup-A-Joe coffee klatch started in Lake Villa's Daisy's ARTish Cafe in 2015, the weekly get-together has been steadily expanding locations. The primary goal of A Cup-A-Joe is for Veterans and Service Members of all branches and all eras to have a place to relax together once a week. And the best part is, thanks to the generosity of Dunkin' Brands, the coffee and a snack are free!

Currently, there are weekly gatherings on Wednesdays in Lake Villa at Daisy's; Thursdays in Zion at It's All Good Coffee; and Wednesdays in the Veteran Center of the College of Lake County. The Tuesday location has just been moved to AREA General Store in Mundelein at 18 East Park Street. We are very proud to welcome owner Rob DuPont, brother of two Marines, to the Cup-A-Joe fraternity.  Welcome, Rob.

And please stop by any Tuesday between 4:30 and 6:00 and enjoy a cup, a snack and some great conversation.

Need to File a Secondary Claim? File as a DRC

on Saturday, 24 March 2018.


Do you have a condition that was directly caused by or has gotten worse because of your service-connected condition? If so, you can file a secondary claim for disability compensation for that condition. If you’re planning to file a secondary claim, make sure you file it as a Decision Ready Claim (DRC). Filing as a DRC means you can get a decision on your claim in 30 days or less.

Work with the Veterans Assistance Commission in Waukegan or with another accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to determine if the DRC Program is right for you and your secondary claim. They can then help you gather and submit all relevant and required evidence so your claim is ready for us to make a decision when you submit it.

Don’t have a secondary condition? You can also file these other types of compensation claims through the DRC Program:

  • Direct Service Connection Claims
  • Presumptive Service Connection Claims
  • Increased Disability Claims
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (for surviving spouses)

Learn more about the DRC Program, including eligibility requirements and what medical evidence you need to submit.  Go to: or to find an accredited VSO and get more information before going to the VAC, go to:

Remarkable Impact of Yoga Breathing for Trauma

on Sunday, 01 April 2018. Posted in News

"Military guys doing yoga and meditation?"

Emma Seppala 


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 extends deadline for seeking Gulf War illness benefits to 2021

on Friday, 21 October 2016.

In February 1991, an armored vehicle passes through a breached sand berm separating Saudi   Arabia from Iraq, paving the way for advancing allied troops during the Gulf War. WAYNE J. BEGASSE/STARS AND STRIPES

WASHINGTON – For the next five years, veterans will have an easier time seeking benefits for illnesses linked to service in the Gulf War because of an extension issued Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Since 1994, the VA has automatically presumed a connection from Gulf War service, which included a toxic environment of oil fires and chemical weapons, to an increased risk for several illnesses. The connection enables veterans to receive a disability rating and benefits more quickly.

But the presumed connection and the ability to seek benefits was set to expire at the end of this year, after being extended four times previously. Effective Monday, the VA extended it a fifth time, to Dec. 31, 2021.