...and One Very Heartfelt Thanks from the Troops

on Monday, 17 December 2018.

1LCVFSFCareRecips3

From: Lee, Joseph S MAJ USARMY MEDCOM LRMC (US)
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2018 12:43 AM

Subject: Thank you from the 67th FST in Afghanistan...

Dear 300 Boodle Brigade, Abbvie Vets Group, and the Lake County Vets Foundation,

Just wanted to send you all a warm and heartfelt THANK YOU!!!! for all the stockings, Christmas decorations, and boodle we received from you all!! With Christmas and New Years just around the corner, it was a HUGE morale boost (and sugar high!) for all of us at the 67th Forward Surgical Team stationed here in Afghanistan. While our group is small in size, we have been able to share all your wonderful snacks and goodies with our patients and other soldiers we treat both on the Forward Operating Base and returning from combat missions. Because we are in such a forward deployed location, everything you sent us goes a long way and is deeply appreciated! Your "boodle boxes" took me back to my days of Beast Barracks and plebe year (Class of '03) - I think its great you all continue to share this small part of the Long Gray Line with our brothers and sisters in arms during deployment. I am attaching a picture earlier this week of everyone as we decorated the aid station here and enjoyed unwrapping your gift boxes. Once again, thank you all so very much for your love, thoughts, and prayers this holiday season. Go Army, beat Navy!!

Happy Holidays!

67th Forward Surgical Team
MAJ Joseph Lee
General Surgeon/61J
MSS-TK, Afghanistan

1LCVFSFCareRecips2

 

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.

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.

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.

Veterans Appeal Act Was Effective February 19th, ACT NOW!

on Friday, 08 February 2019.

The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 became law on August 23, 2017 (Pub L. 115-55). It is also known as the Appeals Modernization Act. You can read the law in full on Congress.gov.

Know More
The need for a Modern Appeals System Rapid Appeals Modernization Program

Frequently Asked Questions

  • VA's Implementation Plan
  • Opt-in Letter with election Form
  • Multimedia Materials
  • RAMP Overview Video
  • Benefits of RAMP Video
  • RAMP Fact Sheet
  • RAMP Infographic
  • RAMP Poster
  • RAMP Brochure

Service Platoon Offers Opportunities to Give Back

on Monday, 11 March 2019.

 Maguire 3

My name is Mike Maguire, and it is my honor and pleasure to be named the new Service Platoon leader for the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation (LCVFSF). Let me state up front that I am not a Veteran, but I am a life long American citizen, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for all our Veterans.

I believe that we as citizens, and the beneficiaries of the service and sacrifice that these brave men and women, and their families, have willingly given for our freedom and liberty, must never forget them. LCVFSF is run by Veterans for Veterans, but they also firmly believe that a partnership between civilians, and Veterans is vital to their primary mission of providing assistance to ALL Veterans, in areas ranging from employment, health and family issues, housing, any many others. I know by the fact that you have all signed up to participate in this service that you all feel the same way.

Make Your Health Records Work for You

on Thursday, 07 July 2016.

 
US Department of Veterans Affairs Seal
 
 
 
Make your health records work for you.

Dear Veteran,

Connecting your docs with 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, so they can provide you the best possible care.

This exchange occurs over a secure and private network known as the eHealth Exchange. This program is free and voluntary for Veterans, but VA needs your consent to share your health records (VA Form 10-0485).

sign up nowIf you have not already joined, go to the eBenefits website and sign up (It's free)! 
If you have technical difficulties, please call 1-800-983-0937 for assistance.

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

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 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.

Peer Support Specialists Help Heal America's Veterans

on Tuesday, 02 December 2014.

baren flag
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.