Vets Need Veterans Health I.D. Card (VHIC) to Access Bases for Privileges

on Monday, 09 December 2019.

Veterans need VHIC for in-person Commissary, Military Exchange, MWR access
Expansion to start Jan. 1, 2020

The Defense Department has announced expanded Commissary, Military Service Exchange and MWR access Jan. 1 and established a standard for physical access to military installations.

Veterans who are eligible and want to take advantage of in-person benefits must have a Veterans Health Identification Card, or VHIC. Primary Family Caregivers must have an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.

VA Mission Act Update

on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

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The new eligibility criteria will be a major improvement over existing criteria in terms of making things simpler: currently, eligibility criteria vary between VA’s community care programs. When the new criteria go into effect, Veterans can expect better access and greater choice in their health care, whether at VA or through a community provider.

The eligibility criteria are projected to go into effect in June 2019 after final regulations are published and effective, so the criteria are not yet final. In addition, key aspects of community care eligibility include the following:

  • Veterans must receive approval from VA prior to obtaining care from a community provider in most circumstances.
  • Veterans must either be enrolled in VA health care or be eligible for VA care without needing to enroll to be eligible for community care.
  • Eligibility for community care will continue to be dependent upon a Veteran’s individual health care needs or circumstances.
  • VA staff members generally make all eligibility determinations.
  • Veterans will usually have the option to receive care at a VA medical facility regardless of their eligibility for community care.
  • Meeting any one of six eligibility criteria listed below is sufficient to be referred to a community provider—a Veteran does not have to meet all of them to be eligible. (Real-world examples of when a Veteran would be eligible for community care are included in the eligibility fact sheet linked at the end of the article).

VA Transition

on Monday, 09 December 2019.

Military life can be full of transitions. From deployments to retirement, these times can bring about both new opportunities and challenges. Active duty service members have long enjoyed the support of sponsors during their military service transitions. But similar support is not provided for the final transition to civilian life.

VA’s Expiration Term of Service (ETS) Sponsorship Program is beginning to change that, with promising results.

The program helps transitioning service members secure housing, find jobs, pursue educational opportunities and access mental health support, while also providing support to their families.

When service members execute an ETS or retire from service, there is no individual assigned responsibility for their transition into the civilian world. This transition can be challenging, as service members lose the benefits of military leadership, camaraderie, support and structure.

These losses can lead to increased stressors, a decreased sense of purpose and an elevated risk for suicide and other mental health concerns when service members rejoin the civilian community.

As a result, VA has started collaborating closely with the U.S. Department of Defense; academia, including Syracuse and Columbia universities; local governments; and nonprofits, such as American Corporate Partners and ProVetus, to launch the ETS Sponsorship Program.

A New Way to Help Veterans: Donate Your Vehicle

on Wednesday, 05 December 2018.

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Supporters of LCVFSF have been generous with donations of time and money. Now there’s another way. If you own a car, motorcycle, ATV or other motorized vehicle, you can donate it to our Foundation. We get the funds. You get whatever tax deduction your donation earns.  In partnership with Auto Parts City of Gurnee, we are happy to offer a new and easy way to make a donation to LCVFSF to help the Veterans of Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties.

Trusts, Estates and Wills Lawyer To Serve Clients In Need

on Wednesday, 29 May 2019. Posted in News

If you are a Veteran who needs a will and powers of attorney for healthcare and property, LCVFSF would like to introduce you to Attorney Sandie Moon. Working through the foundation, Sandie offers estate planning services at much-reduced rates to Veterans and heir loved ones.

A former teacher, Sandie is demystifies the language of estate planning and helping people prepare for the inevitable transition that death brings to individuals and families.

The life-long resident of Lake County brings the communication skills of a teacher to the practice of law. “I was an elementary and middle-school teacher for many years before deciding I wanted to stretch my horizons,” she said. In her mid-thirties, she began paralegal studies and went to work for a Waukegan law firm as a bookkeeper and secretary.

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Aptinix Vice President Joins LCVFSF Board

on Friday, 27 September 2019. Posted in News

Patty Adams

Patty Adams, a Vice President of Aptinyx, a biopharmaceutical company, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation.

“Patty brings extensive Human Resources experience and skills,” said Paul Baffico, LCVFSF founder and president. “Also, she brings the invaluable experience of a parent dealing with her son’s military experiences. She has a passion for helping Veterans and family members. We are extremely happy that Patty is joining the Board.”

Patty learned about the foundation nearly three years ago when she and her husband Kevin were seeking help for their son Dean who was struggling with PTSD.

“I was looking for help for Dean, but also for us as caregivers” Patty explained. “The foundation has the name “family” in its title. So it came up when I did a search. We got immediate and effective help at a critical time for our family. To begin with, we learned that we weren’t alone.”

What It Means to Be A Veteran by Juan Mendez, USMC

on Monday, 02 September 2019.

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Juan Mendez, United States Marine Corp, E-6 Staff Sergeant, LCVFSF Veteran Peer.

Juan did community outreach work in Milwaukee that included the Marines’ “Toys for Tots” and worked with Marine Reservists on employment and other issues. Juan was deployed three times to Iraq, as well as other assignments in the Philippines and ports in Singapore, Japan and Thailand. Juan will complete a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at North Park College in December.

Earlier this year, Paul Baffico, my boss and LCVFSF founder, suggested that I write an answer to the question: “What does it means to be a Veteran?”. I told him that I wasn’t ready; in other words, allow me my space because I don’t want to pick the scab on those wounds right now. Well, that’s what I wanted him to believe. In fact, I had no idea how to answer that question, and that terrified me.

Service Member Suicide Statistics for Veterans, Active, Guard and Reserve Indicate Collective Effort Is Critical

on Friday, 27 September 2019.

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Military suicides continue to rise

6:39 PM EDT September 26, 2019
Washington

Deaths by suicide in the US military continue to rise with 541 service members dying in 2018, according to a Pentagon report issued Thursday.

Military leaders are continuing to express concern and frustration about the rising number of deaths as they attempt to understand why the numbers are increasing.  (continued)

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Resource Available: Attorney Provides Help with Family Law

on Wednesday, 15 May 2019. Posted in News

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Meet Rebecca Whitcome

Coming from an extended family full of Veterans and having a big “soft spot” for Service Members, Rebecca Whitcombe recently agreed to offer her professional legal services to the foundation’s families and friends.

There is free consultation for those who call LCVFSF to register. Other legal services are offered at a reduced rate that will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Rebecca expects that most of her “return” will come from the satisfaction of helping Veterans and their loved ones. “I want to ‘give something back’ to the Veterans and family members in the community around me,” she said. “That led me to contact LCVFSF.”

Rebecca’s firm, Whitcombe Law, P.C. is dedicated to dealing with family issues that include divorce, adoption, custody, child support, paternity and pre-nuptial agreements. Rebecca started her own Waukegan-based firm nine years ago after working first as a paralegal and then as a lawyer for other firms. She is a graduate of Cornell Law School.

“We are very happy that Rebecca has agreed to work with us in helping Veterans and their loved ones,” said LCVFSF founder and president Paul Baffico. “If you have a family law matter that you need help with, just call us at 847-986-4622.”

Post Traumatic Winning hits the 2nd Marine Division; the response is beyond overwhelming

on Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

Major General David J. Furness, USMC, took command of the 2nd Marine Division (2nd MarDiv), headquartered in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during the first week of August 2018. In his first two months as the CG, the 2nd MarDiv recorded five suicides and 20 to 30 incidents of suicidal ideations/attempts. Gen. Furness asked about causal factors, he asked what was being doing about the problem, and he wasn’t happy with the answers. Historically, military suicide rates have been lower than those rates found in the general population. That started changing about ten years ago. By 2015, suicide was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. military. The Marine Corps has dedicated more resources and senior level attention to suicide prevention than at anytime in its history and yet the problem is increasing.

Gen. Furness didn’t know why all the programs and training the Marine Corps had developed over the years weren’t working; he just knew they weren’t working. He had three choices: continue with the existing programs but work at them harder, continue with present programs and hope they would start to show some return on investment, or try a dramatically different approach.