Articles in Category: News
IRS has Resources for Veterans, Current Members of the Military
The Internal Revenue Service is committed to helping all Veterans. We work with community and government partners to provide timely federal tax-related information to Veterans about tax credits and benefits, free tax preparation, financial education and asset-building opportunities available to Veterans.
The Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communication (SPEC) office within the Wage & Investment Division has built a network of national and local partners. Organizations include corporate, faith-based, nonprofit, educational, financial and government. With so many tax benefits available today, taxes can serve as the starting point for many people's dream of stronger financial security.
Partnership with VA
The IRS and US Department of Veterans Affairs entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in 2015. The primary focus of the MOU is to provide free tax preparation services to Veterans and their families.
Partnering organizations prepare tax returns free of charge for low- to moderate-income taxpayers. Also check out the partner Outreach Corner for links to newsletter articles, podcasts, widgets and other electronic products to help reach out to customers with timely tax news. If you represent a Veterans organization, why not look further to see how you can become involved?
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.
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."
GUEST POST IN FORBES WRITTEN BY Paul A. Dillon,
President/CEO of Dillon Consulting Services LLC, a U.S. Dpt of Veterans Affairs certified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business
The stories keep coming—relentlessly. Daily in the national media—on TV, radio, online and on the printed page—are heartrending tales of broken young veterans returning from the recent wars, and their heroic caregivers. Young people, burdened by all types of injuries, seen and unseen–blown off limbs, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse, and mental illness dominate the national discussion regarding those who most recently have served. The terrible shootings at Ft. Hood and the Washington Navy Yard only reinforce how damaged these veterans must be.
And, surely, without a doubt, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have taken a terrible toll on the 1% of our citizenry who have stepped forward to defend the other 99% of our national population. According to a report published by the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, in the 13 years since the 9/11 attacks our nation's military has been deployed and in a state of war, more than 2.5 million young men and women have volunteered to serve and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan—and, as of May 2014, more than 6,668 have been killed and over 51,785 have been physically wounded.
Peer training and certification was held at the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation DryHootch Drop-In Center Feb 17, 18 and 19.
Completion of the 40 hour course qualifies participants to be certified by the state of Illinois, a requirement of LCVFSF Three participants are Peer Specialists from LCVFSF and three are Lake County mentors from the 19th Judicial District Veterans Treatment and Assistance Court.
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.”
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.”
September 5, 2014
Newly published research by Stanford scholar Emma Seppala shows how meditation and breathing exercises can help military veterans recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.
BY CLIFTON B. PARKER
For several years, Emma Seppala, associate director of Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and lead author of the article, has been studying the effects of breathing-based meditation practices on veterans suffering from PTSD.
"This is the first randomized controlled study on a form of meditation or yoga for veterans with PTSD that has shown such long-term, lasting effects," she said in an interview.
PTSD, which affects about one in five veterans, is typically triggered by the experience of a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts and emotions. Returning vets suffering from PTSD have extremely high suicide rates, Seppala said.
The old Army cook and the injured artilleryman sat shooting the breeze at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.
Nick Konz spent part of the 1960s in uniform, turning low-grade meat into meals for soldiers stationed in Germany.
Ray O'Brien came home "banged up" from the Korean War, prompting a discharge and a loss of military life that the 86-year-old would lament after until the day he died.
By that November day, O'Brien was suffering from vascular disease and had settled into hospice care. Still, the Libertyville man retained the loquaciousness of someone healthier as he held court from his wheelchair.
"The American Legion has the best bars," he noted, hair gelled up by a nurse for the visitors, his right leg swollen with blood that refused to circulate.
"Depends on who's bartending," Konz said.