BartCop Entertainment - BadtotheboneBob's Veterans Report Archive, Page 2

BadtotheboneBob's Veterans Report


Page 2

January - March, 2012



Tuesday, 27 March, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Vitamin D3 and Alzheimer's

A researcher at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System has pinpointed how vitamin D3 works with some of the body's cells to help clear the brain of amyloid beta, the main component of plaques that are seen in Alzheimer's disease... An abstract of the study is available under the "pages 51-62" section on the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease website at

VA Reports to Senate on Vet Homelessness

The U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) held a hearing entitled "Ending Homelessness Among Veterans: VA's Progress on its Five Year Plan." The hearing discussed the progress the committee has made in its 5-year plan to end homelessness among the nation's veterans, particularly female veterans...

Scholarship for Women Veterans

The AARP Foundation is accepting entries to its sixth annual Women's Scholarship Program. The scholarships provide funds to low-income older women who are seeking new job skills, training and educational opportunities to support themselves and their families. One of the focuses of the program is older women veterans age 50+. The scholarship application period for the 2012-2013 academic year will be open until Friday, March 30, 2012 at 4 p.m. MT...

How to Pre-qualify for a VA Loan

Pre-qualifying for a VA home loan is free of obligation and doesn't require a credit check. The process is an indicator of where the potential home buyer stands with the VA or VA-approved lender handling the loan. The pre-qualification process allows the interested consumer to know where he or she stands in terms of eligibility for the loan and how much they are qualified to receive from the lender...

New GI Bill for Unemployed Vets

A new GI Bill program, now known as Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), will offer up to 12 months of Montgomery GI Bill benefits for older unemployed veterans. The program is part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act which also includes tax breaks for companies that hire veterans. That means that pre-9/11 veterans who often feel left out, may soon qualify for as much as $17,600 ($1473 a month) for education and training. Learn more about this new VRAP retraining and education benefit .

Cancer Patients Do Well at VA Hospitals

A recent study has found that older men treated for cancer do as well or even better in a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospital than men covered by Medicare. Researchers said this may be a result of massive changes in the organization of the VHA that started in the mid-1990s, which made patient care more coordinated, strengthened preventive care and allowed medical mistakes to be spotted faster. An abstract of the study is available on the Journal of Clinical Oncology website .

Life Member - DAV


Thursday, 15 March, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

VA Health Care Budget Threatened

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Heartless), Chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, wrote that the reality of sequestration -- the congressionally mandated cuts that will automatically occur later this year due to the Joint Select Committee's failure to find $1.2 trillion dollars in deficit reductions -- is about hit home for veterans. "As it stands right now, sequestration of government programs is imminent." Miller's concern goes beyond the issue of how this will impact our national defense, Miller is worried (Yeah, right... then do something, would ya now?) that an ambiguity in the law could be used by the Office of Management and Budget to cut as much as two percent from the VA's Healthcare budget despite Congress' intent to protect VA from sequestration.

Troops May Soon Get Mortgage Relief

The President's plan will require the federal government to review thousands of service member held mortgages for illegal foreclosures and charges. As a result, eligible veterans and service members could see a sizeable payback from the mortgage companies. Under the settlement certain mortgage companies must pay back at least $116,785 plus any home equity to military homeowners who lost their homes due to illegal foreclosure procedures. In addition, service members who were charged more than 6 percent interest rate (the highest rate allowed under the Service members Civil Relief Act) will be eligible to receive four times what they overpaid in interest... (Yay!)

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, and a commemorative poster can be downloaded from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute website. For more information on Women's History Month, including educational materials, visit the History Center, the Library of Congress website, the National Women's History Project website, the U.S. Census Bureau website, the Department of Defense Women's History Month webpage, and the website.

(They have the past 10 years posters available. I submit 2005's with words from this year's poster)

"I'm not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship"
- Louisa May Alcott

National Cemetery Update

The House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) held an oversight hearing to examine the current state of our National Cemeteries. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has come under fire recently due to a series of audits revealing, to date, over 240 mismarked or unmarked graves and 8 veterans or their loved ones buried in the wrong place at 13 cemeteries nationwide. Officials reviewed NCA's progress in mending the harm revealed by the national audit, as well as to review measures taken to ensure greater accountability. The committee was told that the new leadership at Arlington and the NCA are making significant strides in addressing the issues found during the recent audit.

(I have visited only a few national cemeteries, Arlington and Ft. Custer in Battle Creek, MI. notably. Interestingly, Ft. Custer has a small section where 26 German POWs are buried. There were over 5,000 POWs held there during the war. 16 of those were killed when their farm work detail truck was hit by a train. The others died of natural causes. Every year on the German version of Memorial Day, Volkstrauertag, the German Consul from Chicago comes and they have a small ceremony. Their graves, although segregated, are tended well and are marked as all the other graves are. They use the current German flag, of course, not the swastika.)

Life Member - DAV


Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Proposed VA Budget

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently introduced a budget proposal that would amount to a 10.5 percent increase in funding for veterans care and benefits. Watch VA's Chief Financial Officer break down the budget on YouTube.

(Attention Congress! Remember, veterans vote! Shoot this down at your political peril!)

PTSD Treatment Program Uses Yoga

A new treatment program for post-traumatic stress disorder at the University of Wisconsin-Madison uses yoga to help veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan turn off the sights and sounds of war. The yoga therapy seems to be working. Phase two of the study is about to begin...

(Thanks, you Badgers, you...)

VA Launches Handbook

Veterans enrolled in the health care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs have begun to receive personalized booklets that explain their health care benefits and contain other useful information. The new booklet, called a Health Benefits Handbook, will provide a personalized listing of health benefits based on each Veteran's specific eligibility. The handbook will also have contact information for their local VA medical facilities, appointment scheduling information, guidelines for communicating with their clinical team and, as applicable, information about co-pays...

(I haven't received mine as yet, but I'm pretty 'up' on all that having been in 'the system' since '91 and a DAV Life Member. I don't think there'd be anything in it that I don't already know. But, for the new enrollees, it could be very useful and it's a great idea!)

Get the 2012 VA Loan Guide

Understand the VA Loan benefit you've earned by downloading the free VA Loan Guide. The PDF guide walks you through the benefits of a VA Loan, eligibility, how to refinance, what forms you'll need, and more. Download your free PDF now.

(Attention Vets! Now hear this! If you haven't used this benefit yet and you are thinking of buying or refinancing a home... Read that guide! That is an order! Well, maybe not an order, but a pretty darn good suggestion anyway, dagnabbit!)

VA Helps Vets Avoid Foreclosure

The Department of Veterans Affairs VA has always provided assistance to Veterans and Service members who experience trouble paying their mortgage, whether they have a VA loan or not. To get help, veterans and service members -- even those without a VA guaranteed loan -- may call a national toll-free number, 1-877-827-3702 to speak with VA loan specialists who will provide information about the process of obtaining a VA-guaranteed home loan, or assistance in retaining their home loan or avoiding foreclosure...

(This is for all you 'Black Gang' Navy (and Coast Guard) types, like my Navy Chief Boilerman Dad was. Unfortunately, he 'passed over the bar' before this was recognized and compensated.)

Another mesothelioma resource: Mesothelioma Veterans Center - Link added 09/28/15

Asbestos Trust Fund for Navy Veterans

Under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan, Leslie Controls, Inc, a manufacturer that supplied asbestos-containing gaskets and valves to the U.S. Navy from the 1940s until the 1980s, has established an "Asbestos PI Trust" available to Navy veterans. The plan includes a pay level based on the medical issue affecting the claimant. Amounts are also established for lung cancer and asbestosis. Claims may be filed with the trust starting in March, 2012...

State-by-State Veteran Benefit Breakdown

Many states offer veterans benefits. These benefits may include educational grants and scholarships, special exemptions or discounts on fees and taxes, home loans, veteran's homes, free hunting and fishing privileges, and more. Each state manages its own benefit programs. View the full summary by state here.

(This is definitely worth checking out. For example, here in Michigan I'm eligible for a Homestead Property Tax Credit from the state due to my disability status. Also, both my daughters received college tuition money from the state Dept. Of Military affairs. You won't know until you look!)


Also, be advised that I'm working on compiling all the past 'Veterans Reports' that 'The Boss' (i.e. Marty) will provide a permanent link for on the page. That should be available NLT next week. Pretty cool, eh? I'm thinkin' so...

Life member - DAV


Tuesday, 24 January, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

In response to yesterday's disturbing report, I submit this VA pamphlet that offers treatment by the VA for veterans that have experienced...

My apologies for the un-retouched scan of this pamphlet and its flaws. I had planned to do so, but I wanted to get this out ASAP so here it is, as it is...

In closing, I want to say that 'This not your father's VA' anymore... As well it should be...

Life Member - DAV

Thanks, B2tbBob!
2 more scans were included, but my computer doesn't like them. At all. Sorry.  ~marty


Tuesday, 17 January, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Persian Gulf Claims Deadline Extended  Important!

The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the presumptive period for Persian Gulf War veterans to file claims for undiagnosed illnesses. The new deadline is Dec. 31, 2016. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 25-35 percent of veterans of Desert Shield/Desert Storm have undiagnosed and chronic multi-symptom illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and concentration problems. For more information, visit VA's Gulf War Illnesses website .

(If in doubt, see a service rep and file a claim anyway! This is not welfare, it's compensation! Get your ducks in a row and collect any medical records you may have. That includes any treatment you may have received by civilian doctors after your service. If you don't have your DD-214's, get them. Your service rep can help you, or you can get copies here - Veterans Report - How Do I Get My DD214?. It's all about documentation. The VA Comp and Pension Board will not take your word for it. Do not try to do this yourself. Get a service rep; VFW, DAV, American Legion etc. It doesn't matter who. They are the pros at this and know all the ins and outs. They will legally act on your behalf with the VA...)

VA Loan Facts for 2012

VA Home Loans allow qualified buyers the opportunity to purchase a home with no down payment. There are also no monthly mortgage insurance premiums to pay, limitations on buyer's closing costs, and an appraisal that informs the buyer of the property value. For most loans on new houses, construction is inspected at appropriate stages and a 1-year warranty is required from the builder. VA also performs personal loan servicing and offers financial counseling to help veterans having temporary financial difficulties. Although there is no maximum VA loan, lenders generally limit the maximum VA loan to $417,000. See a list of VA Loan FAQ on

VA Deploying Mobile Centers

The Department of Veterans Affairs has deployed 20 additional Mobile Vet Centers. These customized vehicles travel to communities to extend VA's reach to veterans, service members and their families, especially those living in rural or remote communities. VA has 300 Vet Centers across the country offering individual and group counseling for veterans and their families, family counseling for military related issues, bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death, employment assessment and referral, VA benefits explanation and referral, screening and referral for medical issues and other services. To find out more about Vet Center services or find a Vet Center in your area, visit VA's Vet Center web page at

Dispelling PTSD Stereotypes

Unfortunately, many veterans must deal with PTSD stereotypes that surround wartime service. To learn more about how these stereotypes persist, and what can be done to stop them, read the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA's) VAntage Point blog.


Life Member - DAV


Tuesday, 3 January, 2012

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

New VA Facebook Pages

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that all of its 152 medical centers are now actively represented on Facebook. The Department of Veterans Affairs now has 150 Facebook pages, 64 Twitter feeds, a YouTube channel, a Flickr page, and the VAntage Point blog. VA clinicians cannot discuss the specific health concerns of individual veterans on Facebook, but that does not prevent staff from monitoring VA's sites closely each day to provide helpful information to veterans when they can

Free SAT and ACT Prep Software

eKnowledge continues to donate their world-class SAT and ACT College Test Preparation Programs to military servicemembers and their families. Eligible recipients include Active Duty, Guard and Reserve Service Members from all branches of the military, Military Retirees, Veterans, in addition to all DoD employees and civilians performing military support and relatives and dependants of anyone who otherwise qualifies from the prior list. There is a nominal charge of $13.84 per standard program for the cost of materials, processing, distribution and customer service. eKnowledge does not profit from this venture.

Housing for Homeless Veterans

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have announced that HUD will provide $2.4 million to public housing agencies to supply permanent housing and case management for homeless veterans in the U.S. The funding will support 435 vouchers in 18 communities. Veterans participating in the HUD-VASH program rent privately owned housing and generally contribute no more than 30 percent of their income toward rent. For more information, visit VA's Homelessness HUD-VASH webpage and the HUD-VASH Vouchers webpage and Questions and answers page .

Resources for Entrepreneurial Vets

Veterans who run or are considering starting their own companies should check with their local colleges and Small Business Development Centers to see if they offer training specifically for veterans. At 16 Veterans Business Outreach Centers, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers veterans business plan workshops, mentoring, and feasibility analysis. For more information, visit the SBA website and the Veterans Outreach Center page .

New VA Health Services Webpage

VA's Health Services Research & Development Service recently launched a webpage designed for the veteran community. The new webpage offers features describing health services research into critical topics such as women's health and PTSD. Visitors can also read about current research news and also watch videos featuring VA health services investigators talking about their work

Life Member - DAV


Tuesday, 29 November, 2011

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Gays Seek Benefit Equality

Several groups representing gay and lesbian service members are pressing the DoD to extend benefits for same-sex dependents beyond Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI), Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP), GI Bill ( Survivors & Dependents Education Assistance (DEA), military death gratuity, designated caregiver and the Thrift Savings Plan to include housing, TRICARE, and more. Based on estimates made by UCLA's Miller Institute Social Research Center there are as many as 66,000 gay and lesbian service members who are not offered the same benefits as there straight co-workers...
(With budget cuts looming, I'm afraid the DoD will fight this citing the DOMA)

VA Plans More Transitional Housing

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to enter into agreements to provide more than 1,000 additional units of permanent and transitional housing for veterans at various sites on VA medical center campuses nationwide. The planned agreements are part of VA's enhanced-use lease authority and Building Utilization Review and Re-purposing (BURR) initiative, which aims to identify and re-purpose unused VA land and buildings in support of VA's goal to end veteran homelessness...

(and from last week)

VA Plans More Housing For Homeless Vets

The Department of Veterans Affairs has entered into agreements to provide more than 3,000 units of permanent and transitional housing for veterans at 25 VA medical center campuses nationwide. Also, agreements are pending on 1,000 more units. Proposed opportunities include housing for homeless veterans, senior veterans, disabled veterans, other at-risk veteran populations, and their families.

VA 'Make the Connection'

Make the Connection, a new campaign launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs, is creating ways for veterans and their family members to connect with the experiences of other veterans -- and ultimately to connect with information and resources to help them. The Make the Connection web site at, features numerous veterans who have shared their experiences, challenges, and triumphs.

COLA Bill Goes to the President

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the 2012 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for veterans receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities. The COLA also affects the rates for military retirees, Social Security recipients, and the dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors of veterans who died as a result of service. Although Congress has passed a COLA every year for veterans since 1976, there has not been an increase in the rate since 2009. The 3.6% COLA increase will go into effect on December 1, 2011, once the legislation is signed into by law by the President.

More Details on VOW GI Bill

VA has released details on the new VOW Act GI Bill benefits, including information on eligibility, application processes, deadlines, and limitations. According to VA the new program should be available by July 1, 2012 and will be limited to 99,000 participants. Unemployed veterans between age 35 and 60 may receive up to 12 months of assistance at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill -- Active Duty program. Like other GI Bill programs the benefit will be funded through the VA. However, unlike other GI Bill type programs, applications will be submitted through and processed by the DoL...

New VA Jobs Portal

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched its new "VA for Vets" web site, with an online job search board, self-assessment tools, resume builder and military skills translator to help veterans identify jobs that match their skills. The new web site currently has over 3,000 jobs listed.

VA Program Helps Stroke Survivors

An intensive therapy program to help stroke survivors who cannot talk or write has become so sought-after by veterans that it has a waiting list of patients who hope to be helped by it. Officials at the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System say 39 veterans and 5 active military personnel from 35 states have completed the Program for Intensive Residential Aphasia Treatment & Education (PIRATE). The program is unusual because it concentrates one-on-one therapy, packing in five six-hour sessions a week. For more information, call the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System at 1-866-4VA-PITT (1-866-482-7488)

Phone Support Program for Vets, Spouses

The VA is implementing a telephone support program to help the spouses of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, after a pilot telephone support program showed reduction in stress for spouses. The spouse telephone support program, which is part of VA's Caregiver Support Program, builds spouses' ability to cope with the challenges that reintegration to civilian society can bring, helps them serve as a pillar of support for returning veterans, and eases the transition for families after deployments. Visit for more information on spouse telephone support and other caregiver support programs...


In efforts to help my fellow veterans and their families, I am offering to assist as I can. Note: I am not a certified Service Officer yet. I'm planning to attend the requisite training as soon as my health permits. However, I am very acquainted with the 'ins and outs' of the VA system (since 1991) and can confidently offer advice and direction. If I don't know an answer to a question, I will say so and research the answer for you, or suggest other organizations to query. You may write me at with 'Vet Info Request' in the subject line. I will help you as best I am able to...

Life Member - DAV


Monday, 21 November, 2011

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Employers Seeking Military Experience

Hundreds of top national and global employers are actively seeking veterans and those with military experience. See a full list of employers and start applying .

Connect with Veterans Willing to Help

Meeting the right people can make the difference in your next job search. The Veteran Career Network can connect you to over 1 million veterans working in companies, government agencies, career fields, industries or locations that interest you. Search for veterans willing to help with your job search and career .

VA Researchers Target Emphysema

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis, is the third leading cause of death in the US. It also affects 15 percent of veterans. Learn how VA researchers are tackling the problem at the VA VAntage Point Blog .

VA Helps Homeless Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is providing free meals and spending money to eligible homeless veterans. The free meals will be offered at Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) cafeterias to homeless Veterans attending their first VA medical appointment. New veterans participating in the Housing and Urban Development and VA Supportive Housing program , who present signed leases will also receive a $20 coupon to be used in VCS retail stores located at every VA medical center. For more information on VA services available to homeless veterans, visit the VA Homeless Veterans webpage.

Stories From Women Veterans

As the population of female veterans continues to grow, it is important to realize the unique challenges they face. Listen to their stories of service in their own words on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Stories of Service webpage .

National Family Caregiver Month

November is National Family Caregiver Month. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraging every VA employee to identify and recognize Family Caregivers at their facility. VA's Family Caregivers take on a daily burden to provide care for some of the most ill or severely injured veterans who have served our Nation. To learn more about Caregivers and how the Department of Veterans Affairs is working to enhance our services for them, visit the VA Caregiver Support webpage.

VA PTSD App Wins Award

The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Coach smartphone application, jointly developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), was recently honored as one of seven recipients of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman's Awards for Advancements in Accessibility, which encourages technological innovation in communication-related areas. Information on the PTSD Coach app is on the VA's National Center for PTSD Website .


A note about VA Health Care Benefits for veterans: It is a common misconception among many vets that one has to have a service-connected condition to receive care. That is not the case! This link provides the latest 2011 information on basic eligibility, enrollment and other pertinent information concerning health care services provided by the VA as well as all the other benefits available to veterans: Read it! Apply! Use your benefits! (Non-veterans, if you know a vet, pass this on, please!)

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors - Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Life Member - DAV


Tuesday, 1 November, 2011

The (Occasional) Veterans Report

Veterans Report - VA Awards Grant to Olympics

The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded $7.5 million to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to provide recreation and sport activities for disabled veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces. Under terms of the agreement, VA funds are provided to the USOC's member organizations, Paralympic Sports Clubs and veteran and military organizations to start community-based, physical activity programs...

B&Bs for Vets Veterans Report - B&Bs for Vets

Innkeepers want to say thank you to those who have served their country by inviting veterans to wake up on Veterans' Day (November 11, 2011) in a Bed and Breakfast (B&B). Inns and B&Bs throughout the U.S. and Canada will honor active military and veterans by offering complimentary stays on November 10, 2011, in observance of Veteran's Day. To date nearly 500 inns and B&Bs have signed up to participate in the B&Bs for Vets program in the U.S...

Veterans Report - How Do I Get My DD214?

Do you need a copy of your DD214 or a family member's DD214? Visit the National Archives website . Click on 'Launch the eVetRecs System to start your online request'. Follow the instructions in the pop-up window. The DD214 will be mailed to you after completing the form. You can also download a form to mail or fax your request for your DD214 by clicking on the 'Download form SF-180 to Mail or Fax your request' and following instructions

(Note: You need your DD-214 to apply for VA benefits including health care)

Veterans Report - College Credit for Military Experience

Pursuing your college degree can be the best career move you can make, but it can also be very expensive and time consuming. That's why claiming credit for your military experience is vital. Applying your military experience credits could save you as much as $600 and 5 months on a typical 3-credit college course. Best of all, using these college credits costs you nothing; you've already earned them...

Veterans Report - Hotels Offer Vet Day Discounts

Red Roof(R) Inn is saluting our nation's servicemembers and veterans with a special 15 percent discount for the entire month of November, as well as an additional 11 percent off when you stay on Veterans Day, November 11. Veterans and active or retired military can take advantage of these deals. This offer is only available at select properties...

Veterans Report - State Veteran's Benefits Directory

Each state manages its own benefit programs. The following is a list of links to the web sites for each of the individual states that offer veterans benefits. Be sure to take advantage of the benefits you have earned by clicking on the link to your State Department of Veterans Affairs...

Life Member - DAV


Monday, 3 October, 2011

The (Occasional) Veteran's Report

VA Study Finds Alzheimer's Treatment

A small pilot study led by a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) researcher found that a nasal insulin spray improved memory, thinking skills, and functional ability in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Currently, there are no effective treatments to delay or prevent Alzheimer's. A VA team with the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System led the trial, which was sponsored in large part by the National Institute on Aging. The new findings appear in the Sept. 12 Archives of Neurology...

Veterans Report - Gulf War Claims Deadline

For Gulf War Veterans with certain ailments like: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Firbromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; and other undiagnosed illnesses the current deadline for when the condition must have "appeared" is on or before December 31, 2011. If you have any conditions that are "undiagnosed" and you did a tour in the Middle East, this could apply to you. The VA is working to extend the deadline to December 31, 2018. If this occurs, it will be great news for veterans and military members who develop symptoms after the 2011 cut-off...

(If in doubt, File a Claim!)

Veterans Report - VA Loan Benefit Explained

There are numerous advantages to having a VA mortgage. A VA mortgage loan can be guaranteed with no money down, in some cases up to $417,000. There is also no private mortgage insurance requirement with a VA guaranteed loan, which could offer you substantial savings on your monthly payment. You can even use your VA Loan benefit to refinance an existing loan -- even if it is not a VA Loan. Be sure to ask for information about the interest rate reduction loan. This program adjusts an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate loan, which is part of the Streamline Refinancing Program, which allows you to refinance at little or no expense to them...

Veterans Report - VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility

A required first step in the VA loan process is obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility*   * Link pulled at the request of directvaloans dot com, a website that cares more about their google rankings than actually helping vets. (COE). COE can be obtained through a VA-approved lender or online. The COE provides information to the VA-approved lender about the eligibility and entitlement of each borrower. For more details on how to obtain your COE, as well as more tips for obtaining a VA loan, visit the VA Loan blog .

Veterans Report - New Online VA Health Benefit Form

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has automated its online Health Benefits Renewal (10-10EZR) form. Previously, veterans filling out the online 10-10EZR were required to print a copy, sign it and send it to their local medical center before updates to their personal, insurance or financial information could occur. Veterans may now submit these updates online. For additional information, visit the VA Health Eligibility homepage or call VA's toll-free number at 1-877-222-VETS (8387). The online form is available on the VA website  ( pdf. format).

Veterans Report - National Suicide Prevention Month

September was National Suicide Prevention Month. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is educating individuals and communities about VA's suicide prevention resources and the steps to take to help veterans in crisis. Veterans, their families, and friends can call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or chat online at to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even if they are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care...

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

Veterans Report - Important Medical Info!

VA Lists Ships Exposed to Agent Orange

Veterans who served aboard U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating on the waters of Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975, may be eligible to receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation for 14 medical conditions associated with presumptive exposure to Agent Orange. An updated list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships confirmed to have operated on Vietnam's inland waterways, docked on shore, or had crew members sent ashore, has been posted at the VA Public Health Agent Orange webpage to assist Vietnam veterans in determining potential eligibility for compensation benefits...

Attention Vietnam Veterans (and/or spouses and surviving spouses)!

If you believe you or your spouse were exposed to Agent Orange, I urge you to go this link and read it. You may be eligible for significant compensation if you suffer from any of the 'presumptive conditions'. Surviving spouses are also eligible. The VA is working very hard to help Vietnam Vets with medical care and compensation that were exposed and now have significant health issues. If in doubt, find a service officer from any veteran's organization, e.g. DAV, VFW, American Legion etc, and FILE A CLAIM!

Treatment for Gulf War Syndrome

Researchers at the University of Hull in England believe they have found a treatment for people with Gulf War Syndrome. Dr. Stephen Atkins and his team at the Hull York Medical School are pioneering the treatment. Of the 11 veterans with Gulf War Syndrome sent to the infirmary, "nine were diagnosed with a rare problem with their pituitary gland which led to a deficiency of certain hormones, such as testosterone and thyroxin.

VA Compensated Work Therapy

Compensated Work Therapy is a program that provides employment counseling, training and assistance to veterans who qualify.

I was involved in this program 13 years ago and it can be very helpful. It was for me. I worked in the medical supply department at the VAMC in Battle Creek for 6 months before my health worsened and I was officially 'retired' due to my service-connected medical conditions. The VAMC's in Ann Arbor and Saginaw where I currently receive treatment both have active CWT programs. I urge unemployed veterans to look into this successful VA program...

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Thursday, 10 February, 2011

The Weekly Veterans Report

Plan to Trim VA Budget Gets Dumped

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Harridan) recently announced (evil) plans to rein in federal spending, in part by cutting $4.5 billion from the Department of Veterans Affairs -- specifically disabled veteran compensation. This sent shock waves through the veteran community. In response, veteran's service organizations, including the VFW and AMVETS, issued statements condemning her plan (and calling her all manner of bad names, I'll bet) for stripping away the support disabled veterans count on, especially during a time of war. On Feb. 4, the Harridan released a statement backing off her (evil) plan to cut any portion of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget.

More Tips for Disability Claims

Before the meeting with your VSO (Veteran's Service Officer) it's helpful to have all your ducks in a row. Bring all documentation relevant to the specific injury or injuries. Avoid dropping your whole file on the VSO's lap with the expectation that he or she will sort through it for you. Have a short summary sheet -- one to five pages, depending on the number of issues. Always try to keep things as short as possible. Remember VSO's often put in long hours for very little pay, they deserve respect for their hard work in helping veterans get the benefits they need. (indeed)...

(The key word here is... Documentation. As big a fan of the VA health care system as I am, I know the VA claims system won't necessarily take your word for it. Trust me on this one.)

New VA Tribal Government Office

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the creation of a new Office of Tribal Government Relations to ensure veterans who are American Indians, Alaska Natives, or Hawaiian Natives or are part of the Alaska Native Corporations receive the VA benefits they have earned. About 200,000 veterans represented by the 800 tribal governments will be served by this new office. For more information, visit the VA's Office of Tribal Government Relations webpage .

New VA Committee Chair

Senator Patty Murray (D-Angel) has been named chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. She replaces Senator Daniel Akaka who leaves to chair the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Senator Murray is the daughter of a disabled World War II veteran. As a 22-year-old college intern, she worked with Vietnam veterans at a psychiatric hospital ward in Seattle...

(This is good news beyond measure... as to her work with Vietnam veteran's, I say...
Hand Salute!)

Help line for Caregivers

On February 1, the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) launched the National Caregiver Support Line. The toll-free number (1-855-260-3274) is available to family members, loved ones, or friends who provide care for Vets living with the effects of war, disability, chronic illness, or aging. For more information, visit the VA Caregiver Support webpage.

(Bless 'em all)

VA Awards Green Contract

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently awarded a contract to the Green Building Initiative (GBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceleration of sustainable building practices, to provide online, green building self-evaluations for 173 hospital facilities using Green Globes -- Continual Improvement of Existing Buildings (CIEB) environmental rating and assessment tool.

(Way Cool!)

VA Conducts Homeless Vet Count

On any given night, approximately 107,000 veterans across the country go to sleep on benches, in back alleys and under bridges. Roughly twice that number will experience homelessness at some point this year. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) partnered with the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently to conduct the point-in-time count of the nation's homeless. VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould led a group of volunteer counters in downtown Washington, DC. For more information on VA services for homeless veterans, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Veterans webpage

( I cannot think of anything to say other than there was a time many years ago...)

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Thursday, 3 February, 2011

The Weekly Veterans Report

Final Rule on (Korean) DMZ Agent Orange Exposure

Due to a final regulation just issued, VA officials will now presume herbicide exposure for any veteran who served between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, in a unit determined by VA and Department of Defense officials to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ...

Agent Orange: Diseases Associated with Agent Orange Exposure - Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Agent Orange - Herbicide Exposure New Presumptive Conditions (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs)

(If you are an ailing veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran exposed to Agent Orange, file a claim! Now! the last link has a 'fast track' online filing option. The list of 'presumptive conditions' is long... Diabetes, heart disease, cancer...)

VA: New Focus on Patient-Centered Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is creating a new office to develop personal, patient-centered models of care for veterans who receive health care services at more than 1,000 VA points of care across the nation. The new VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation began operations on Jan. 17 and is based in Arlington, Va.

(Zounds! Patient-centered care? What a concept! I can hear the insurance companies just a-howlin' that this gots to be some kinda Commie plot, or sumpthin'...)

New VA Genetic Database Project

(No, this is not what you might think... Read on...)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Research and Development is launching an unprecedented partnership between the VA and the million veterans expected to volunteer to help build one of the largest databases of genetic, military exposure, and health information through The Million Veteran Program (MVP). By providing a blood sample and health information to help researchers uncover the connections between genetic variations and a wide range of health issues, veterans who volunteer in MVP are making a crucial contribution to genomics research and to an improved understanding of new ways disease might be prevented and treated. For more information about MVP, visit the VA's Million Veteran Program (MVP) webpage

(Note the NIH Certificate of Confidentiality on the web page pertaining to legal subpoenas for personal information at any level. I plan to volunteer...)

Gender Linked to Mental Health Diagnosis

A recent study has found that female Iraq and Afghanistan veterans were more likely to be diagnosed with depression than their male counterparts, who were more likely to be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The authors of the study noted that these results "contribute to a better understanding of the characteristics of women seeking VA health care as well as how these characteristics may differentially be associated with mental health outcomes." An abstract of the study is available on the American Journal of Public Health (ALPH) website

New DoD PTSD Website

The Department of Defense has launched a website, "Virtual PTSD Experience", that will allow users to explore the causes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress in an anonymous setting on the Second Life virtual world platform. Second Life provides T2 a limitless space on the Internet where servicemembers can learn more about PTSD causes, symptoms and resources for information and care...

More information and resources on PTSD

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Friday, 28 January, 2011

DADT Repeal

Pentagon to Outline Training for DADT Repeal

Pentagon leaders will roll out a plan Friday that is expected to give the military services about three months to train their forces on the new law allowing gays to serve openly, officials said Wednesday.

The plan, they said, will outline the personnel, recruiting and other regulations that must be changed. It will describe three levels of training for the troops, their commanders and the key administrators, recruiters and other leaders who will have to help implement the changes.

Under that training schedule, full implementation of the law could begin later this summer... Pentagon to Outline Training for DADT Repeal

(Be patient! They may not like it, but they're gonna do it and it will get done. This is not a 'wave the magic wand' situation...)



Thursday, 27 January, 2011

The Weekly Veterans Report

Chat Feature Added to VA Site

Veterans will find it easier and faster to apply for their health care benefits now that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has enhanced and streamlined its online Form 10-10EZ, "Application for Health Benefits." This revised online application now features a chat function which will allow veterans to receive live assistance while they are filling out the form...

Report on Women in Combat

Congress has established the Military Leadership Diversity Commission (MLDC) to study the role of women in combat. The commission's report is expected in March and will include its findings and conclusions, as well as its recommendations for improving diversity within the armed forces.

Military and Veteran Associations

Members of the military community have the opportunity to join or otherwise benefit from several types of associations and organizations. Ranging from fraternal to charity, these military-specific organizations can provide advocacy, help you network to access job opportunities, tap into benefits, lobby congress, or find support.

(Note: If you are considering submitting a claim for a service-connected disability compensation rating, I highly recommend doing so through a service organization e.g. VFW, American Legion, DAV, etc. It is free, they know the ropes and will legally represent you and your claim. Plus, if there is anything, and I mean anything, that you think can possibly be attributed to your service, and it doesn't have to be combat-related, FILE A CLAIM! Hearing loss, bad knees, whatever! You may only get an initial small rating percentage, but if it gets worse, the rating can go up!)

Download Your Health VA Record

"Blue Button" capability allows veterans to download their personal health information from their MyHealtheVet account. Having control of this information enables vets to share the data with health care providers, caregivers, or people they trust. Download yours now at

(Note: MyHealtheVet is still a work in process. I use it and it has many useful features, however, the VA is still trying to make it secure enough so a user will eventually have access to their entire record. Lab tests, progress notes and so on. Right now the Prescription feature is fully functional and reordering medications on-line is a breeze. In addition, once an in-person authentication is done, one can see a list of every medication that has ever been prescribed, where and when. Also, they are working on a secure email messaging service with your primary medical provider, in my case an excellent Nurse Practitioner. I am part of a 'beta' test and soon will be able to communicate with her through the site.)

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Wednesday, 19 January, 2011

The Weekly Veterans Report

Millions in Unclaimed Funds for Veterans

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans and their families may be eligible to receive unclaimed funds totaling at about $33 million that have accumulated since the beginning of the VA insurance programs in 1917. Veterans' families are urged to check if they are eligible at the VA's Unclaimed Funds webpage .

VA Offers Survivor Assistance

The Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Survivors Assistance (OSA) wants you to know that veterans are not the only group that the VA provides services for. To learn more about benefits for survivors, and what OSA is doing on their behalf, visit OSA's home page

Veterans Benefit Calculator

The benefits calculator is designed to quickly and easily connect you with your benefits based on your service and duty status. Find your Federal and State benefits and special military discounts, like TRICARE, pay, GI Bill, tuition assistance and more...

State Veteran's Benefits Directory - Military Benefits -

Tips for Filing a Disability Claim

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) Deputy Undersecretary for Disability Assistance, Tom Pamperin, has broken down the disability claims process to make it easier for veterans. For more information, read Deputy Undersecretary Pamperin's blog on the VAntage Point website.

VA Posts Quality and Safety Report

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued its 2010 annual VA Facility Quality and Safety Report that reports on VA health care for Congressional review and offers veterans the opportunity to see the quality and safety findings specific to their VA medical center...

Some TBI Symptoms More Likely to be PTSD

A recent study which tracked National Guard Soldiers during the final month of their 16-month deployment to Iraq and then again a year after they returned home, found that service members who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries in combat and then struggle with depression, irritability, alcohol abuse and similar problems are more likely to be experiencing post-traumatic stress than brain injury symptoms...

Do not be afraid to seek help...

Life Member - DAV


Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

The Weekly Veterans Report

Transgender Vets Want Military Access

Before handcuffing herself to the White House fence, former Petty Officer First Class Autumn Sandeen carefully pinned three rows of Navy ribbons to her chest. Her regulation dress blue skirt, fitted jacket, hat and black pumps were new -- fitting for a woman who spent two decades serving her country as a man...

Moratorium on Foreclosures on Vets

Freddie Mac recently instructed its mortgage servicers to hold off on starting foreclosure proceedings against servicemembers who are released from active duty. These companies must now wait at least nine months from the time of discharge before taking any kind of foreclosure action

Study Looks at Women Veterans

A new study suggests that female veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) are at increased risk of developing mental health disorders during pregnancy.

New VA Program for Families

The Department of Veterans' Affairs' (VA's) new "Families At Ease" program attempts to reach new veterans through their concerned family members and provides information and support to help them access VA facilities for services and benefits.

American Legion Health Care Survey

The American Legion has launched a two-month, worldwide online survey in an attempt to find out why only about 25 percent of women veterans are using the VA health-care system.

Vet Group Begins Outreach

The nonprofit veterans group U.S. VETS has launched a project to identify and treat combat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the organization, nearly 20 percent of all veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, but only 40 percent seek treatment. The new PTSD outreach program will be staffed and further developed in January and will initially be run out of the U.S. VETS site in Long Beach, Calif.

Do not be afraid to seek help...



Wednesday, 5 January, 2011

Weekly Veterans Report

Veterans Report - New VA Small Business Program

To help veteran-owned small businesses, the Department of Veterans Affairs has selected 20 mentor-protege teams to participate in a new program. The program commits participating firms to agreements of up to 36 months in which mentoring firms provide business assistance in various skill areas and foster long-term business relationships with their veteran-owned protege firms...

Veterans Report - Veterans and Asbestos Exposure

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs...hundreds of thousands, if not millions of... veterans were exposed to toxic asbestos-containing materials during military service.'s online Mesothelioma Center offers free assistance with filing your VA claim and can make the process much easier...

Veterans Report - VA Backlog Subject of Survey

The Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA's) growing backlog of undecided benefits claims continues to affect hundreds of thousands of veterans nationwide. Veterans and their families are urged to help the American Legion by filling out a confidential online Regional Action Office Review (ROAR) survey . The completed surveys will be reviewed by American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation staff in order to provide a clear picture of the situations at VA Regional Offices across the country. Those who fill out the survey will be asked if they are willing to discuss their cases further with American Legion National Headquarters media staff.

Veterans Report - VA Offers Lifeline for Troubled Vets

The New Year can often bring stress, anxiety and depression. As a veteran or a family member or caregiver for a veteran, you are never alone; VA professional counselors are just a phone call away at 1-800-273-8255. There also are online chat capabilities at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website . You can call your local VA medical center to speak with the health care team. You also can contact the main social work office of the medical center to get assistance. Find your local VA medical center at

Do not be afraid to seek help...





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