Corner: A review of veteran information
(Posted December 29, 2011 08:26 am)
As 2011 winds down, a reminder of the
information presented to veterans and their families this past year.
Health benefits, education, scams, training
for unemployed vets, service dogs, medal awards, crisis assistance
hot lines and identifiable diseases by the VA were a few of the
Regulations now enable the VA to enroll
certain Priority Group 8 veterans who applied for enrollment and who
may have been previously denied enrollment in the VA health-care
system because their income exceeded the VA’s income thresholds.
These veterans may now qualify if their household income does not
exceed the current VA income thresholds by more than 10 percent. For
enrollment or eligibility questions, call 877-222-8387.
The VA has released details on the new VOW
Act GI Bill benefits, including information on eligibility,
application processes, deadlines and limitations. According to the
VA, the new program should be available July 1 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 Department of Labor.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services Office of Consumer Affairs has cautioned the
public that an organization by the name Veterans Miracle Network, of
Suffolk, Va., has solicited contributions from Virginia citizens for
allegedly charitable purposes. The organization might also go by the
names “Project Foot” and “Operation Walk America.” As of Dec. 14,
and after multiple requests by VDACS, this organization has not
filed registration documents as required by law. Contributors are
cautioned that their contributions to any of these types of groups
may be used for non-charitable purposes. They dress professionally
and distribute literature that doesn’t mean they are legitimate.
Intersections and large shopping venues, like Walmart, are their
target areas across America.
The Department of Labor has announced a new
partnership with Microsoft Corp. to provide veterans with vouchers
for no-cost training and certifications that can lead to important
industry recognized credentials. The voucher program will serve
veterans in five communities with the highest number of returning
post 9/11 era veterans — Seattle, Wash.; San Diego, Calif.;
Houston, Texas; northern Virginia; and Jacksonville, Fla. For
additional information about this or other initiatives and
locations, visit the DOL website, www.dol.gov/vets.
The VetDogs program was started last year
by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, N.Y. The
program provides service dogs for amputees from Iraq and
Afghanistan. The dogs help vets with balance and fetching and are
taught to react in emergencies. They also serve as companions and
friends. The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind has been providing
guide dogs, free of charge, to wounded soldiers since it was founded
in 1946. For more information, call 866-838-3647.
The U.S. Navy recently updated its policies
concerning the awarding of the Purple Heart. Sailors and Marines may
be now awarded the Purple Heart for certain mild traumatic brain
injuries that were caused by enemy action. If they suffer a loss of
consciousness, or had to be given the disposition of “not fit for
duty” by a medical officer for a period greater than 48 hours, they
are eligible. Purple Hearts awarded for MTBI will continue to meet
the historical standards of severity applied to all types of wounds.
The Veterans Administration has continued
to update its presumptive list for Vietnam Veterans subjected to
Agent Orange on land and those who were blue water participants.
Veterans have been given the opportunity to reapply if they were
denied initially. Research continues to make sure that ailments
affecting veterans today are identified and categorized to help
veterans with benefits.
The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans
in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA
responders. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1 for veterans, or connect
with a responder through an online chat any time, or send a text
message to 838255 to receive confidential support. For more
information, visit the Veterans Crisis Line website,
Contact local or state veterans
representatives for additional information throughout the year.
Locally, contact Lee Downs at 940-325-2998 or Robin Greer at