VA Expands Health Care Eligibility for Camp Lejeune Veterans

On Monday, VA issued a final rule to expand VA health care eligibility for veterans affected by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Starting this week, veterans who served at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987, are eligible to receive no-cost health care for 15 medical conditions that have been linked to the contaminated water. Previously, only veterans who served at Camp Lejeune from January 1, 1957 were covered. Veterans who have been diagnosed with any of the 15 medical conditions may receive reimbursement for the cost of treatment if the care was provided on or after December 16, 2014, when the law expanding eligibility was signed. However, veterans must submit a request for reimbursement no later than July 18, 2018. For more information on benefits and services for Camp Lejeune veterans, visit: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune. This rule does not impact disability compensation benefits. VA is still in the process of finalizing a rule to grant Camp Lejeune veterans presumptive disability compensation for 8 of the 15 medical conditions found to be associated with exposure … Continue reading

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Women Veterans Panel Discussion at Convention

The VFW Advisory Committee for Women Veterans, along with the Department of Veteran Affairs, is set to host a panel discussion regarding women veterans. The panel will take place at the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Participants from VA will be the Director of the Center for Women Veterans, Kayla Williams, and Dr. Sally Haskell, deputy chief consultant for clinical operations and director of comprehensive women’s health in women’s health services. Main topics covered will be outreach, recognition, homelessness and health care. VA is set to give a presentation before the discussion and a half hour at the end will be open for questions. To learn more about the Center for Women Veterans, visit: http://www.va.gov/womenvet/.

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VFW Heads to Charlotte for 117th National Convention

From July 23-27 several thousand VFW and Auxiliary members will gather in Charlotte, N.C. for our annual convention. New this year, the VFW has launched a mobile app to give attendees the tools needed to make the most of their visit. As the official mobile guide to the 117th VFW National Convention, the app is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. If you are attending, make sure to stop by the National Legislative Service/Action Corps booth to learn more about what NLS is doing for you. On Sunday at 10 a.m., there will be a workshop hosted by the National Legislative Service staff introducing our new grassroots campaign. To see more about the convention, including live streaming beginning July 24, or download the mobile app, visit: http://www.vfw.org/Convention/.  

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Dist 10 Training to include Wi. State Bingo & Raffle A & B Auditor

Wisconsin Dept. of Gaming – Bingo, Raffle A & B. State Auditor, Randall Bansley will be doing the training. Continue reading

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MIA Update

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains of Marine Corps Pvt. Robert J. Carter, 19, of Oklahoma City, who will be buried July 13 in Arlington National Cemetery. In November 1943, Carter was assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and sailors were killed, and more than 2,000 were wounded, but the Japanese were virtually annihilated. Carter died on Nov. 20, 1943. Learn more at: http://www.dpaa.mil/News-Stories/News-Releases/Article/831327/marine-missing-from-world-war-ii-accounted-for-carter/

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Arlington National Cemetery’s Future

The VFW attended a discussion this week about the future of Arlington National Cemetery. Currently, only one percent of those eligible choose to be buried or inured at Arlington, with the rest being interred at the VA’s 134 national cemeteries or in state veterans cemeteries or elsewhere. Even so, based on its current pace, Arlington will run out of space sometime between the years 2050 and 2070, a timeframe that takes into consideration the 90,000 current available spaces, the 27,000 additional spaces from its millennium project, and the 45,000 to 50,000 spaces to be gained from a southern expansion into where the Navy Annex once stood. The question the Arlington advisory committee is pondering is whether changes could or should be made to eligibility requirements to extend the cemetery’s lifespan. Right now, all active-duty deaths are eligible, as well as military retirees, those with qualifying medals, and those with honorable discharges. The VFW will report more as this discussion continues.

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Online Health Care Application

Last week, VA launched a new and easier way for veterans to enroll in VA health care through the vets.gov website. The new application was developed in response to concerns with the current Veterans Online Application––a fillable PDF that can only be opened with devices that can read Adobe documents. The new application is an HTML form that can be viewed with any web browser, including mobile devices. If you would like to enroll in VA health care using the new application, visit: https://www.vets.gov/healthcare/apply/. To learn about other ways to enroll in VA health care, visit: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/.

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House Votes to Protect Veterans Preference

On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved language which would ban the use of federal funds to change hiring preference for veterans. The amendment, part of a larger appropriations bill for several federal agencies, now goes to the Senate for consideration. This ban would protect veterans from a Senate proposal that the VFW adamantly opposes which would allow veterans preference to be used only one time.  To read the VFW’s statement opposing the Senate bill, go to http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW-Opposes-Veterans-Preference-Restriction/.  To see how your member of Congress voted on this amendment, go to:  http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll395.xml. Continue to follow the VFW Action Corps for more updates on this issue.  

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VA Releases Results From Largest Veteran Suicide Study

On Thursday, VA released preliminary findings from the country’s largest study on veteran suicide. Over the past year, VA has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense to gather and analyze mortality records for 55 million veterans from every state and U.S. territory, dating from 1979-2014. A study in 2010, which used data from 20 states, estimated the number of veteran deaths by suicide averaged 22 per day. The latest study estimates the number of veteran deaths by suicide averaged 20 per day in 2014. The report validates previous findings that veterans who use VA health care are at lower risk of suicide compared to veterans who do not use VA care. VA plans to release the entire study by the end of this month. The VFW is alarmed by this report’s findings and will do what is necessary to ensure veterans who contemplate taking their own lives have the care and support they need to cope with their mental health care issues. To read the preliminary findings, visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2801.

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Commission on Care Releases Final Report

On Wednesday, the Commission on Care, created by Congress to recommend ways to improve the VA health care system, issued its final report which includes 18 recommendations on how VA delivers care to veterans, the governance and workforce of the VA health care system and which veterans are eligible for VA health care. VFW National Commander John A. Biedrzycki Jr. thanked the commission for their hard work and offered the VFW’s support for most of their recommendations and expressed the VFW’s concerns with one recommendation that would create another layer of bureaucracy to manage the day-to-day operations of the VA health care system. To read the VFW’s press release, visit: https://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2016-Articles/VFW-Statement-on-Commission-on-Care-Report/. To read the commission’s final report, visit: https://commissiononcare.sites.usa.gov/.

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