WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2013) – VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced today.
“VA continues to explore innovative ways to help Veterans get access to the care and services they have earned and deserve,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This new dental program is another example of VA creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver a range of high-quality care at an affordable cost, for our Nation’s Veterans.”
More than 8 million Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans. This three-year pilot has been designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage. Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment.
There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment. People interested in participating may complete an application online through either Delta Dental, www.deltadentalvadip.org, or MetLife, www.metlife.com/vadip beginning Nov. 15. Coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014, and will be available throughout the United States and its territories.
Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA’s CHAMPVA program. Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of Veterans officially rated as “permanently and totally” disabled by a service-connected condition.
Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment. Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary. Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans. Copayments and other charges may apply.
Historically VA’s free dental services have gone to Veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that’s officially certified as “service connected.” Free dental services will continue for those Veterans.
Veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply at any time by visiting www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.
For the Veteran: in general, the military services will work replacement medal requests for the veteran at no cost. This includes family members with the signed authorization of the veteran.
For the Next-of-Kin: the process (and cost) for replacement medals requests differs among the service branches and is dependent upon who is requesting the medal, particularly if the request involves an archival record. Click here for details.
HUD & VA TEAM UP TO PROVIDE PERMANENT HOMES TO 9,000 HOMELESS VETS – Approximately 9,000 homeless Veterans living on the streets and in the nation’s shelter system will soon find a permanent place to call home. U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced today that HUD will provide $60 million to local public housing agencies across the country to offer permanent supportive housing to homeless Veterans, many of whom are living with chronic disabling conditions. (5/29/13)
A Memorial Day Message – This weekend, Americans in large numbers will visit our national cemeteries and other final resting places to honor their loved ones, their friends, neighbors, colleagues, even some unknown to them—men and women who gave their lives in defense of our Nation. Memorial Day is a time to reflect on their service and their sacrifice, even as our Armed Forces are performing difficult and dangerous missions in distant lands. They continue to safeguard our American way of life. (5/24/13)
VA and Veterans Service Organizations Announce Claims Initiative to Reduce Claims Backlog – Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and The American Legion announced a new partnership to help reduce the compensation claims backlog for Veterans. The effort—the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) Community of Practice—is a key part of VA’s overall transformation plan to end the backlog in 2015 and process claims within 125 days at 98% accuracy. VA can process FDCs in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim. (5/21/13)
VA Announces New Grants to Help End Veterans’ Homelessness – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced two new grants to support Secretary Eric K. Shinseki’s goal of ending Veterans’ homelessness in 2015. Under these new programs, homeless providers can apply for funding to enhance the facilities used to serve homeless Veterans, and acquire vans to facilitate transportation of this population. (5/17/13)
VA Mandates Overtime to Increase Production of Compensation Claims Decisions – As part of its ongoing effort to accelerate the elimination of the disability compensation claims backlog, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing today that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices. This surge, which will be implemented through the end of fiscal year 2013, will be targeted to eliminating the backlogged status of claims. The additional overtime hours that will be worked during this period will be used to help eliminate the backlog with continued emphasis on high-priority claims for homeless Veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. (5/15/13)
Draft Gulf War Task Force Report Released – Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced that the Department’s Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force will publish a comprehensive draft report in the Federal Register for public feedback and comment. The report describes how the Department of Veterans Affairs has been, and will continue to address the concerns of Veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991. (5/14/13)
Claims Initiative Fact Sheet – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. Effective April 19, the VA will begin to make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. This initiative provides a one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available and protects the Veteran’s right to appeal the decision. (4/19/13)
VA to Expedite Claims Decisions for Veterans Who Have Waited a Year or More – The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today it is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. Effective today, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before VA issues a final decision. (4/19/13)
Veteran Athletes Prepare for National Veterans Wheelchair Games – Across the nation, Veterans are preparing for the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games. The Games, representing the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world, are presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. More than 500 Veterans from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Great Britain are expected to compete in the event, taking place July 13-18, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (4/18/13)
VA, HUD and Jon Bon Jovi Announce “Project REACH” Grand Prize Winner – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the winner of a mobile application competition designed to make local assistance resources accessible to people helping homeless Veterans and others in need. The winner of the $25,000 prize was Reston, Va.-based Qbase, which developed “Homeless REACH.” VA’s Center for Innovation (VACI) sponsored the competition, called Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and Homeless), in collaboration with the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services. (4/15/13)
Care and Benefits for Veterans Strengthened by $153 Billion VA Budget – Continuing the transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs into a 21st century organization, the President has proposed a $152.7 billion budget, a 10.2 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2013, that will support VA’s goals to expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among Veterans. The budget includes $66.5 billion in discretionary spending, largely for healthcare, and $86.1 billion for mandatory programs – mostly disability compensation and pensions for Veterans. (4/10/13)
From Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
WASHINGTON (May 24, 2013) — This weekend, Americans in large numbers will visit our national cemeteries and other final resting places to honor their loved ones, their friends, neighbors, colleagues, even some unknown to them—men and women who gave their lives in defense of our Nation.
Memorial Day is a time to reflect on their service and their sacrifice, even as our Armed Forces are performing difficult and dangerous missions in distant lands. They continue to safeguard our American way of life.
Memorial Day is set aside to honor the more than one million of our fellow citizens who have fallen in battle since the founding of our Republic. Their service helped to shape us as a Nation and secured, for us and our friends and allies, our security in a troubled world. Except for their service, we all would be facing different circumstances today.
During World War II, American forces literally helped to save the world from tyranny and oppression. Those who marched to the guns in the 1950’s saved a Nation. And the most devastating conflict in our history, the American Civil War, preserved a Union that would, within a hundred years, emerge as a world power, dedicated to preserving freedom and liberty.
Every generation has done its duty, just as today’s 1.37 million members of our Armed Forces are doing theirs under difficult circumstances.
On Memorial Day, their service in uniform stands in contrast to our ball games and backyard barbeques. Our defenders are ordinary Americans performing extraordinary deeds, bearing all the risks for our way of life. In remembering the Fallen, we honor the men and women who kept faith with our enduring principles of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We remember, as well, those who keep the faith today and honor their patriotism, valor, dedication, and loyalty.
A memorial written by Civil War-era orator, Robert Green Ingersoll, eloquently captures the significance of Memorial Day for all generations of our Fallen:
They died for liberty—they died for us. They are at rest.
They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless. . . . Earth may run red with other wars, but they are at peace.
In the midst of battles, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.
I join with all VA employees in honoring those who have been called to the Altar of Freedom, in offering prayers for them and their families, who sacrifice still today, and in asking for the Almighty’s continued blessings on this great Nation.
VA Mandates Overtime to Increase Production ofCompensation Claims Decisions
Latest Initiative aimed at reducing the backlog
WASHINGTON (May 15, 2013) – As part of its ongoing effort to accelerate the elimination of the disability compensation claims backlog, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is announcing today that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices. This surge, which will be implemented through the end of fiscal year 2013, will be targeted to eliminating the backlogged status of claims. The additional overtime hours that will be worked during this period will be used to help eliminate the backlog with continued emphasis on high-priority claims for homeless Veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims.
“VA is dedicated to providing Veterans with the care and benefits they have earned and deserve,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “This increased overtime initiative will provide more Veterans with decisions on their claims and will help us achieve our goal of eliminating the claims backlog.”
This is the latest effort in support of the Secretary’s plan to reduce the backlog. Last month, the VA announced an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have waited one year or longer. On April 19, VA began prioritizing claims decisions for Veterans who have been waiting the longest, by providing provisional decisions that allow eligible Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits quickly. With a provisional decision, a Veteran has a year to submit additional information to support a claim before the decision becomes final. More information can be found here.
“We’re committed to getting Veterans decisions on their claims as quickly and accurately as possible,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “We need to surge our resources now to help those who have waited the longest and end the backlog.”
Claims for Wounded Warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). On average, Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in 2 months following their separation from service.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov.
What is CRSC (Combat Related Special Compensation) https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/crsc/documents/CRSC2_Guidance.pdf CRSC is a monthly entitlement for Service Members; To be entitled to CRSC, a member must file an application with the Military Department from which the member retired in; see the attached CRSC2 Guidance or visit: https://www.hrc.army.mil/TAGD/CRSC
The following criteria, terms, definitions, explanations will apply to making combat-related determinations in the CRSC program.
Direct Result of Armed Conflict – The disability is a disease or injury incurred in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict. The fact that a member incurred the disability during a period of war or an area of armed conflict or while participating in combat operations is not sufficient to support a combat-related determination. There must be a definite causal relationship between the armed conflict and the resulting disability.
Armed conflict includes a war, expedition, occupation of an area or territory, battle, skirmish, raid, invasion, rebellion, insurrection, guerilla action, riot, or any other action in which Service members are engaged with a hostile or belligerent nation, faction, force, or terrorists.
Armed conflict may also include such situations as incidents involving a member while interned as a prisoner of war or while detained against his or her will in custody of a hostile or belligerent force or while escaping or attempting to escape from such confinement, prisoner of war, or detained status.
While Engaged in Hazardous Service – Such service includes, but is not limited to, aerial flight, parachute duty, demolition duty, experimental stress duty, and diving duty. A finding that a disability is the result of such hazardous service requires that the injury or disease be the direct result of actions taken in the performance of such service. Travel to and from such service, or actions incidental to a normal duty status not considered hazardous are not included.
In the Performance of Duty Under Conditions Simulating War – In general this covers disabilities resulting from military training, such as war games, practice alerts, tactical exercises, airborne operations, leadership reaction courses, grenade and live fire weapons practice, bayonet training, hand-to-hand combat training, repelling, and negotiation of combat confidence and obstacle courses. It does not include physical training activities such as calisthenics and jogging or formation running and supervised sport activities.
Instrumentality of War – Incurrence during an actual period of war is not required. However, there must be a direct causal relationship between the instrumentality of war and the disability. The disability must be incurred incident to a hazard or risk of the service.
An instrumentality of war is a vehicle, vessel, or device designed primarily for Military Service and intended for use in such Service at the time of the occurrence or injury. It may also include such instrumentalities not designed primarily for Military Service if use of or occurrence involving such instrumentality subjects the individual to a hazard peculiar to Military Service. Such use or occurrence differs from the use or occurrence under similar circumstances in civilian pursuits.
A determination that a disability is the result of an instrumentality of war may be made if the disability was incurred in any period of service as a result of such diverse causes as wounds caused by a military weapon, accidents involving a military combat vehicle, injury or sickness caused by fumes, gases, or explosion of military ordnance, vehicles, or material.
For example, if a member is on a field exercise and is engaged in a sporting activity and falls and strikes an armored vehicle, the injury will not be considered to result from the instrumentality of war (armored vehicle) because it was the sporting activity that was the cause of the injury, not the vehicle. On the other hand, if the individual was engaged in the same sporting activity and the armored vehicle struck the member, the injury would be considered the result of an instrumentality of war.
WASHINGTON — The Senate sent the White House a bill on Tuesday giving nearly 4 million veterans and survivors a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments next year.
Democrats said the normally routine measure was delayed for weeks because an unidentified Republican senator objected to it.
Republicans were not given enough time to ensure that all senators were okay with the bill, said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said the clearance process was completed soon after Congress adjourned for the elections and that Democrats could have brought the bill up if necessary.
When the Senate returned this week, it acted quickly to ensure that checks issued beginning in January reflect the adjustment for the higher cost of living.
The House approved the measure in July. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, welcomed the financial boost.
“Particularly in this difficult economy, our veterans deserve a boost in their benefits to help make ends meet,” Murray said.
Foundation, Rutgers team to highlight scholarship for veterans
6:33 PM, Dec 5, 2012 |
NEW BRUNSWICK — Kara Connelly of West Long Branch is making her way
through college with the help of the New Jersey Bankers Education Foundation.
“They pay for what the GI bill did not,” said the Monmouth University
graduate student, whose husband, Brian Michael, was killed in Iraq in February
2009. “It takes the worry off of my back of financing my education, so I
can concentrate on studying. Without them, I don’t think I would have been
able to do this. They have been more than generous. I don’t come from an
affluent family, so this is a gift from God.”
Representatives from the foundation and the Rutgers Office of Veteran and
Military Programs and Services joined on Wednesday at Rutgers University to
highlight the scholarship program, which is looking for recipients.
Funded by members of the New Jersey Bankers Association, the New Jersey
Bankers Education Foundation was established in 2005 to honor fallen or
permanently disabled military members in the post-9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq
conflicts by providing scholarships to veterans and their eligible dependents
who have a connection to New Jersey.
Applicants must have a high school or equivalency diploma and must be in
pursuit of higher education, including technical or vocational training.
They also must demonstrate a financial need. In general, scholarships cover all
or a portion of tuition and books/supplies not covered by an academic
scholarship and Veteran Administration benefits, according to the foundation’s
Robert E. Stillwell, chair of the foundation, said the organization was
founded “to recognize our fallen veterans and provide economic support.”
Since its inception, the fund has dispersed $85,000 in scholarships,
officials said. The foundation has $300,000 in the fund and are trying to get
the word out, Stillwell said. The biggest challenge to the foundation is
locating potential recipients.
Because of privacy issues, they cannot reach out directly to dependents
and veterans, and often those who are in need hesitate to reach out for help,
Retired U.S. Army Col. Stephen G. Abel, director of the Office of Veteran
and Military Programs and Services at Rutgers University, explained that
the Rutgers office is the hub of veterans activities at Rutgers University.
“We tell our veterans that arrive at Rutgers that we are the one-stop shop
at Rutgers,” he said.
While the VA bill is “rather robust,” most of New Jersey’s reservists and
National Guardsmen and women do not get a full benefit,” Abel said.
“There is a constraint financially,” he said. “A lot of our men and women
face challenges in terms of being able to focus on their academic career
while they are worrying about how to pay for their tuition or how to pay for
their books or how to pay for their fees.”
The Bankers Association has “stepped up to the plate here at Rutgers to
help us help veterans to succeed,” Abel said.
Rutgers student and Purple Heart recipient Scott Hakim, 23, a member of
the U.S. Marine Corps whose tour of duty from 2007 to 2011 included two
combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, has benefited from the program.
“I had about $900 of books I had to buy just for just one semester,”
While the Veterans Administration covers some of the costs, it’s not
enough, he said.
Hakim said he was thankful to the foundation for the funds, which were
used to purchase books.
Thomas Krause, 24, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, also received
assistance from the foundation in paying for his textbooks.
Krause said that although he receives $1,000 a year for books, it’s not
He thanked the bankers for providing financial aid that “keep our minds on
books and not the physical cost of the books.”
Anyone interested in applying for a scholarship, may contact James
Meredith at 908-272-8500, ext. 614, or firstname.lastname@example.org_
(mailto:email@example.com) . Additional information also is available at
_www.njbankers.com_ (http://www.njbankers.com/) under the Community Outreach tab.
UMDNJ center in Piscataway to start jobs training program for veteran
Veterans participate in a jobs fair in Newark in March. UMDNJ has announced it will begin a jobs training program in Piscataway for returning service members.
Jennifer Brown/The Star-LedgerVeterans participate in a jobs fair in Newark in March. UMDNJ has announced it will begin a jobs training program in Piscataway for returning service members.
PISCATAWAY — A new program to help train New Jersey veterans in need of jobs was announced today by the University of Medicine and Dentistry.
The program, “NJ Jobs4Vets” will be directed by the school’s University Behavioral HealthCare center in Piscataway, and is open to those who have served in the military as well as the New Jersey National Guard and Reserve, according to Bernard Goldstein, chair of the center’s advisory board.
“The program will assist veterans who want to gain employment in the fields of environmental remediation and restoration, disaster preparedness, and construction,” Goldstein said.
The program will also assist veterans with their job search upon completion of a five-week training program, said Audrey Gotsch, the center’s director.
“There is a need for veterans to be trained in an area that has potential jobs that are critical for the state,” Gotsch, who is also a professor of health education and behavioral science at the university, said. “Military service has instilled these veterans with skills, discipline, and a work ethic that makes them especially strong candidates for these important jobs.”
Gotsch said the center is also encouraging businesses to contact those “who have completed the program to recruit them for employment.”
Enrollment has begun for the five-week training course which will begin in November and train 25 veterans through courses provided by the university and the New York City District Council of Carpenters. Courses will be held in New Jersey and New York.
Veterans who are interested should call 866-VETS-NJ4 (866-838-7654).
Officials said 25 stipends will be provided to the veterans who qualify for the program, covering all costs as well as application fees to apply for New Jersey state licenses in asbestos and lead abatement.