On 29 November 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the White House VA Hotline (first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming VA but which also had a shaky start) is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve veterans 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The actual facility location is in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Read the rest of this entry »
VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for veterans, an action overdue since 2015 and still causing controversy among some veterans organizations over the implementation of the character of service requirement (unlike the VA, the law excludes practically no one who has served). Currently only those veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card. However, this is a change from previous statements by others because it means those who have a general discharge (under honorable conditions) can now also apply, in addition to those with honorable discharges/releases. Read the rest of this entry »
LVMAC Tidbit –VA Photo ID Cards (Proof of Service/Business Discount Cards) for All (Actually Most) Veterans Coming in November | Military.comOctober 15, 2017
A VA official on Wednesday confirmed the cards are on track to be available nationwide starting in November.
Editor’s Note: This a result of the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015. The card cannot be used as proof of eligibility to any federal benefits, entitlements and services; and it does not grant access to military installations. It only establishes an honorably discharged veteran served in the armed forces (although we cannot find where the law specifies one must be honorably discharged). Therefore, essentially their primary value lies in obtaining business discounts — that is, “goods, services and promotional activities” offered by the private and public sector. Although the law specifies the VA shall charge for this service (one could consider it an off-mission burden), the Department of Veterans Affairs has said it will not. Note that military exchanges will offer their online services to any veteran with an honorable discharge as of 11 November 2017. Serendipity?
For more information on the law, see https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr91/text
As of 4 October 2017
On 27 June 2017, the VA released its final plans laying the framework for providing emergency mental health coverage to former service members with Other-Than-Honorable (OTH) administrative discharges. For the older generations of veterans, the characterization of service was termed Undesirable.
Effective July 5, all Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers are to offer emergency stabilization care for former service members who present at the facility with an emergent mental health need. Under this initiative, former service members with an OTH administrative discharge may receive care for their mental health emergency for an initial period of up to 90 days, which can include inpatient, residential or outpatient care. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently the VA announced that it is conducting a clinical trial for veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness. Since some our local veterans may benefit but do not need to travel to San Francisco to participate (all study procedures can be done by phone and mail), we have decided to spread the word. See the brochure below for more details.
You may also find this page from the VA Office of Research and Development of interest on what has been occurring, and click here for the Gulf War Registry and other information on the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations.
As of 14 July 2017
The Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center is returning on 14 June 2017 to conduct its third Community Town Hall in the area since the establishment of the quarterly requirement a couple of years back. It is part of an attempt by the VA to regain the trust among the veterans it serves. Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center services 19 counties, to include one in New York. The service area requires distributing the quarterly meetings over a wide area or we would have more of these useful events. For details, see: Read the rest of this entry »
Veterans At Risk Of Suicide Negotiate A Thorny Relationship With Guns, NPR Reports
1) There is a question as to if the VA is really following a due or, at least, a fair process. We know of a veteran who was not properly informed of the proceedings against him. In addition, the VA, according to this article, is probably violating his/her Second Amendment rights, while trying to do the right thing.
2) Fear of being branded as mentally incompetent, may cause affected veterans not to access the benefits they’ve earned, including access to health care for conditions related to their military service. When a veteran is most fragile, he/she may be effectively driven away. Why is the term “mental incompetence” used in all instances in the first place? Read the rest of this entry »