Operation Homefront through its Homes on the Homefront program wants to help military veterans and their families realize their own American dreams. It continues to receive donated homes to award to deserving military families around the country through partners like Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Meritage Homes. The homes are renovated to “move in ready” standards and ultimately deeded over subject to certain conditions being met.
LVMAC Tidbit — VA Makes Specially Adaptive Housing Grant Eligibility Automatic for Veterans and Servicemembers Living with ALSMarch 20, 2014
On 19 March 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that veterans and active-duty military personnel with service-connected Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, are now presumed medically eligible for the VA’s Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants, which help pay for the costs for building, buying or adapting a home, up to almost $68,000. Veterans and servicemembers with service-connected ALS will be determined medically eligible for the maximum grant. It is also estimated the change will lop off 12 months in the overall process.
This is yet another in a series of actions which demonstrate the evolution of the VA’s thinking regarding Lou Gehrig’s disease and its devastating effects. In 2008 the VA established a presumption of service connection for ALS for any veteran who develops the disease at any time after separation from service, thus making them eligible for monthly VA disability compensation benefits. It had been determined veterans suffer from this affliction at a greater rate than the general public for some reason.
The VA then amended its disability rating scale in January 2012 to assign a 100-percent disability evaluation for service-connected ALS. As a result, veterans with service-connected ALS no longer had to file multiple claims with VA for increased benefits as their condition deteriorated.
Now, the new SAH ruling eliminates the delays incurred in modifying a home to accommodate this often rapidly progressing disease because the present condition of the veteran is not sufficiently debilitating to affect mobility to the degree normally required by an SAH grant. The change effectively allows both the VA and the veteran to get ahead of the power curve.
The ultimate goal of providing a barrier-free living environment that affords a level of independent living that the veteran or servicemember would not otherwise enjoy is now better served.
For more information, visit: http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp .
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As of 19 March 2014
Kerry Smith, Community Legal Services Warns of the Danger
Kerry Smith, Staff Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, a leading advocate for low income residents in the Philadelphia area, spoke to the Council at its 20 March business meeting as a member of a coalition of over 90 organizations – including the Community Action Committee of Lehigh Valley, MOAA of Pennsylvania, the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania; and the Council of Churches, AFL-CIO and AARP of Pennsylvania – who have concerns about the recent lobbying to allow payday lending in Pennsylvania, which is currently illegal. Read the rest of this entry »
Debra Cummins, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Lehigh Valley (HFHLV), an LVMAC member, and her Program Development Director, Thomas Mohr, a veteran, addressed the Council at its 17 March 2013 business meeting on its desire to recruit veterans as volunteers.
She said, “Habitat for Humanity International, the parent organization, has a global vision of everyone having a decent place to live. And Habitat has been in the Lehigh Valley since 1989 improving lives, seeking to put God’s love into action by bringing people together, for it is an ecumenical movement.” She emphasized the organization will work with and provide homes regardless of a person’s religious persuasion. Read the rest of this entry »
VA Creates Office of Economic Opportunity
The Vietnam Veterans of America’s (VVA) Newsletter of July/August 2011 reports it has long pressed for the creation of a Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration, a fourth administration under the Department of Veterans Affairs — the others being the Veterans Benefits, Veterans Health, and National Cemetery Administrations. The Department of Veterans Affairs has now created an Office of Economic Opportunity. The education, home loan guarantee, vocational rehabilitation programs are now to be under one roof. Read the rest of this entry »
Since at least 2008, veterans defaulting on their mortgages has been a concern. Unlike several other states, Pennsylvania has no special home loan programs to assist. However, for veterans there is possible recourse through a service offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cleveland Regional Loan Center (in the Cleveland Regional Office) for those of us who live in the Lehigh Valley. Read the rest of this entry »