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In This Issue: June 28, 2012 Latest News

Special Notice: If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

VA Caregiver Hotline

PTSD Awareness

June Is National PTSD Awareness Month and June 27 Is National PTSD Awareness Day. The VVA National PTSD & Substance Abuse Committee believes every day of every month should include PTSD awareness

Vet Center Combat Call Center

Vet Center Combat Call Center

1-877-WAR-VETS is an around-the-clock confidential call center where combat veterans and their families can call to talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in their readjustment to civilian life. The staff is comprised of combat veterans from several eras as well as families members of combat veterans. This benefit is prepaid through the veteran's military service.


Call Center For Homeless Veterans Hotline

The National Call Center For Homeless Veterans Hotline
1-877-4AID-VET: Your 24/7 Hotline

The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline offers Veterans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness 24/7 access to trained counselors. The hotline offers information and assistance to Veterans and their families; VA Medical Centers; federal, state, and local partners; and community-based agencies, service providers, and others who work with or simply want to support our nation's veterans.


Suicide Risk & Prevention Conference

DoD Secretary Calls Military Suicides "Tragic"

While addressing the joint VA/DoD Suicide Risk and Prevention Conference on June 22, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, expressed his frustration that the numbers of military suicides "continue to move in a troubling and tragic direction," and noted that the Pentagon must put the "mental fitness" of its troops on an equal plane with their physical fitness. For a report on the conference and the Secretary's remarks, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/panetta-calls-rise-in-military-suicide-troubling-and-tragic/2012/06/22/gJQAnQSPvV_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_fedinsider

Faces of Agent Orange

The Holybee Family's Story

Veteran Benefits

VVA Congratulates Col. Forrest R. Newton on His 33 Years of Service

In December 2011, Col. Forrest R. Newton—one of the last Vietnam veterans still on active duty—met with VVA staff to seek assistance with a Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) claim. Col. Newton, 6’4”, is an imposing figure, a fact not lost on his younger brother, who noted at Newton’s recent retirement ceremony that nobody ever mistook Barbara Newton’s eldest son as the “runt of the litter.” Nonetheless, Newton’s physical stature is dwarfed by his wry sense of humor—apparent whenever conversation turns to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ fuzzy benefit calculation math and when he recounts the air of bewilderment that sweeps over VA employees as they wrap their heads around a benefits claim concerning an active-duty Vietnam veteran: “Agent Orange in ’69 … and Iraqi burn-pits in ’07?

The BDD Claims Process, one of the VA’s latest claims initiatives, aims to completely adjudicate benefit claims before a service member leaves the service. 

After having sifted through thousands of pages of Newton’s records and hundreds of regulations; after having hounded VA employees from across the country over the telephone and by e-mail; and after careful consultation with VVA claims expert Marc McCabe and VVA’s other experienced service officers, VVA succeeded in consolidating Newton’s complicated decades of records into a simple narrative with accompanying primary-source documents, organized to help VA adjudicators locate and resolve any issues raised.

[ Read the complete article ]

List of Veterans in Congress

Veterans in the 112th Congress

Among the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives 112th Congress, 92  are veterans of the U.S. Military.  View The List Here

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

Senate Approves Senior Funding

Elder Falls Prevention received a $10 million increase under a FY13 appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week. The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) also would get $10 million under the proposal. While the news is good, final appropriations are unlikely until early next year.

Get a summary

Department of Transportation

Transportation Secretary Announces Assistance for Vets Seeking Jobs

On June 21, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki unveiled a new portal on their departments' websites designed to help military veterans find jobs in the transportation industry. "Our transportation industry needs pilots, controllers, mechanics and drivers–the very kinds of skills that our military is known for developing," noted Secretary LaHood.

"This new web link will help repay the debt we owe our veterans for their service to our country."
"Veterans have the skills, knowledge, and attributes that American businesses need to help rebuild an economy that will last, said Secretary Shinseki. These men and women bring exceptional leadership to any position. They are uniquely qualified for jobs as pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, commercial drivers, and emergency medical technicians because many of them have performed these roles in combat."

The portal on the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs websites will link to the Veterans Transportation Career Center, where former members of the armed forces can enter their specific military work experience and see how it translates to jobs in the civilian working world. The site will guide veterans to jobs in five categories: aviation pilot, aviation maintenance technician, air traffic controller, commercial motor vehicle driver and emergency medical services. Job seekers can determine the training and certification needed for civilian jobs; discern what career best fits with their background; and search for available jobs in their field. The portals are available at www.dot.gov and www.va.gov

Skin Cancer Prevention

Summer Sun Health Tip

Skin cancer can be prevented and, if caught early, is highly curable. Detected early, skin cancer is almost 100 percent curable. Almost 50 percent of people who live to age 65 will develop at least one form of skin cancer.

Skin Cancer - Catch It Early!

New VA Form

New VA Form 21-22 (POA FORM)

The VA Form 21-22 "Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant's Representative," commonly known as the "POA" form, was revised by VA.  The newly revised form can be downloaded at http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-22-ARE.pdf

The new edition of the POA form has the following message at the bottom: "SUPERSEDES VA FORM 21-22, JUN 2009, WHICH WILL NOT BE USED." This has caused confusion for veterans and service officers who had already submitted the old form. Therefore, effective June 22, 2012, the VA has instituted a 30-day "grace period," in which the VA will continue to accept the earlier version of the form. After the 30- day grace period, only the new version of the form will be accepted by VA. 

The new form also has a new block 3C, "E-MAIL ADDRESS OF THE ORGANIZATION NAMED IN ITEM 3A." At this time all veterans and VVA service officers are asked to leave this block blank.

If you have any questions, please email the VVA Veterans Benefits Department at benefits@vva.org

PTSD Resources

HHS Sec. Sebelius Recognizes PTSD Awareness Month

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DoD), is supporting new research to reveal the underlying causes of PTSD and related conditions, to develop better tools to identify those at highest risk of developing the disorder, and to develop new and better treatments and preventive interventions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law, HHS is partnering with DoD and the VA to share ideas on how to improve the quality of health care for veterans and for all Americans.

If you think that you or someone you know has PTSD, you are not alone. There is help available. Talk with a VA counselor by calling 1-800-273-8255 (press "1") or visiting the online VA Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans/Default.aspx

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also offer a variety of resources designed to help people who suffer from PTSD, as well as aid their families and friends in better understanding and dealing with trauma's aftermath. These resources include:

  • SAMHSA's Mental Health Services Locator at http://store.samhsa.gov/mhlocator helps locate local treatment services and support for those with PTSD.
  • NIMH and National Institutes of Health fact sheets and information on clinical trials and scientific studies on PTSD at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml and http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=58&key=P
  • Information about bullying and other traumatic crises at http://www.stopbullying.gov
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/national-ptsd-awareness-day) provides tools and resources to assist health care providers, educators, and families.
  • The National Center for Trauma Informed Care (www.samhsa.gov/nctic) provides education and training for supporting recovery and identifying specific treatment practices to address trauma.

Additionally, a list of military family resources can be found through the following:

  • SAMHSA's Military Families Strategic Initiative web site at http://www.samhsa.gov/militaryfamilies
  • Veterans Chat for veterans, family members or friends in crisis at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
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