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In This Issue October 24, 2012

VVA Announces New Dues Structure for Life Memberships

New VVA Service Officer Training Site Launched

Alaska's Wielechowski Named VVA "State Legislator of the Year"

VA Pension FAQ Sheet Available

VA 2012 Women's Advisory Committee Report

Credit Reporting Complaints

Veterans Day Appreciation Offers

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears Event

Nearly 30% of GWOT/Operation New Dawn Vets Being
Treated at VA Have PTSD

Senator Tester Marks Expansion of Billings VA

Vietnam Vets Needed for Research Study

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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

New VVA Dues Structure

VVA Announces New Dues Structure for Life Memberships

The VVA National Board of Directors, at the October 2012 meeting, passed a motion to revise the dues for a Life Membership.

The new dues structure for VVA Life Membership is as follows:
Age 56-60: $200
Age 61-65: $175
Age 66-71: $150
Age 72+: $100

The newly updated VVA Membership Form can be found here.

Benefits Forum Website

New VVA Service Officer Training Site Launched

The VVA Service Officer Training website has been launched and can be found at https://benefitsforum.org

This new site provides VVA-accredited Service Officers useful tools such as:

  • Forum: Post questions and have them answered by our appellate attorneys;
  • Service Officer search: Enhanced service officer search page to make finding a VVA Service Officer easier;   
  • Basic Training: 30 hours of videos from our Summer 2011 Basic Training Class;
  • Advanced Training: For those already accredited and need to recertify;
  • VetPro: Link to our new VetPro nation-wide database; and
  • Links: Finding representation, VA Benefits and veterans law resources, military records, medical research and reference materials, health care, and other benefits.

To obtain your user ID and password, please contact Elaine Chaney at echaney@vva.org

VVA Press Release

Alaska's Wielechowski Named VVA "State Legislator of the Year"

(Washington, D.C.)--Alaska State Senator Bill Wielechowski, a strong supporter for veterans as well as active duty military, has been named "State Legislator of the Year" by Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).

"As Co-Chair of the Joint Armed Services Committee for six years, Senator Wielechowski has worked tirelessly to ensure veterans and service members and their families have a voice. Through his committee, he has continued to initiate town hall meetings and listen to military and veteran groups to ensure there is support for our veterans, service members, and their families. "As a result, he is the best-informed member of our State Legislature on active service and veterans issues," said Ric Davidge, President of VVA Chapter 904 and Chairman of VVA's national Government Affairs Committee.

[ read complete press release ]

VA Fact Sheet

VA Pension FAQ Sheet Available

The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a new and updated fact sheet on VA pension programs that includes important information for veterans, survivors, and their families. The fact sheet explains who is eligible to receive pension benefits, and who is eligible for "aid and attendance."  The document also provides a website list of accredited representatives available to assist claimants with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of a claim for VA benefits.

The information is accessible via the VBA Internet website link at http://www.vba.va.gov/VBA/docs/PensionProgramInfo_final.pdf

Honoring Women Veterans

VA 2012 Women's Advisory Committee Report

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently released its Advisory Committee Report on Women Veterans 2012 Report entitled Honoring Women Veterans—Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. 

To read the report click here:

CFPB News Release

Credit Reporting Complaints

On October 22, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began accepting consumer complaints about credit reporting, giving the consumer individual-level complaint assistance for the first time at the federal level.  "Credit reporting companies exert great influence over the lives of consumers. They help determine eligibility for loans, housing, and sometimes jobs," said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. "Consumers need an avenue of recourse when they feel they have been wronged." 

Consumer-reporting agencies, which include what are popularly called credit bureaus or credit-reporting companies, are private businesses that track a consumer's credit history and other consumer transactions. The credit reports they generate – and the three-digit credit scores that are based on those reports – play an increasingly important role in the lives of American consumers. The largest credit-reporting companies issue more than 3 billion consumer reports a year and maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. The consequences of errors in a consumer report can be catastrophic for a consumer, shutting him or her out of credit markets, jeopardizing employment prospects, or significantly increasing the cost of housing.

To read the complete news release from CFPB, go to:

Veterans Day 2012

Veterans Day Appreciation Offers

Below are listed some of the restaurants and companies that offer Veteran’s Day discounts, deals, and free meals as a “Thank You” to our veterans and active-duty military for their service to our nation. Special thanks go to Dave Libby and Lew Patton for making this list available.
Check out http://www.lewpblog.com/2012/10/22/veterans-day-appreciation-offer/  for updates to this list.

Restaurants with Veterans Day Free Meals

Applebees Free Meal: Applebees is offering a free signature entree on Sunday November 11th, 2012, at participating locations. Choose a 7-oz House Sirloin, Fiesta Lime Chicken, or a Bacon Cheeseburger. Beverages and gratuity are not included. Must present valid veteran’s form of identification.

Denny’s All You Can Eat Pancakes: Get all-you-can-eat pancakes for all active-duty military and veterans with a valid ID on Monday, November 12, 2012.

Golden Corral Free Meal: A Veterans Day free meal is offered to any veteran who has served in the United States military or is a current active duty service member. All Golden Corral locations will be participating on Monday, November 12, 2012, from 4 PM to 9 PM. No identification is required to get your free Veterans Day meal.

Chili's: Choose from Margarita Grilled Chicken, Chicken Club Tacos, Santa Fe Wrap, Old-time w/Cheese, Cobb Salad, and more. Beverages and gratuity are not included.

Olive Garden: Choose from Seafood Alfredo; Chicken Parmigiana; Braised Beef & Tortellini; Cheese Ravioli; or Spaghetti & Meatballs.

Texas Roadhouse: Choose from Country Fried Chicken, Country Fried Sirloin, Cheeseburger, BBQ, Grilled Chicken Salad, and more. Dine in only.

Outback Steakhouse: Get a free Bloomin' Onion and beverage (non-alcoholic drinks only).

Hooters: Get 10 free boneless or traditional style wings. Drink purchase required.

Retail Stores with Veterans Day Discounts

Home Depot Veterans Day Discount: Every year on Veteran’s Day, the Home Depot offers a 10% discount to veterans. Must present a valid military ID. Home Depot also offers this discount to Veterans on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day.

Lowe’s Veterans Day Discount: All Veterans receive a 10% discount on Veteran’s Day up to $5,000 on in-stock and special-order purchases. The offer can’t be used online, on previous sales, or on sales of services or gift cards. Must present a valid Veteran Identification Card (VIC); valid Form DD214; or other proof of service. Lowes also offers this Veteran’s discount on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Other Discounts and Veterans Day Deals

National Parks Free Veterans Day Admission: Everybody gets free entrance to our National Parks Veterans Day weekend. Dates this year include November 10 – 12, 2012.

Balloon Release Event

Agent Orange Quilt of Tears 5th Annual Veterans Day Balloon Event

The Fifth Annual Veterans Day Agent Orange Balloon Release will take place on November 11 at 1 p.m. This year, however, due to environmental concerns, it is requested that the balloons be decorated and displayed rather than released into the atmosphere. Together, we can bring awareness to the ongoing effects of Agent Orange and its toll on our veterans and their families.

For more information about the Quilt of Tears and Agent Orange Balloon Event, visit: http://www.agentorangequiltoftears.com/Events.html

As Reported In The Daily Beast

Nearly 30% of GWOT/Operation New Dawn Vets Being Treated at VA Have PTSD

Utilizing data obtained from the Report on VA Facility Specific Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn Veterans Coded with Potential PTSD, from 1st Qtr FY 2002 through 3rd Qtr FY 2012. (Epidemiology Program Post Deployment Health Group, Office of Public Health, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. 2012. Washington, DC), a news report shows that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD. The data only apply to OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who have accessed VA health care, and do not represent all recent Veterans who have become eligible for VA health care.

Read the news article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/21/nearly-30-of-vets-treated-by-v-a-have-ptsd.html

VA Clinic Expansion

Senator Tester Marks Expansion of Billings VA

On October 19, Senator Jon Tester helped break ground on the expansion of the Billings VA Clinic. Once complete, the expanded facility will provide outpatient surgery and specialty services to an estimated 11,000 veterans in Montana and about 10,000 veterans from neighboring Wyoming. The new facility will offer many of the same services now available at Fort Harrison, Montana's only VA hospital. Tester, Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has led the charge to expand the clinic.  He first called for the clinic’s expansion when he delivered the keynote address at the facility’s dedication in 2009. 

“Three years ago, I said that the building and dedication of this new facility reminds us all that our obligation – to look after all those who have kept us safe – does not stop when they come home,” Tester said. “And today we double down on our commitment to our veterans.”

To read more: http://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=2665

Academic Research Study

Vietnam Vets Needed for Research Study

A doctoral student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is seeking to interview Vietnam veterans for a study about how the memories of the Vietnam War may influence today's journalists in regards to whether the Iraq War is seen as similar than or different from the Vietnam War. For more information about your participation, please contact Dana Covitz Hackley at d.c.hackley@iup.edu

NOTE: this study's I.R.B. documentation has been filed and reviewed by VVA's I.R.B. research officer and judged to be in compliance with all applicable human subjects research guidelines.

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