VFW Launches Action Corps


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By signing up for the VFW Action Corps you will receive the Washington Weekly e-newsletter and VFW Action Alerts.

The Washington Weekly keeps you informed of what VFW is doing for veterans, service members and their spouses on Capitol Hill. The Weekly notifies you of all key meetings and Congressional hearings in which the VFW is involved, linking you to the full hearing and our written testimony on issues like veteran health care and benefits, military transition issues, military benefits and many others.

Our Action Alerts provides you the opportunity to be a part of the loud and well respected voice of the VFW. These alerts give you immediate access to legislative battles that will effect current and future veterans benefits, and they provide you the tools to tell Congress where the VFW stands on issues and how we want them to vote. This is our strongest tool in preserving and advancing veterans benefits!


It’s time to be part of the solution. Take five minutes to sign-up and join our Advocacy Team today! Use the link provided here www.vfw.org/weekly


VA Launches Hotline to Answer Questions on VA Health Care and Benefits for Women Veterans

VA Launches Hotline to Answer Questions on VA Health Care and Benefits for Women Veterans

1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline — 1-855-VA-WOMEN — to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans. The service began accepting calls on March 27, 2013.


“Some women Veterans may not know about high-quality VA care and services available to them,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The hotline will allow us to field their questions and provide critical information about the latest enhancements in VA services.”


The hotline is staffed by knowledgeable VA employees who can provide information about benefits including health care services for women.  Callers can be linked to information on claims, education or health care appointments as well as information about VA cemeteries and memorial benefits.  Staff can answer urgent questions and provide referrals to homeless and mental health services as well as provide Vet Center information.


Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces.  The population of women Veterans using VA benefits including health care is growing rapidly.  Since 2000, the number of women using VA health care more than doubled, from nearly 160,000 in 2000 to more than 354,000 in 2012.  Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women Veterans—and female VA users—will keep climbing.


VA is committed to making improvements for the growing population of women Veterans, including the way it communicates with them.  In 2010, VA established an outbound call center to contact women Veterans and encourage them to enroll in VA health care.


“In VA health care alone, women constitute only 6 percent of VA patients, but those Veterans have a high perception of the quality care they are receiving,” said Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans.


“Many women who served don’t self-identify as Veterans and therefore don’t think they qualify for VA benefits. We need to correct existing misinformation and misperceptions so we can serve more women Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.”


Women Veterans are entitled to apply for the same benefits as their male counterparts, which include health care and pharmacy benefits as well as education benefits, disability compensation, home loans, employment assistance and more.


The hotline (1-855-VA-WOMEN) joins numerous other VA hotlines that provide critical information and assistance to Veterans, such as those for Veterans in crisis and in danger of becoming homeless. Veterans can also receive information and apply for benefits online at VA’s www.eBenefits.va.gov and manage their health care at MyHealtheVet.va.gov.


VA to Expedite Claims Decisions for Veterans Who Have Waited a Year or More


April 19, 2013


VA to Expedite Claims Decisions for Veterans Who Have Waited a Year or More


WASHINGTON – 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.


“Too many Veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015.  This initiative is the right thing to do now for Veterans who have waited the longest.”


Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the Veteran or obtained on their behalf by VA.  If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited.


“Issuing provisional decisions not only provides Veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available. Our door will remain open and if a Veteran has additional evidence, their case will be fast tracked,” said Allison Hickey, Undersecretary for Benefits.


If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed.  The initiative protects the Veteran’s right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VBA will inform the Veteran that their rating is final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at http://www.bva.va.gov/


Throughout this initiative, VA will continue to prioritize 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.  More information about filing Fully Developed Claims is available at: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/


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).  Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service.


As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuations.  The focus on processing the oldest claims will cause the overall measure of the average length of time to complete a claim – currently 286 days – to skew, rising significantly in the near term because of the number of old claims that will be completed. Over time, as the backlog of oldest claims is cleared and more of the incoming claims are processed electronically through VA’s new paperless processing system, VA’s average time to complete claims will significantly improve.  In addition, the average days pending metric – or the average age of a claim in the inventory – will decrease, since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory.


While compensation claims are pending, eligible Veterans are able to receive healthcare and other benefits from VA.  Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for 5 years of free healthcare from VA. Currently, over 55% of returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are using VA health care, a rate of utilization greater than previous generations of Veterans.

Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at:  https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal

Veterans Cemetery Clean Up Day Saturday April 20

Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 10:30AM – noon members of the Rolling Thunder are sponsoring a spring clean up at the NH State Veterans Cemetery. Please bring your garden tools and join them in this effort.

All help is appreciated in getting our veterans cemetery in shape after a long winter. Please bring your garden tools and a friend.

Veteran Athletes Prepare for National Veterans Wheelchair Games

WASHINGTON – 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.

“The National Veterans Wheelchair Games provide an incredible opportunity for Veterans who have been training and competing all year to showcase their talents on the world’s stage,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA is committed to world-class care for our Nation’s Veterans and we encourage them to use adaptive sports as a key component of their physical rehabilitation.  These athletes, more so than anyone, know the healing power of competition and camaraderie that this event provides.”

The games are open to all U.S. military Veterans who use wheelchairs for sports competition due to spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions, amputations or other mobility impairments. The 33rd Games will be co-hosted by the James A. Haley VA Medical Center and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

“Participating in the Games is a truly life-changing experience for seriously injured Veterans of every generation,” said Bill Lawson, U.S. Army Veteran and National President of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “Please take a moment to tell disabled Veterans in your neighborhood about the Games. Encourage them to get involved. We can’t wait to welcome them to the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa this summer.”

Competitive events will take place at the Tampa Convention Center, Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, Pin Chasers Bowling Lanes, Clearwater Long Center, Raymond James Stadium, Silver Dollar Shooter’s Club, Jefferson High School, Hillsborough Community College and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The 33rd Games will include competitions in 18 different events such as swimming, basketball, table tennis, archery, and wheelchair slalom, which is a timed obstacle course. The athletes compete in all events against others with similar athletic ability, competitive experience or age.

In addition to the competitions and the opening and closing ceremonies, the Games will include a “Kids Day at the Games” on Monday, July 15, at Jefferson High School.  Local children with disabilities will have the opportunity to interact with the athletes, participate in sporting events, and watch the Veterans compete.

The public is invited to attend any of the sports competitions throughout the week of the Games, and admission is free.  Up-to-date information is available on the official National Veterans Wheelchair Games website, www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.


“The Driving Fore Heroes” Golf Tournament will host its first event to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project. The event will be played at the Atkinson Resort & Country Club in Atkinson, NH on Monday June 10, 2013. For additional information please visit the website at: http://drivingforeheroes.com/


Honor Flight Movie December 6th

Wondering if you can spread the word for us!

The event is December 6th at 7:30 at the Cinemagic 1226 Hooksett Road in Hooksett, NH

Dear Friends of Honor Flight,

There will be a premier showing of Honor Flight The Movie. Honor Flight New England has been fortunate to have been selected to air the premier showing of this very touching documentary that explains the Honor Flight mission. Watch World War II Veterans share their experiences for the very first time, witness them on their Honor Flight.

Please send this out on your Facebook page, Twitter or any other means that you can think of. This is a time to view a part of our history that will soon be forgotten. What better way to spend an evening?  Reach out to our World War II Veterans, let them see what the trip is about, lets get them on a flight, if we wait, it will be too late. We want everyone to know what we do on a day that they will never forget.



Please sign up at this link:       http://www.tugg.com/events/2317