Sep
25
2014

VA Updates Disability Claims Application

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2014

 New Process Will Reduce Processing Times and Improve Quality

 The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve Veterans, families and survivors. Standardizing the process by which Veterans file claims and initiate appeals will make it easier for Veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking from VA and provide information that is necessary to process their claims and appeals. The new forms eliminate applicant guesswork, which often leads to delays in decisions and ultimately delays in receiving benefits. The new regulations go into effect in late March 2015.

“We must do everything that we can to make it as fast and easy as possible for Veterans and their survivors to file for and receive an accurate decision on their claim,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “Our Veterans and survivors will know, at the outset of the claims process, what is needed, which removes subjective interpretation from the process. We want to eliminate any barriers that make it difficult for our Veterans or survivors to receive benefits to which they are entitled.”

In the past, a Veteran or survivor did not have to use a certain form to seek compensation or other benefits from VA.  Claims or appeals (Notice of Disagreement) could be submitted on any piece of paper which caused delays due to missing information.

By using standard forms for all disability claims, VA can more quickly and accurately identify what the Veteran is claiming or appealing. This will allow VA to immediately move on to next steps in the evidence-gathering and decision-making process, which saves administrative processing time and speeds the delivery of earned benefits.  The existing process is also inconsistent with most, if not all, other government and non-government application processes, such as applying for social security, applying for a driver’s license, applying for a job or filing for an income tax refund.

“These days, government agencies and private businesses rely on standard forms to deliver faster and more accurate customer service,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.  “VA’s ability to deliver better customer service requires the use of standard forms as well. That is why we worked extensively with our partners in the Veterans community to streamline the way we process claims while  preserving the effective date rules concerning informal claims through the creation of a new intent to file a claim process.”

The updated process also includes standardizing the traditional informal claims process by employing a new “Intent to File a Claim” process which affords the Veteran or survivor one year to compile the necessary documentation or evidence to support the claim while preserving an effective date of claim.

More information about VA Forms 21-526EZ, 21-527EZ, 21-534EZ or VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement, may be found at www.ebenefits.va.gov or www.va.gov/vaforms/.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/va-news/va-updates-disability-claims-application/

Sep
25
2014

New Message from Commander-in-Chief and Ladies Auxiliary President

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/new-message-from-commander-in-chief-and-ladies-auxiliary-president/

Sep
12
2014

VFW to Update Congressional Charter

VFW to Update Congressional Charter

WASHINGTON (September 12, 2014) — With the support of two key members of Congress, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States may soon be updating its congressional charter to adhere to a national resolution approved by delegates attending the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis.

The VFW’s congressional charter was signed in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the military was comprised almost entirely of men. The update consists of two wording changes — replacing men with veterans, and widows with surviving spouses — and is supported by two companion bills, S. 2782 and H.R. 5441, which were introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), respectively.

“We are not changing our congressional charter because it’s politically correct,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “we’re changing it because being an eligible veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military. I salute every delegate for their support of Resolution 301, and thank the Senate and House VA Committee chairmen for their sponsorships.”

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/vfw-to-update-congressional-charter/

Sep
03
2014

VFW Applauds New Military Discharge Upgrade Decision

VFW Applauds New Military Discharge Upgrade Decision

WASHINGTON (September 3, 2014) — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is applauding a new Department of Defense decision that will enable Vietnam veterans and others to request upgrades to their less than honorable military discharges due to an extenuating factor not known at the time of their separation: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“This decision will not be a blanket approval for every upgrade request, but it does open an avenue for those veterans who may have been diagnosed with PTSD years after separation to submit new evidence and hopefully correct an injustice from the past,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, a retired Air Force first sergeant from Hawthorne, Nev.

“PTSD is a normal human reaction to an abnormal traumatic event, but similar experiences can affect people differently, from virtually no impact to extremely debilitating,” he said. “You can learn to cope with PTSD by avoiding stressors, but one thing that’s very difficult to live with is a Bad Conduct Discharge, which back in the day the military was more apt to give instead of delving into why this super troop all of a sudden isn’t.

“This is a good decision, and the VFW joins with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in calling it the right thing to do for our veterans.”

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/vfw-applauds-new-military-discharge-upgrade-decision/

Sep
03
2014

Defense Mobile and the VFW to Connect and Improve the Lives of Veterans and U.S. Service Members

Defense Mobile and the VFW to Connect and Improve the Lives of Veterans and U.S. Service Members

 The VFW supports Defense Mobile Corporation’s launch of ARMYmobile, NAVYmobile, AIRFORCEmobile, MARINESmobile, and COASTGUARDmobile during the 115th VFW National Convention.

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (September 3, 2014) – Defense Mobile Corporation (DMC) and the VFW announce an affinity relationship to deliver miliSOURCE, a new mobile application and service designed to provide users with profile driven information regarding their specific eligibility for benefits from the VA, state veterans’ departments and veterans’ service organizations. miliSOURCE is provided free with Defense Mobile’s nationwide 4G mobile services being offered exclusively to those actively serving, veterans and their families. The application will be pre-loaded on most Defense Mobile smartphones and will be made available as a free download in iTunes and the Google Play Store.

 “We’re on a mission to connect and improve the lives of veterans; the VFW has been on this mission since 1899 and is an exceptional partner,” stated Brendan Reilly, the CEO of Defense Mobile Corporation. “Our ability to connect and reward veterans through mobile devices is unparalleled.  We are honored and frankly humbled to serve those who have served us.”

 Defense Mobile will launch its nationwide 4G mobile services this fall through its branch specific brands; ARMYmobile, NAVYmobile, AIRFORCEmobile, MARINESmobile and COASTGUARDmobile.

 John W. Stroud, Commander-in-Chief of the VFW said he is excited about the partnership: “Joining forces with Defense Mobile is a great way to further our mission to honor and reward our veterans for their service to our country. Having military benefits and discounts accessible through their mobile devices will significantly improve the lives of our veterans.”

 Ed Walters, Chief Marketing Officer of Defense Mobile, a West Point graduate and Army veteran, said, “Veterans who sign up for our service are more than customers, they’re members of our collective military family.  We connect with our members because most of our executives have served and 100% of our member care representatives have served. We understand and that’s why we want to help, miliSOURCE is an amazing app that can truly improve the lives of many of our veteran customers.”

 About Defense Mobile Corporation

 Defense Mobile Corporation (DMC) provides mobile services, smartphones, and apps for active duty military, veterans and their families.  Defense Mobile is a new nationwide 4G mobile service, built by veterans, supported exclusively by veterans and designed to improve the lives of those who have served. Defense Mobile offers the most popular smartphones, no annual contract plans, meaningful “military and veteran only” cash back rewards, and applications that help veterans manage the benefits they have earned. Defense Mobile has secured agreements to run on the largest mobile network operators so that veterans and military families receive superior coverage.

 After an in-store validation of military service, the real value Defense Mobile provides is in the form of value added applications delivered directly to the mobile device and its Members. The pre-loaded or downloadable applications available will be: miliCASH, miliSOURCE and miliMAIL. miliCASH is a robust mobile banking application with a pre-approved prepaid MasterCard® that delivers military-and-veteran-only cash back rewards at participating merchants nationwide. miliSOURCE is a powerful application that helps veteran families discover and obtain valuable veteran benefits and services from the VA, States, and Veteran Service Organizations. Additionally, Members receive miliMAIL, which is a free email service that provides transitioning military personnel and Defense Mobile Members with a unique email that proudly confirms their affiliation to the branch of service they served.

 You can learn more about Defense Mobile Corporation at http://www.defensemobile.com or the service brands at armymobile.com, navymobile.com, airforcemobile.com, marinesmobile.com, and coastguardmobile.com.

 -VFW-

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/defense-mobile-and-the-vfw-to-connect-and-improve-the-lives-of-veterans-and-u-s-service-members/

Jul
25
2014

Air Force Veteran Elected to Lead Veterans of Foreign Wars

Stroud speechKANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 24, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 115th national convention yesterday with the election of the new VFW National Commander, John W. Stroud.

Stroud served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976-1997, including a tour in Korea in 1992-1993 with the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base as a Flight Operations Superintendent. His decorations include four Meritorious Service Medals, three Air Force Commendation Medals, three Air Force Achievement Medals, the Korea Defense Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

He is a resident of Hawthorne, Nev., and a Gold Legacy Life Member of Post 2313, and has served the VFW in a number of leadership positions including Nevada Department Commander and Chairman of the National Veterans Service Committee.

During his acceptance speech, Stroud addressed the recent VA crisis stating, “the VA is a health care system worth saving that right now must identify and fix what’s broken … that needs to hold people appropriately accountable to the fullest extent of the law … and a system that must restore the faith of veterans in their VA. He added that he is confident Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and nominee Bob McDonald—if confirmed—will not make the same mistake as the previous VA Secretary who simply trusted his employees to the point of his demise.

Stroud recounted his first experience with the VFW, stopping in Post 10047 in Las Vegas, Nev., after seeing a sign that read ‘Active Duty Military Welcome.’ Dressed in fatigues, he entered the Post and was immediately welcomed. Surrounded by his comrades, he learned of the organization’s many programs and services, and he knew he wanted in.

“Comrades, I share my story to encourage you to tell your own stories to others.  A great part of the VFW story involves the relevance between different generations, and the ability to educate others about who we are, what we do, and who we do it for,” he said.

Stroud had high praise for members’ work and VFW programs, citing several outstanding instances of disaster relief, troop support and veterans resource efforts. He commended those who worked with the U.S. European Command to operate a Visitor’s Center for hundreds of American D-Day veterans and thousands of visitors who were in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the landing, and praised the Ladies Auxiliary for its donations to cancer research which now total $30 million.   

“One of the best things about being a National Officer is I get to brag about the VFW wherever I go … to the troops, to veterans, their families, nonveterans and politicians, too,” he said.

Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/uncategorized/air-force-veteran-elected-to-lead-veterans-of-foreign-wars-2/

Jul
12
2014

Hillsville School of Instruction

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/uncategorized/hillsville-school-of-instruction/

Jun
16
2014

Veterans Survey

Thank you for completing the 2014 Veteran Survey sponsored by the Virginia Department of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Your response to this short survey will help us better provide the service and response our veterans deserve.  We appreciate your completing the survey at your earliest convenience and no later than June 30th.   Click this link to access the survey:  http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=lqqbwpc34lbn6e0489989 .

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/department-news/veterans-survey/

May
30
2014

VA SECRETARY ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

VA SECRETARY ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 30, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States said today’s resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki is in the best interests of the nation’s veterans.

 “The VFW was the first major veterans organization to call for an independent investigation and, if warranted, for the dismissal and criminal prosecution of those employees involved with gaming the system,” said William A. Thien, the national commander of the 1.9 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. “Throughout the political firestorm of the past several weeks, the VFW remained steadfast in supporting an independent investigation and calling for full accountability in this matter — especially for those in Congress, who for years have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the concerns of America’s Veteran Service Organizations.

 “Change will not come easy to the VA, but change it must, and the VFW will absolutely be part of its evolution, just as we were in the years leading up to and after we helped to create it,” said Thien. “The new secretary will inherit a host of ongoing challenges, but he or she must immediately identify and fix what’s broken, to hold people accountable to the maximum extent of the law, and to do whatever is necessary to help restore the full faith and confidence of veterans in their VA,” he said. “Members of Congress have an equal responsibility to put their individual political agendas aside and do what they were elected to do. The VFW will never tolerate politics as usual when it comes to the proper care and treatment of our nation’s heroes.

 “Secretary Shinseki is an American patriot, an honorable man whose personal integrity and commitment to duty and to others is above reproach,” said the VFW national commander. “We support his decision to resign, because the outside calls for his resignation were overshadowing the crisis in healthcare issues veterans face, and that is what’s most important.”

 -vfw-

 ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization comprised of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization. With more than 1.9 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 7,000 Posts worldwide, “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS.” The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org.

 Contact: Jerry Newberry, Assistant Adjutant General, (o) 816-968-1168, jnewberry@vfw.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/va-secretary-announces-resignation/

May
01
2014

Salute American Pledges Support to VFW’s Unmet Needs Program

Salute American Pledges Support to VFW’s Unmet Needs Program

 

Premium Vodka Brand Reaffirms Commitment to Donate $1 to Veterans Charities for Every 750ml Bottle Sold

Kansas City, Mo., (May 1, 2014) – Better Brands Beverage Co., the parent company of Salute American Vodka, announced a national initiative geared to assist our nation’s veterans and military families who are in need of financial assistance.  Through a one-year licensing agreement beginning today, the American-made premium vodka will donate $1 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Foundation for every 750ml bottle sold.

Funds donated by Salute American will be earmarked for the VFW Unmet Needs program, which supports struggling veterans and their families.  Salute American kicked off the initiative with an initial $10,000 donation and will be a presenting sponsor of the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis, Mo., from July 19-23, 2014.

“There are countless veterans who need some form of financial assistance,” said John Hamilton, VFW adjutant general.  “Each purchase of Salute American vodka will assist us in fulfilling our mandate of service to our nation’s veterans, service members and their families.  It’s a simple way for veterans and non-veterans to pay it forward.”

Salute American was started by CEO-founder Pete Kelly, a passionate entrepreneur who wanted to make a difference in people’s lives through the ‘pay-it-forward’ philosophy.  Pete couldn’t think of a more deserving group than U.S. veterans – a band of brothers and sisters with increasingly high unemployment and homelessness rates*.  Salute American became a practical way to help maintain and create jobs in the US for veterans, and to generate ongoing economic success and stronger communities.

“Salute American is more than a name – it’s our mission,” said Pete Kelly, CEO-founder, Better Brands Beverage Co.  “We prove our patriotism by giving back to U.S. veterans who have proudly served their country and paying it forward.”

Since the launch of Salute American, Better Brands Beverage Co. has donated more than $50,000 to veteran’s charities, including: Veteran’s Farm through Work Vessels for Veterans; Farmer Veteran Coalition; Homes for Our Troops; Wish for our Heroes; and Greater St. Louis Honor Flight.

Salute American is pure American from start to finish.  The vodka, which was approved for the USA Certified Seal, is made from corn and wheat grains straight from the heartland.  It’s then four times distilled for a smooth and sweet taste that works well mixed or neat.  The canteen-shaped bottle bearing the red, white and blue, was manufactured in Park Hills, Mo., and distilled and bottled in Rochester, NY.

Salute American is currently available in the following markets: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.  The brand will also launch in Nebraska and North and South Dakota later in 2014.  The suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle is $19.99, which may vary by market.  Salute American Vodka is 80-proof and 40% alcohol by volume.  The brand received a Silver Medal and an 87-point “highly recommended” rating from the prestigious Beverage Testing Institute in the category of “Best Value Vodka $20 and under.”

For more information, please visit www.saluteamerican.com and “like” and “follow” Salute American on facebook www.facebook.com/SaluteAmericanVodka and twitter @SaluteAmerican – https://twitter.com/SaluteAmerican

* According to Labor Department Data, the unemployment rate among male veterans, ages 18-24, is nearly

27%.  There are currently more than 100,000 homeless vets in the US.

About Better Brands Beverage Co.

Privately owned and Midwest-based, Better Brands Beverage Co. is a for-profit company committed to investing in veterans charities that create jobs for veterans.  The Company was founded in 2012 by CEO-founder Pete Kelly who passionately believes in making a difference in people’s lives through the ‘pay-it-forward’ philosophy.

About VFW

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization comprised of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces.  Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization.  With more than 1.9 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 7,000 Posts worldwide, “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS.”  The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide.  For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/virginia/national-vfw-news/salute-american-pledges-support-to-vfws-unmet-needs-program/

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